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Hand News

Returning to Work after Traumatic Hand Injuries

Workers who use large machines that press, cut, grind, or heat are at high risk for hand injuries. Some workers hurt their hands badly. Their hands and fingers can get cut off or crushed. Too often these workers become depressed and have a hard time going back to work.

These authors studied people after bad hand injuries. The goal was to find out how workers' attitudes about what caused the accident affected their return to work. Over six months, all patients' depression got better, and they were all physically to get back to work. However, many still had a hard time going back to their jobs. Over 60 percent went to a new department or went to work for another company.

Patients who blamed themselves for the accident were more likely to go back to work easily. The authors say that these patients felt some control in the situation, so they felt they would be able to avoid dangerous situations in the future. Patients who blamed co-workers, faulty machinery, or their employers had a harder time going back to work. These patients now saw their workplaces as dangerous.

This study did not try to understand whether injured workers were laying blame in the right places. Further research could help doctors, psychologists, and employers understand the mental state of workers who suffer traumatic hand injuries at work.


Mark D. Rusch, PhD, et al. Return to Work Outcomes after Work-Related Hand Trauma: The Role of Causal Attributions. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. July 2003. Vol. 28A. No. 4. Pp. 673-677.

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