Hand injuries are considered to be the most common bodily injury. In fact, almost 30% of all work-related injuries in the natural resources, construction and maintenance (NRCM) occupations involved injuries to the hands or fingers.
The likelihood of hand injuries can increase in certain industries. Workers in NRCM industries, as well as in food production, manufacturing and railroad services, can be especially at risk for severe hand injuries. In these industries, injuries like cuts and hand-arm vibration syndrome can be prevalent.
However, an employee doesn’t have to be in a physically demanding job to sustain a hand injury. Office workers often overuse their hands and experience hand pain. Knowing what types of hand injuries employees can be at risk of developing can help you implement injury prevention practices that work for your business.
3 most common hand injuries in the workplace
While about 20% of hand injury patients were injured at work, many of their injuries could have been prevented. The following are some of the most common hand injuries that can happen in the workplace and across industries:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome — This condition is common among construction workers and office workers alike. It occurs when the carpal tunnel becomes inflamed and squeezes the median nerve, which runs from the wrist to the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can include tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Employees can lower their risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome by making ergonomic changes to their work stations. In other words, they can adjust their environment and habits so that their wrist is always aligned during movement.
- Tendinitis — If you overuse your hands at work, you can strain your tendons. Tendinitis refers to when your tendons become inflamed and irritated due to overuse. It can often occur in your fingers and wrists after repetitive motions. If you have tendinitis in your hand, your pain may increase during movement. You may also develop swelling and a thickening of the affected tendon sheath that sometimes looks like a lump.
To prevent this, employees should be sure to take breaks between repetitive movements. They should also be sure to lift, push or pull heavy objects with proper technique so that their hands are not bearing most of the object’s weight.
- Fractures or breaks — These painful injuries can happen after direct impact on the fingers or wrist. Slipping, tripping, or falling on the hands is a common cause of hand fractures and breaks. They can be easily identified by changes in a bone’s shape and surrounding skin color.
Employers can help prevent these hand injuries by making sure that all wet floors are clearly marked as such, and there is no debris lying in walking paths. They can also double-check the stability of their ladders and implement relevant injury prevention training.
Work-Fit can help you limit the most common hand injuries in your workplace
You can better prevent hand injuries at work if you know some of their most common causes. Our team of experts at Work-Fit can help you develop an injury prevention program that works for the industry, size and requirements of your business. Plus, our wellness management program can help educate your employees about the most common hand injuries and best practices to prevent them in the workplace.
Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees healthy.