Strangely, most people will take precautions to prevent all kinds of workplace accidents without protecting their hands, which are essential for almost every job they do. Severe workplace injuries to a person’s fingers or hands will not only limit his or her ability to continue working but also affect the individual’s quality of life. Safety authorities say that as many as one million work-related hand injuries are treated nationwide every year, including in Oklahoma.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that approximately 70 percent of workers with hand injuries wore no gloves or other hand protection. The other 30 percent wore damaged or inappropriate gloves. Lacerations are the most frequently reported hand injuries, and in many cases, adequate gloves could have prevented the injury. Gloves that can avoid damage by slicing motions of a sharp knife or tool might not be sufficient to prevent penetration by a stabbing motion.
Crush injuries can be more severe, typically caused when a worker’s hand is crushed in the rotating parts of a machine, or between two objects, tools or pinch points of equipment. Safeguards to prevent contact with moving machine parts can prevent these injuries, which could even lead to amputations. The third type of hand injury is fractures. Sudden blows to the finger or hand bones, car accidents or attempts by workers to catch themselves in a trip or slip-and-fall accident can cause fractures.
Oklahoma victims of workplace injuries who suffer temporary or permanent disabilities caused by hand or other injuries might have questions about their eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney who has experience in helping injured workers get the maximum applicable benefits can provide answers. Legal counsel can also provide support and guidance throughout the claims process for benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages, and if appropriate, even vocational rehabilitation to teach disabled workers new skills.