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The serious nature of lacerations in the workplace

A laceration is a cut, but it's much more than a simple, small injury that can heal on its own. Many lacerations are deep enough to require stitches and potentially surgery to close the wound. Depending on how it was caused, a laceration may have a high risk of infection, which makes it even more complicated.

Whenever you're on the job, there is a risk of injury. However, with good safety precautions in place, many issues can be avoided. The reality is that many lacerations occur because of unguarded machinery accidents or because of slipping and falling. Both accidents can be avoided if coworkers and employers put an emphasis on workplace safety.

Getting help for lacerations

To start with, you need to get help for any laceration that is bleeding significantly, if blood is spurting or if the bleeding isn't stopping after ten minutes of pressure on the wound. If both sides of the skin have pulled apart, it's wise to head to a hospital for stitches, since it will be difficult for the skin to close on its own.

Even if you are able to get the wound to stop bleeding, any deep or dirty laceration should receive an exam. While you wait to see a doctor, make sure you clean the area well, apply an antibiotic ointment and then place a sterile bandage on it.

What should you report to your employer?

If you are hurt, don't wait for your employer to give you permission to go to the hospital. Call 911 or have a witness let your employer know about the injury once you leave to travel to a doctor's office or the hospital. You should let your employer know about the injury as soon as possible after you receive treatment.

For lacerations, there are some shots you may be required to receive, depending on the cause. For instance, if you work with animals and suffer a deep laceration, it's normal to receive a tetanus shot and rabies vaccine.

What happens after you report your injury?

Your employer should forward the claim to his or her workers' compensation insurance carrier, so you can receive coverage for any medical care you receive. If your employer will not accept the claim or tries to hinder you from filing a workers' compensation claim, it's important to reach out to the agency directly to file your claim that way and to have your employer investigated.

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