Hand injuries due to high-pressure injection devices for painting in shipyards: circumstances, management, and outcome in twelve patients

Am J Ind Med. 2003 May;43(5):539-42. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10218.


Background: Injuries due to high-pressure injections are frequently underestimated occupational accidents, which may have disabling outcomes.

Methods: The occupational injuries logbooks of two shipyards were examined. Twelve accidents due to the utilization of high-pressure equipment were reported. Data were obtained by reviewing the employers' logbooks and hospital records.

Results: Contaminants were epoxy paint and stucco, paint solvent, hydraulic and industrial oil. In three cases, the palm was injured and the fingers in nine. In 91% of cases, the accident occurred in the last 2 hr of the work shift. Mishandling (n = 9) and rupture of the high-pressure equipment (n = 3) were the causes. Mean time to medical treatment was 42.5 hr (SD 56.0). Ten workers were permanently disabled.

Conclusions: Prompt surgical intervention with debridement and decompression was done in two workers, who healed completely. The ten patients who were not treated immediately eventually experienced a high rate of disability and five of them also suffered amputation.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational
  • Adult
  • Amputation, Surgical
  • Debridement
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Disabled Persons
  • Hand Injuries / etiology*
  • Hand Injuries / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Injections / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure / adverse effects*
  • Ships
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds, Penetrating / etiology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / therapy