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Mine workers at risk for hand injuries

Many mine workers in Louisiana perform a lot of their work with their hands. As a result, they are at a high risk for getting hand injuries. If a mine worker sustains a serious hand injury on the job, he or she could be unable to return to work.

Recently, the Mine Safety and Health Administration issued a warning about hand injuries to mine operators and mine workers. In this notice, the MSHA pointed out that there are four activities that lead to around 74 percent of hand injuries in mines. The four tasks that cause most of the hand injuries in mines are roof bolting, machine maintenance, the use of nonpowered hand tools and the handling supplies or materials. These activities led to 4,197 of the 5,678 hand injury incidents that occurred at coal mines between Jan. 1, 2010 and Aug. 31, 2016.

Among the hand injuries that the MSHA referenced in its warning, 1,863 of them caused mine workers to lose an average of 39 days of work. Mine workers may be able to avoid hand injuries at work by removing jewelry and keeping their hands away from moving machine parts and pinch points. They should also wear appropriate gloves for the tasks they perform and make sure that the gloves are a good fit. Mine operators can help their employees avoid sustaining hand injuries by properly training them so that they recognize the hazards of each activity.

A mine worker who has lost several days or weeks of work due to a workplace hand injury may be able to claim financial compensation for their lost wages. An attorney may be able to help an injured mine worker pursue reimbursement of lost wages in a workers' compensation claim.

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