While it's true that the exact causes of Dupuytren’s Contracture are yet to be fully determined, research has shown that there are several factors that contribute to its development. Among the list of contributing factors – which include genetics (a significant proportion of sufferers have a family history of the condition) and the person's age and gender (the condition is more common in men over 50) – previous injuries to the hand, as well as the sufferer's occupation are also indicated in occurrences.
Although the evidence is not as strong as the non-occupational causes, recent research has suggested a possible link between Dupuytren’s Contracture and over-use of the hands, through manual labour or regular contact with vibrating tools.
Who is most at risk?
The link with vibration and the hands means that the condition is similar to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), with those who suffer from HAVS also likely to be at a higher risk of Dupuytren's Contracture. Workers in the following types of employment could therefore be susceptible to developing the condition:
Workers in the following types of employment could therefore be at risk:
- Factory assembly lines
- Estate management
- Heavy steel manufacture
As with any other form of work related upper limb disorder, your employer is under a duty to minimise the risk of you developing, or aggravating, a condition such as Dupuytren’s Contracture by providing proper training on the use of tools and equipment, making sure that such tools and equipment are safe to use at all times, and that employees are given all the necessary protective gear.
If your employer does not make sure all the appropriate precautions are enforced in the workplace and, as a result, you do develop the condition or have it aggravated, you could be entitled to claim compensation.
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