Distractions lead to many workers' compensation claims

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are over one million emergency room visits across the country each year for serious hand injuries caused by workplace accidents. Safety authorities cite distractions as the primary cause for many of these injuries. Although workers might find comfort in the fact that the workers' compensation system will cover their medical expenses and lost wages, it's important to stop and think of the consequences of losing a hand, or even just a finger.

Californian employers are required to comply with safety standards as prescribed by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. According to the National Safety Council, direct and indirect costs to a company can be between $10,000 and $100,000, depending on the type of injury the employee suffered. Lost work time and accommodations for workers whose hand injuries caused disabilities can be avoided.

Hand injuries can range from cuts, lacerations and burns to fractures and even amputations. Many employers and employees don't pay enough attention to the vulnerability of a worker's hands. Because hands are workers' most valuable tools, it only makes sense to protect them as they would any important tools and equipment. The difference, of course, is that hands cannot be replaced.

California workers who are left with severe hand injuries caused by on-the-job accidents might have to fight for their rights to maximum workers' compensation benefits. The sensible step would be to consult with an attorney who is experienced in obtaining all the benefits to which an injured worker is entitled. These might include permanent or temporary disability benefits and supplemental job displacement benefits if the worker is unable to return to his or her previous occupation.

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