Whether you operate a forklift to move pallets of finished products to the shipping dock or you operate a machine press all day, your manual strength and dexterity have an important role in your job functions. An injury to your hands might mean that you need to take time off of work or that your employer moves you to a less-skilled and therefore lower-paying position.
Your hands and the rest of your body are crucial tools of your trade. Unfortunately for those who work in industrial settings, such as manufacturing facilities, hand injuries are a common source of workers’ compensation claims. If you hurt your hands, you may have a hard time continuing to work and support yourself.
Traumatic hand injuries are common
There are many moving parts at a successful factory, and many of them are dangerous for your hands. You could suffer a crushing injury if your hand is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Getting too close to a machine or a tool could result in the traumatic amputation of your hand or one of your fingers. People can also break bones in their hands, which may require lengthy rest and possibly surgery to treat.
Crushing injuries make up 13% of reported hand injuries, detachments account for 8% of hand injuries and fractures occur in another 5% of cases. Compared with lacerations, which are the reported injury in 63% of cases, these injuries are far more serious. They can mean long-term or permanent changes in what work someone can perform.
Repetitive use can injure workers, too
Even if you avoid serious accidents, you could still hurt your hands while working in a factory. Using a tool that vibrates can do damage to your hands and forearms over the years. Even just needing to lift, grip or turn tools or parts on a factory line can do severe damage to the body through overuse.
Factory workers often have to perform the same function every few seconds for eight hours a day or longer. Over the course of several years, those job functions could cause carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive stress injuries that reduce someone’s strength and flexibility in their hands.
Hand injuries may require expensive medical care, time off from work or a change of profession. Workers’ compensation insurance can cover medical care and provide disability pay. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can help you recover more quickly and reduce the financial impact of a hand injury.