Do you work with your hands? If so, then hand and wrist injuries can be a risk for you.
We work with hand and wrist injury victims every day. We know how easy it is for injuries to derail your career, and we believe you should never have to suffer from hand injuries that could be prevented.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of these injuries happening or being exacerbated on the job.
This article will go over common hand and wrist injuries in the workplace and how they happen. We also have some tips on what workers should do if an injury occurs and file a worker’s compensation claim.
1. What Are The Most Common Hand and Wrist Injuries at Work?
The hand is the part of the body most likely to develop an overuse injury, largely because it has so many functions. From gripping tools to typing on a keyboard to playing sports, this one part of the body does more than just pick things up.
The wrist also helps make gripping possible as well as turning hand movements into arm movement, such that twisting motions come from both hands and wrists working together in unison.
Hand injuries can happen in a variety of ways. Construction workers are at a highly increased risk for hand and wrist injuries because they often have to use their hands to break objects, carry heavy items, and work with hand tools while wearing gloves that aren’t designed for the task.
Repetitive Motion Injury
You might also suffer from repetitive motion injury if you perform physically exertive tasks repeatedly (such as a carpenter pulling up boards or finishing flooring). Repetitive motion injuries are common among construction workers and all who perform physical labor, as repeated tasks that tax muscle and bone have a cumulative effect. Repetitive motions such as painting, using power tools, or carrying ladders are all examples of activities that may put increased strain on the hands and wrists over time..
Tendonitis is a hand injury that affects the tendons, and may affect several areas of the body. Doctors may refer to it as “tennis elbow”, as it is common among tennis players due to repeated strain on the tendons surrounding the area of the elbow. You don’t have to be a tennis player to suffer from tendonitis, however. Those who work with their hands every day and repetitively grip, release, and twist objects in their hands are prone to this condition.
Trigger Finger (Stenosing Tenosynovitis)
Trigger finger is a hand injury that causes the fingers to contract like they’re gripping something when you don’t intend for them to. It’s often caused by repetitive hand movements such as using power tools or carrying heavy loads. Trigger finger might also result from working in an awkward position for long periods of time.
The most common symptom is painless clicking — especially at night while sleeping, but this symptom is often experienced throughout the day during work hours as well.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve runs through a narrow space called the carpal tunnel created by bones in your wrist and palm to get up into these fingers.
The most common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is tingling or numbness in the hand, usually in the thumb, middle, ring and index finger. Those with this condition may also experience weakness in the hand or a tendency to drop objects unintentionally..
2. How Can I Prevent Hand and Wrist Injuries?
A hand injury can happen in many different ways, so there is no single way to prevent them.
However, hand injuries on the job are often caused by repetitive motions or overexertion of the hand and wrist muscles. To reduce the chances of getting your hand and wrist injured at work, you should avoid those actions as much as possible.
In general, hand and wrist injuries can be avoided by taking frequent breaks from work and using equipment that reduces strain on these parts of the body.
- Be sure not to use hand tools for longer than necessary.
- Wear proper safety equipment
- If possible, try switching jobs or tasks when hand pain becomes severe enough to require a break.
- You may also require medical attention if there’s no improvement after a few days off work.
If you are experiencing hand pain, numbness, tingling, or a tendency to drop objects, notify your supervisor as soon as possible, and pursue evaluation by a doctor.
3. What Should I Do if My Hand or Wrist is Injured at Work?
Workers should also be aware of hand and wrist injuries that could happen on the job, like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis, which are characterized by pain, numbness, tingling sensation (paresthesia), or weakness.
For most hand injuries related to work activities:
- The worker’s employer will pay for any medical treatment needed for the first two days that they are out of work.
- If a worker is out sick for more than two consecutive days because of an occupational hand injury, they may need to file a workman’s comp claim with their state workers’ compensation board.
- If a worker is denied their claim or is facing opposition from their employer, consulting with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney is recommended
If an accident does occur where your hand becomes injured, it will be important for you to contact worker’s compensation benefits services right away after receiving medical treatment – don’t wait until the pain has subsided.
The Workers’ Compensation system is complex and can be confusing to navigate on your own. If you have been injured at work, it’s important to get help from a qualified professional who understands the intricacies of this often complicated process.
Sundquist Law can help. We’re happy to help you fill out forms, prepare your evidence, and make your claim. If you have been injured on the job and need assistance getting your worker’s comp benefits, then contact Sundquist Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota — The Union Members Law Firm.