Blue collar workers face a lot of potential risks on the job. Working with your hands and body creates an infinite number of ways that someone could end up hurt on the job.
Manufacturing particularly has its own special set of workplace dangers. Workers are vulnerable to acquiring injuries in several different ways.
The degree of injury varies
There is the everyday risk associated with performing repetitive tasks on a production line. Gripping the same tool or lifting items in the same manner for eight or more hours a day for many years can do a lot of damage to the muscles and joints of the human body. Repetitive stress injuries can leave someone in need of surgery, pain management or even ongoing physical therapy and accommodations on the job site.
However, one of the greater and more pressing risks is the potential damage that machinery and tools in a manufacturing setting can cause. Cutting tools, such as miter saws or table saws, as well as lasers, can all result in severe traumatic injuries.
Machinery that cuts, lifts, compresses or even joins pieces of a product together can cause catastrophic injury to the human operating it in the event of a malfunction. A common but also severe injury associated with these sorts of issues and machinery is the loss of a limb or its functions.
Severing a limb or crushing it can cause severe trauma
Getting cut on a piece of workplace machinery is often a traumatic experience. In some cases, there is a lot of blood, and it requires stitches. Severe cuts can even lead to nerve damage. Other times, the results of the injury are so catastrophic that the extremity involved is completely severed. Depending on the body part involved, the prognosis for this issue will vary.
When it comes to fingers or toes, it may be possible to reattach a severed digit. There are even cases where a person has multiple digits reattached after a workplace injury. With more complex tissue, such as an entire arm or part of a leg, reattachment may not be an option and, in that scenario, the worker will rely on medical care, a prosthesis and physical therapy to regain function. However, they will never regain the limb that has been severed.
It is also possible for a worker to effectively lose function in a limb or extremity after a serious machinery accident. Crushing in a machine is a perfect example. The amount of damage to the bones maybe irreparable, and soft tissue injuries may also be severe in that kind of scenario. Even with intensive trauma surgery and excellent physical therapy, the worker may never regain use of that limb.
Workers' compensation protects severely injured workers
For those who lose limbs or extremities at work, the disability benefits provided by workers' compensation can help them cover medical costs and replace a portion of their lost wages. You may find yourself offered a lump sum award if you lose a limb. Before you sign anything after a severe workplace injury that affects the use of limbs, you should carefully review your legal rights and options.