You have two hands and ten fingers — and you’d like to keep them all in working order. After all, a serious hand injury can be absolutely devastating to your ability to work or even enjoy your life — and they happen all the time.
Hand injuries are the second-most common kind of workplace injury, accounting for roughly 110,000 incidents of lost work time every year, and some hand injuries are distinctly more common than others.
What kinds of hand injuries are typical in the workplace?
While all kinds of accidents are possible, the vast majority fall into one of the following three categories:
- Fractures: You can break your fingers, your wrist or even some of the delicate bones in the back of your hand in a fall, a car accident, while operating heavy machinery or just grabbing for a box that’s about to fall off a shelf.
- Crush injuries: There are all kinds of “pinch points” that can catch your fingers and hands, whether that’s a conveyor belt in a factory or a sliding door on a file cabinet. Getting your hand caught between two objects can leave you with serious wounds.
- Lacerations: A slip with a boxcutter or knife is all it takes to cut right through muscle, tendon and into the bone.
All of these hand injuries can require extensive surgery and lengthy healing times — and there’s no real guarantee that you won’t have permanent damage.
What should you do if you suffer a hand injury at work?
The first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Then, let your employer know what happened. The vast majority of injured workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that can provide medical coverage, some replacement wages and more.
If you’re struggling to get (or keep) your workers’ compensation, don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.