Hand injuries can be extremely traumatic. Not only do they inhibit a person’s ability to work, but they can also limit the ability to perform everyday activities.
According to Dr. Greg Merrell, a surgeon at the Indiana Hand Center - the largest hand surgery center in the country, there are two primary types of workplace injuries – traumatic events, and overuse or repetitive-motion injuries.
According to Dr. Merrell, amputations and other serious injuries typically occur because of a lack of experience or training. Current economic conditions may worsen the risk. Employers may be forced to hire less experienced workers to fill positions once held by more seasoned employees. In other cases, workers may be reassigned to tasks they’re not familiar with, increasing the risk of injury.
Dr. Merrell is skeptical about the direct link between work activities and conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, whether on the production floor or in the office. He cites a number of studies that cast doubt on the strict workplace cause of the symptoms. He believes, instead, that the conditions usually result when other risks are present such as severe cold, exaggerated wrist position, or excessive grip/force requirements. He also notes the effect of non-work activities such as gardening and sports, as well as the overall aging of the population. Younger tendons are better able than older tissue to sustain repetitive work, lifts, etc.
Regardless of the cause, there are several steps you can take to help reduce the risk of hand injuries and to minimize the impact of those that do occur.
Following these few simple steps will help prevent hand injuries and maintain the health and welfare of you and your workers.