Occupations that are hazardous to your hand health

Working isn’t always our favorite thing to do, but it’s a necessary part of life. It’s safe to say that all jobs come with some kind of risk, but there are some that are more dangerous to your hand health than others. In 2020, there were close to 200,000 recorded workplace injuries of the hand, arm and wrist in the US. These types of injuries are more common in men than women, affect members of all working age groups and can result in missing 1-2 weeks of work at a minimum! Our hands are not only essential for work, but also for our tasks at home and the recreational activities we enjoy, which is why hand health and safety is so important.

Here are some of industries that carry the biggest hand injury risk and some of the things you can do to help minimize hazards in the workplace.

Skilled Trades and Laborers

It seems pretty obvious that people who work with their hands sustain the most hand injuries and skilled workers are no exception. This category encompasses occupations like construction works and carpenters, mechanics, electricians and heavy machine operators. The majority of hand injuries that occur in these jobs are lacerations, cuts and punctures. However, depending on the tools you work with, you are also prone to burns, repetitive strain injuries from power tools and routine movements, and shoulder injuries from frequent use or heavy lifting.


The men and women who work in manufacturing plants and factories are more susceptible to certain injuries than those who work in other professions on this list. These workers are at risk of overuse injuries and burns just like skilled tradesmen, however those who work in a plant or factory with large machines are also at greater risk for amputations and crush injuries. All plants and factories carry strict safety rules, including clothing regulations, in an effort to help prevent these types of injuries from occurring.

Food Industry

If you’ve spent any amount of time in a kitchen, it’s likely that you’ve experienced a knife cut, a burn or some other sort of accident while cooking. Those who cook professionally or are servers are no strangers to these types of injures. Kitchen burns are common from working over multiple flame based stovetops and fryers or from touching hot pots and pans. Cuts, lacerations and even finger amputations occur from knife slips while preparing prepping food and slicing meat. Wait staff are also prone to wrist injuries from holding heavy trays and plates with bent hand positioning night after night.

What Can You Do?

Whether you work in one of these fields or another, sometimes injuries are unavoidable. However, there are some measures you can take to try and prevent hand and wrist injuries from occurring while on the job.  

  • Avoid repeatedly carrying heavy objects, especially in awkward bend hand positioning. Taking multiple trips to avoid overload is always better.
  • Be mindful of the tools and machines you’re working with. Even if you’re proficient in them, take things slow and don’t distract yourself.
  • If available for your profession, wear protective gloves to help reduce vibrations, abrasions and lacerations.
  • Take small breaks throughout the day and stretch our your hands to avoid overuse injuries.

If you’ve recently been injured at work you should report it to your employer right away! Michigan Surgery Specialist accepts worker’s compensation claims so talk to your Human Resources department or workplace injury representative at your place of employment to coordinate an appointment.




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