Mine workers in South Carolina should know that the Mine Safety and Health Administration recently issued a hand injury advisory warning for mine employees and operators. According to the agency, 5,678 hand injuries occurred at coal mines from Jan. 1, 2010 to Aug. 31, 2016. An average of 39 lost time days resulted from 1,863 of those injuries.
The four most common causes of hand injuries included conducting maintenance services on machines, handling materials and supplies, roof bolting and using non-powered hand tools. According to the MSHA, these four types of activities accounted for 74 percent, or 4,197, of the hand-injury accidents that were reported.
There are a number of best practices the agency recommends that miners should adhere to in order to avoid sustaining a hand injury. Miners should keep their hands away from machine parts that rotate or move and away from pinch points. Equipment or machinery that have no guarding or malfunctioning emergency shut-off switches should not be operated.
Miners should also take care to wear the appropriate protective gear. This includes properly fitted gloves or metacarpal gloves that provide employees with the manual dexterity that is required to complete their job tasks. In order to prevent bruising, minor cuts and pinching, the gloves should have a snug fit.
Other practices include using the appropriate tools for the job and keeping the work areas free of tripping hazards. Miners should also mechanically secure the materials they are working on by using vices or clamps instead of their hands.
A personal injury attorney may work to obtain compensation for clients who sustained workplace injuries. The attorney may assist in securing workers’ compensation or pursue parties whose actions contributed to an unsafe working environment.