Over or Under: How Well Do You Know the Numbers on Hand Safety?

With fall on the horizon, it’s time to refresh our knowledge on workplace hand injuries and hand safety. How well do you know your hand safety stats? Think you can ace a little pop quiz? Give it a shot.

Read each statement below and decide whether the number in red is an overestimate or an underestimate. You might be surprised at how the numbers add up.


The average penalty for failing to prevent a workplace hand injury is $5,000.

UNDER! The average penalty for failing to prevent a hand injury among workers is actually a whopping $8,000. Think of how many pairs of protective gloves you could buy with that kind of money.

The average worker’s compensation claim for a hand injury is $4,000.

UNDER! The average worker’s compensation claim for hand injuries is a staggering $6,000. And according to a recent white paper by BLR Legal Editor Ana Ellington, lost-time hand injury claims average $7,500. That’s a grand total of $14,000+ per hand injury just to cover fines and worker’s compensation costs.

The indirect costs of a workplace hand injury are three times that of the direct costs.

UNDER! That’s right; it gets even worse. The indirect costs of workplace injuries are estimated to be FOUR times as much as the direct costs.

The average hand injury results in five days off of work.

UNDER! Five days for rested digits may seem like a lot of time, but the actual number of days away from work is six. And that missed time is a critical indirect cost of workplace injuries.


There are more than 100,000 lost-time workplace hand injuries each year.

UNDER! Believe it or not, but even 100,000 doesn’t cover all the lost-time hand injuries that take place every single year. A white paper published by BLR states that there are 110,000 lost-time hand injuries annually.

More than 500,000 employees are sent to the emergency room annually for hand injuries.

UNDER! Half a million doesn’t even cover all the workers sent to the ER for hand injuries. In fact, you’d have to double that number; according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand injuries account for 1,080,000 emergency department visits by workers each year.

In 2013, the age group with the highest incidence rate for lost-time hand injuries was 20–24 year olds.

OVER! It’s frightening but true. The 16-19 year old age group was the most vulnerable to lost-time hand injuries in 2013 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It’s a clear reminder that we have to make an extra effort when it comes to training and protecting the newest (and oldest) members of our workforce.


Level 1 is the highest level of protection available in cut-resistant gloves.

UNDER! Cut protection is measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest level of cut protection available.

Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMwPE) is 10 times stronger than steel.

UNDER! UHMwPE, used in Dyneema® Fiber, is actually 15 times stronger—and 40% stronger than aramid fibers—offering level 5 cut protection without added bulk.

50% of workers weren’t wearing gloves at the time of their injuries.

UNDER! The most shocking (and most cited) hand injury statistic of all: 70% of those who suffer workplace hand injuries weren’t wearing gloves at the time the incident occurred. Independent studies suggest that wearing proper PPE could lower the number of hand injuries by as much as 60%!


60% of safety leaders are actively preventing cuts, lacerations, and punctures at their facilities.

OVER! According the recently released 2015 National Safety Survey, only 54.3% of safety leaders surveyed are actively targeting injuries in this category—compared to 61.2% who are actively targeting slips, trips, and falls.

80% of safety leaders have hand protection programs at their facilities.

UNDER! As observed by the 2015 National Safety Survey, 81.5% of safety leaders surveyed say they have hand protection programs at their facilities, while 91.6% say they have programs focused on eye, face, and head protection.

50% of safety leaders say they use safety motivations, incentives, or recognition in their safety programs.

OVER! Surprisingly, less than half (46.5%) of safety leaders surveyed say they use incentives, rewards, and recognition to encourage safety behavior despite the fact that this proven method has been shown to improve workplace safety and reduce accidents and injuries.

You can expect a return of $3 for every $1 invested in effective workplace safety programs.

UNDER! OSHA’s Office of Regulatory Analysis suggests that companies that implement effective safety and health programs can expect a return of $4 to $6 for every $1 invested. With numbers like that, any smart business leader can recognize an investment in safety as an investment that’s good for the bottom line.


Hand injuries are 100% preventable with the right safety efforts in place.

SPOT-ON! With the right combination of training, precautions, and personal protective equipment, we firmly believe workplace hand injuries are 100% preventable. Share this article to help us spread the word about hand safety so we can look back at these injury stats in future and happily say they are all waaay over.

How did you do on the over-under hand safety quiz? Anything surprise you? Tell us in the comments section below!

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