Hospitalized occupational finger amputations, New Jersey, 1985 and 1986

Am J Ind Med. 1993 Mar;23(3):439-47. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700230307.


About 19,000 finger amputations occur at work each year in the United States. Twenty percent of these injuries are severe enough to require hospitalization. Hospital discharge data from New Jersey (1985, 1986) were used to describe the demographic characteristics of persons with such injuries and to identify potential subjects for telephone interview. A total of 637 persons hospitalized for finger amputations were sent letters asking for their participation. Of 637 persons, 355 (56%) were contacted and 228 (36%) were interviewed, of whom 134 (59%) said their injury occurred at work. The annual rate of finger amputations at work was 9.3 per 100,000 employed persons. The rate was higher for males (14.7) than females (1.9). The age-adjusted rates were higher for Hispanic (52.8) and black (28.9) males than for white males (9.5). Persons working with machines or maintaining them in the manufacturing industry were at highest risk. Unjamming or repairing machinery (e.g., presses, saws, or slicers) while in operation was particularly hazardous. These data can be used to target occupations and industries for specific worksite intervention to prevent finger amputations. One limitation of this study, however, is that hospitalized occupational finger amputations may not be representative of all finger amputations, the majority of which are less severe and do not require hospitalization.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputation, Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Amputation, Traumatic / etiology
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Finger Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Finger Injuries / etiology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Industry*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors