Many workers in various California industries take precautions to prevent all kinds of occupational hazards, but many forget to protect their hands. Careers can be ruined and lives permanently changed by severe workplace injuries to the hands, especially when it leads to amputations. Hand safety should start with the basics like keeping hands clear from closing doors and always wearing protective gloves as protection from acids, sharp objects, splinters, chemicals, electrical burns and more.
Workers should be aware of hot equipment or lines because the slightest touch can cause severe burns to hands or fingers. It might be smart to learn to identify pinch points to avoid fingers and hands being caught in them. Also, anticipating the resistance and potential slips when using force while working with hand tools such as wrenches can provide further protection, and it is crucial to inspect tools for damage or defects before using them.
Compliance with lockout/tagout rules is essential, as working on energized equipment with moving parts can cause amputation injuries or worse. Additional precautions are required for equipment that has automatic startup cycles. De-energizing electrical equipment before working on it is as essential. Machine guards must always be replaced after cleaning or maintenance work is complete to protect the hands and fingers of all workers.
California victims of workplace injuries are typically entitled to file benefits claims with the state-regulated workers' compensation insurance system. The benefits typically cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, those whose injuries led to disabilities such as amputations might be eligible for vocational rehabilitation. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help to secure those benefits that will equip the injured worker with new skills to pursue a new occupation.