Evaluation of the performance of protective clothing systems needs to include epidemiological evidence of their effectiveness. Using New Zealand's unique data bases on hospital admissions and on compensated claims for injury, this case series on hand and wrist injuries shows how the bases can be used as a powerful tool in establishing and maintaining injury prevention strategies. Of the hand and wrist injuries resulting in hospitalisation in 1988 31.0% were classified as work-related. The predominant features of the cases were the open wound (71.6%), involvement of freezing workers and butchers (12.9%), involvement of those aged 20–30 years (50.2%), males (91.1%) and Maoris (15.7%). Proposals are made for ways in which information from the data bases could be used.
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