Hong Kong Med J 2012;18:131–6 | Number 2, April 2012
Epidemiology of occupational hand injury in Hong Kong
Rajesh Garg, Jason PY Cheung, Boris KK Fung, WY Ip
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Hong Kong Medical Centre, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVES. To study the epidemiology of occupational hand injuries and associated social and industrial factors.
DESIGN. For this retrospective case series of patients with occupational hand injuries, case records were retrieved to gather data. In addition, all the subjects were interviewed by a single interviewer using a predesigned questionnaire.
SETTING. Division of Hand Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. A total of 250 patients with occupational hand injuries were treated during the period from 1999 to 2001. This period was chosen to obtain 10 years of follow-up data to assess return to work and any secondary injuries.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Personal particulars (gender, age, marital status, education level, length of stay in Hong Kong, type of employment, wage system, personal habits, family size, number of breadwinners, income), type of industry and mode of injury, causes of injury according to the worker, work conditions, type of injury, and treatment given.
RESULTS. Two groups of workers in our study had more occupational hand injuries, namely those with less than 1 year of experience on a new job and immigrants from China. Factors associated with a large proportion of occupational hand injuries were male gender with personal risk factors (smoking and regular consumption of alcohol, long working hours), and in the case of machine operators, inadequate training and use of safety devices.
CONCLUSION. Occupational hand injuries lead to loss of working hours and compensation. For prevention, the workplace should be made into a safer and work-friendly environment. Workers should also have sufficient training.
Key words: Accidents, occupational; Hand injuries; Life style; Risk factors; Wounds and injuries
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