California employers might not pay enough attention to hand safety. Workers need their hands for every job they do, and workplace injuries that cause amputations can jeopardize their ability to return to the same position. Even the loss of one finger can be life-changing. However, it is not only the obvious hazards that can cause serious workplace injuries.
While unguarded moving machine parts pose significant amputation hazards, workers in other industries also face hand injury risks. Those in admin or call centers who type on keyboards and manipulate a computer mouse for hours on end can suffer repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause chronic wrist pain. One precaution is to take frequent breaks from repetitive motions, and do frequent finger, arm and shoulder stretch exercises.
Other significant risks that are often not recognized include complacency and fatigue. The fact that a worker has never suffered a hand injury might make him or her less likely to wear protective gloves or take other precautions. Also, those who work extended hours can lose concentration and fall victim to preventable hand injuries.
California workers who have to learn new skills due to amputations caused by workplace injuries can turn to the state-regulated workers' compensation system to seek permanent total and permanent partial disability benefits. In addition, a nontransferable voucher, known as a supplemental job displacement benefit, might be awarded to provide training for an alternative occupation. The skills of an experienced workers' compensation attorney might help to obtain maximum benefits under applicable laws.