Your hands are important to your ability to make a living — but your hands are also constantly in danger when you work construction, in a factory, in the heating and cooling industry or any other profession where you can easily end up with a crushing injury or an amputation of your fingers or hand.
Hand injuries are, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the second-most common type of injury in the workplace. (Back injuries are the most common.) They account for 23% of all workplace injuries and are — above all other kinds of accidents — the most preventable.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more than 70% of hand injuries could be prevented just by wearing safety gloves. Your risk of having a serious injury increases two and a half times normal when you don’t. Unfortunately, wearing just any gloves isn’t the answer — the other 30% of victims who were gloved when they were injured were wearing gloves that were either damaged, torn or otherwise inadequate for their task.
Hand injuries are also among the costliest of all accidents. According to a study by the National Safety Council (NSC), a single incident can cost between $540 and $26,000 — while serious trauma to an extremity averages $730,000 per claim.
If you’ve suffered a hand injury at work, the odds are good that you’re going to be facing significant recovery time. You may also need retraining if you’re unable to return to the job you previously held. It’s important to make the most of your workers’ compensation benefits and explore all other legal avenues you have available.