Did you know claims involving hand injuries have cost the WorkCare Scheme more than $4m over the past five years?
This equates to 691 claims, with an average cost of $6,372, and the highest cost being $293,218. Wounds, lacerations, and amputations (including bites) account for 71% of hand injury claims, and 63% of incurred costs. The majority of workers who suffer hand injuries are male, aged 50-60, and work in parks and gardens roles.
Due to these statistics, it is essential you are equipped on how to manage the risks associated with these types of injuries. On 20 August, Handoc and the LGIS injury management team presented to members on the management of these injuries.
Important items to consider regarding hand injuries in the workplace:
Apply first aid onsite for all injuries - use a saline wash and an antiseptic such as betadine for animal bites. Animal bites always require review by a medical practitioner due to the high risk of infection – 10% of rodent bites, 18% of dog bites, and 20-80% of cat bites cause infection.
Seek medical assessment, even for penetrating injuries that appear relatively minor, due to the risk of nerve and tendon/ligament damage and infection. Wounds that do not receive medical attention for 8 hours or more are at a higher risk of infection.
Consider a 'no jewellery' policy in your workplace for workers at risk, such as those working with machinery. A recent de-gloving injury resulted in the amputation of the machine operator's ring finger. His foot slipped off the step when exiting the machine and his wedding ring caught on the engine cover. The amputated finger was unable to be saved. These types of hand injuries are especially traumatic and complicated.
How can we help?
The LGIS OSH and injury prevention teams can assist with any concerns you have regarding the risk and prevention of hand injuries. The LGIS claims and injury management teams can assist with the management and return to work following hand injury. Handoc can also provide advice over the phone, and emergency consultation and treatment such as surgery. Telephone 1300 HANDOC (1300 426 362).