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Manufacturing industry: Prevent hand injuries

Written by Ankin Law Office

The human hand is the most important precision tool in manufacturing. Injured workers lawyers in Aurora know that no machine can substitute for the skill and dexterity of a trained operator. According to a recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 20 percent of injuries on the job affect the hands or fingers.

The manufacturing industry recognizes the gravity of this situation. Industry leaders have recently called for better safety measures, improved training and risk reduction. Cutting down on the unacceptably high number of hand injuries in U.S. manufacturing is good both for workers and for employers.

What causes hand injuries?

Hand injuries are caused by a number of overlapping factors, as injured workers lawyers in Aurora are aware. Some of the most common causes include the following:

  • Incorrect use or non-use of personal protective equipment
  • Poor decision making by employees
  • Lack of training about hazards
  • Insufficient controls on working practices

In many cases, several of these factors combine to create a “perfect storm,” leading to a severe accident. A recent tragedy in an Illinois factory illustrates this point. An untrained employee in his first week on a new job was operating a band saw without proper hand protection. He became tired as his shift ended, and his right hand slipped and made contact with the blade. He lost his hand.

Hand injuries by the numbers

According to the BLS, approximately a million people visit emergency departments each year with work-related hand injuries, and around 110,000 people must miss one or more days of work because of a hand injury. Workers’ compensation claims for hand and finger injuries currently average more than $7,000, with many reaching five or even six figures.

Reducing risk on the job

Protective devices should be the first line of defense against hand and finger trauma. According to a recent study by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute, consistent use of safety gloves can reduce the rate of hand injury in the workplace by 60 percent. Correct training and hazard assessment must also be in place. The right equipment and the right knowledge can combine to make workers much safer, even when they are handling dangerous equipment under time pressure.

Workers should not take hand injuries for granted. They have the right to proper training and protection. Disabled employees may find it helpful to contact injured workers lawyers in Aurora and speak about the details of their case.