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A Guide to Common Workplace Hand Injuries

  • By Craig Kidwell
  • 09 Apr, 2020

Thousands of injuries happen each year in the workplace. Since many employees use their hands in some capacity in their job, many ways employees can injure their hands at work. Learn about these common workplace hand injuries.

Cuts and Lacerations

Cuts and lacerations are often minor cuts and scratches in the skin's surface.  These are treated easily and heal quickly. But if tendons or nerves have been severed, these types of injuries can be a lot more serious and may last much longer.

To reduce these injuries, wear safety gloves that are cut resistant when working with machinery, tools, or sharp objects.


Puncture injuries can be caused by items like power tools, hand tools, and sharp objects. Punctures happen when the item is not used properly or isn't maintained properly. Although they may seem minor, the risk for infection can be great, especially for deep punctures.

If you haven’t had your tetanus shot within the past 10 years, your should have one within 48 hours after the puncture wound happened.

Skin Irritations

Blisters and rashes on the skin happen because of being exposed to many items, like hazardous substances, detergents, and even soaps. Even though there are mild symptoms, dermatitis can occur, which is skin inflammation. This can be so bad that it makes working impossible.


There are three common types of burns that happen at work:

  • Thermal. These burns occur when the worker's exposed to hot liquids or surfaces, steam, and flames.
  • Electrical. These burns occur when electrical currents pass through the body but are stopped by the body's tissue. This results in a heat burn injury.
  • Chemical. These burns are because of hazardous substances causing chemical changes in skin. They continue doing damage until the reaction's complete or the substance gets washed away.
Burns can happen in many workplaces, but they vary in severity. There are four degrees of burns:
  • First degree – The skin is red and non-blistered.
  • Second degree – There are blisters on the skin and your skin may be thicker due to the burn.
  • Third degree – The skin has a leathery, white appearance and has widespread thickness.
  • Fourth degree – This burn destroys all skin layers, along with tendons, bones, and muscles.

Sometimes a burn's degree will change. This happens when the injury deepens and the damaged skin spreads. A burn can have many complications, like problems with bones and joints and infection. So a medical follow-up is suggested.

Strains and Sprains

Many hand injuries also involve the person's feet. When you trip over something or slip on a surface, you often put your hands down to break the fall, which can cause a hand or wrist strain or sprain. These injuries can take from two to three days for minor injuries to weeks or even months for more severe injuries

Broken Bones and Fractures

Blunt trauma often happens around moving equipment and machinery. Because of the weight and force involved, these injuries are often severe and include broken bones and fractures. Depending on the break's severity, you might need to wear a cast or brace, or you may need surgery.


Amputations are the most severe type of injury, when someone loses part of all of a limb. These injuries aren't as common, but they can happen. Amputations often happen around moving equipment or machinery and may involve the hand being crushed.

If you have been injured at work, you should have someone representing you. We have helped many employees just like you and can answer all of your questions. Let us know what you're going through. Our consultation is free, and we are bilingual.

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