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Preventing hand injuries in the workplace

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

In industries across America, the hand is especially liable to injury. Employers should consider the following tips for preventing hand injuries, but they naturally cannot prevent all injuries because of unforeseeable actions on the part of employees. If you happened to injure your hand in New Jersey, you may seek compensation, but it might not be easy unless the employer ignored your safety.

Hazard assessments and equipment upgrades

Employers should first of all identify any hand-related hazards on the workplace and then eliminate them via engineering or job controls. An engineering control would be, for example, the installation of machine guards around pinch points or a light curtain that shuts machinery down once a hand enters the danger zone. A job control could involve retraining so that workers perform a job in a different, safer way.

Employees should also receive the right personal protective equipment. Seventy percent of hand injuries on the job are due to workers not wearing gloves. Newer gloves are available that are resistant to water, humidity, chemicals, cuts and more.

Better training and rule enforcement

Solid ongoing training is essential; first, it shows employees that their employers care about them, and second, it helps in the growth of a safety-oriented culture where employees actively report dangers and look out for their fellow workers. Training should be memorable, too. For example, to underline the importance of hand safety, employers could have workers try to perform daily tasks with only one hand.

Employers can reward workers who comply with the rules by offering things like trophies, their own special parking space or extra vacation time. Of course, punishing those who break the rules may be necessary, too, but this is not as helpful in instilling safety consciousness.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim

Perhaps your employer did everything possible for your safety and you still injured your hand or another body part. You may still apply for workers’ comp benefits, which cover all medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. However, there’s the chance of having your claim denied, so you may want a lawyer to represent you and help with any appeals.