Lack of hand protection can cause permanent disability

Workers in industrial facilities in Colorado may not all realize the risks of suffering severe injuries if they fail to wear, or are not provided with, the necessary personal protective equipment. Some employers and workers might regard gloves as unnecessary and a hindrance. They may not realize that protective hand gear is essential in avoiding severe hand injuries that could cause permanent disability.

The quality of a worker’s life can decline significantly if the functionality of a hand is lost — even if it is only a finger or part of a finger that is severed. Sources that include the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that 70 percent of all reported hand injuries involved the failure to wear gloves at the time of the incidents that caused the injuries. While 30 percent of hand-injury victims wore protection, it was inappropriate or inadequate.

Further data shows that emergency room visits that involve occupational hand injuries are as many as one million per year. Authorities say back and neck injuries top the list of annual work-related injuries, with hand injuries in second place. Approximately 250,000 serious wrist, hand and finger injuries are reported annually. According to the National Safety Council, medical treatment for hand lacerations typically cost about $10,000, stitches $2,000 and severed tendons $70,000.

Colorado workers can insist on being provided with the necessary gear to protect their hands. However, in the event of an injury, the workers’ compensation insurance program will cover medical expenses and lost wages. If a traumatic injury caused permanent disability, additional benefits might be awarded. Some workers in such situations choose to seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the claims and seek maximum benefits for them.

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