Fingers Injured At Work

Statistics provided by hospitalsa�� accident and emergency departments show that fingers are a part of the human anatomy that are frequently injured at work.

Each finger has 3 bones, known as phalanges, and the thumb has only two bones. Ligaments hold bones in place at the joints in fingers and tendons are the fibrous bands that attach muscles to bones and allow the flexible, precise movements of the joints. There are 2 nerves running along each side of the finger that provide sensation to the finger. There are no muscles in fingers and the muscles that move the fingers are in the forearm and hand.

Fingers may suffer a wide variety of injuries caused by accidents at work, ranging from lacerations (cuts) to the skin, avulsions where part of the skin and soft tissue is torn off, finger sprains and dislocations due to damage to the ligaments that support the finger joints, infections and skin conditions caused by bacteria, viruses or chemicals, fractures to the bones in the finger, and amputated fingers.

The most effective way of protecting fingers from injury is to have a safe system of work for the task and a safe workplace, rather than attempting to rely on protective gloves and personal protective equipment (a�?ppea�?).

There is a legal requirement for businesses and companies to assess the risks in the workplace and then develop a plan to control the risks to prevent accidents and finger injuries occurring.

Despite the legal duty to do risk assessments the governmenta��s Health & Safety Executive continues to report accidents at work that would have been avoided if the company had implemented straightforward safety measures.

A recent example of this was an accident suffered by a brewery worker whose index finger and ring finger were traumatically amputated whilst he attempted to unblock a grain dust chute. The worker unfortunately required 5 operations on his injured right hand during the months after the accident. The HSE prosecuted the brewery for being in breach of the safety laws and the magistratesa�� court ordered it to pay A?16,000 in fines and costs.

The accident suffered by the brewery worker that left him with a permanently disabled hand was easily preventable, for instance, if there had been a guard fitted inside the chute to prevent access to the rotating valve that severed the workera��s fingers, and also a safe system of work for employees to follow when working unblocking the chutes of grain dust extractors.

The safety law for workplace risk assessments: A�the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Car Accidents At Work

We all know someone, a friend or family member, who has unfortunately suffered a road traffic accident at work. The Trades Union Congress has advised that road traffic accidents whilst at work are the single largest cause of fatal injuries suffered by workers.

The Department for Transporta��s road accident statistics are based mainly on the road collision reports completed by police officers who attend road accidents, however the police reports do not mention the reason for the journeys of the people involved in an accident. However, road safety research estimates that at least 25% of road accidents involve someone at work, and this does not include people travelling to and from the place where they work.

Road traffic accidents are often predictable and preventable and are not an inevitable part of a job.A� However, a significant number of drivers choose to drive work vehicles in ways that put themselves and other road users at risk of suffering an accident.

We all know the driving behaviour that increases the risk of a road traffic accident, such as, excessive speed, failing to use your mirrors before commencing a manoeuvre, travelling too close to the vehicle in front, failing to give way at junctions and allowing yourself to be distracted by your phone.

The businesses and companies that employ drivers are legally responsible for the actions of their employees whilst they are driving during their working day.A�Consequently, for example, if a companya��s sales executive in a company car negligently causes a road traffic accident then the company is liable to pay compensation to any people injured in the accident. It is therefore in the interest of the company to encourage safe driving by its employees.

Road safety research suggests that if a company or business has a genuine safety culture at work then its employees who do driving work will be influenced by the safety culture and be less likely to take risks whilst driving that may cause an accident. Driver attitudes have been identified by road safety research as an important cause of accidents and therefore the attitude of employees should be influenced by a business or companya��s positive safety culture. If a drivera��s attitude and behaviour is to be shaped by the organization where they work then the organization itself must have a good management system and provide reasonable, well-planned work schedules for its drivers, for instance, to avoid excessive time pressure, that leads to stress and fatigue, some of the well-known causes of road accidents.

The road safety charity, Brake, that works to prevent road death and injury, is organizing its annualA� road safety week for 18th-24th November 2013, and its event packs for schools and organizations are available online: www.brake.org.uk