Our hands, wrists, fingers, and thumbs are not just tools; they are essential to our daily activities. However, in work environments, they become vulnerable to a range of injuries which range from minor cuts, strains, and sprains that may temporarily hamper productivity to catastrophic crush injuries or amputations that alter lives forever.
Hand and finger injuries hold immense power over a worker’s well-being and livelihood. The significance of protecting these intricate body parts cannot be overstated.
To comprehend the gravity of hand and finger injuries, let’s examine some relevant statistics:
- WorkSafe Victoria accepted 137 claims for workplace amputation injuries in 2022, resulting in over 150 amputated body parts, including at least 127 fingers or thumbs. These incidents primarily occurred due to fingers being caught or crushed in machinery or severed while using a saw.
- In New South Wales (NSW), from January to July 2019, icare received 13,317 claims related to arm, shoulder, and hand injuries.
- In Western Australia (WA), during the 2018/19 period, hand injury claims accounted for 18% of all claims lodged in the workers’ compensation scheme, totalling 4,786 claims.
When it comes to the safety of our hands and fingers at the workplace, prevention is key. We can mitigate the risks using an approach called the ‘Hierarchy of Controls’. This effective strategy helps us to establish multiple layers of defence against potential hazards.