Minnesota contains the Iron Range and a lot of industrial machine shops that help convert iron and other metal into sellable goods. The state also features a lot of forested lands and woodworking shops that turn raw wooden material into profitable items like furniture and stick-built homes. All of that production requires a lot of cutting, drilling and shaping that are completed by highly skilled metal and woodworkers who are highly susceptible to hand injuries that trigger workers’ comp claims.

Amputations are especially harmful

Federal workers’ comp studies show that amputations, understandably, are among the most horrific injuries a machine worker may suffer on the job. Sharp and heavy tools that perform a great deal of work on wood or metal make exceptionally quick work of bone and flesh. Workers who use machinery annually suffer an average of 18,000 amputations, blunt-force injuries, cuts and abrasions. Machine workers also average more than 800 workplace fatalities due to the potentially dangerous occupations.

Repeated motions cause the most injuries

Repetitive motion is the primary cause of injuries in a machine shop. Repeatedly handling material puts a repetitive strain on the body. It gets even worse if a worker does not lift properly and remains in an awkward position for an extended period. Even the machines can cause injuries when workers are repeatedly exposed to extreme vibration, which creates a repetitive strain and cumulative trauma injuries.

Hand tools can be especially dangerous

Many of the tools used in machine shops require workers to use their hands and directly expose them to many potential injuries. Employers must ensure that their workers have the right equipment for the job, and all safety equipment and gear are in place. Safety guards and similar objects can prevent accidental injuries on a variety of machines.

Proper training to ensure workers know how to use their tools safely and the needed safety gear go a long way toward reducing workplace injuries and workers’ comp claims. When workers do suffer such injuries, an attorney experienced in Minnesota workers’ comp laws may be needed to uphold the rights of the injured worker.