Talk to the Hand

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No one is immune from hand injuries, from the office to the work site. In a recent year, hand injuries on the job totaled 916,440 with nearly 8% (or 71,100) of those being lacerations. What variables contribute to hand injuries? The study found three:

Variable # 1-Age

Workers under 25 years old typically report fewer injuries overall, however the percent of lacerations are higher, almost 30%. By the age of 65 we see the fewest lacerations of any age group, just 5.5%. 

Solutions

  • Education-Before a job and/or task begins educate the young worker in hand safety. 
  • Introduction to the work place-show and explain the hazards in the workplace during orientation. 
  • Enforce PPE policies and procedures: It pays in many ways to ensure that Wachs expectations are understood and being followed. 

 

Variable # 2-Experience

Wachs incident history shows the more experience an employee has, the more likely he is to be injured. Likewise BLS studies show private industry employees with their employer for less than three months reported 98,890 injuries total. However, workers who had been at their job for more than five years reported 323,760 injuries. With each experience bracket, overall injuries go up.

Solutions

  • Education/Communication: Review in orientation (new hire and new task) the importance of hand safety and specific PPE requirements. Continue with training, coaching and enforcement when it comes to PPE policies, also tool training, and safety procedures. 
  • Enforce PPE policies and procedures: It pays in many ways to ensure that Wachs expectations are understood and being followed. 

 

Variable # 3 -Weekend Work

The data shows injuries decrease during the weekends, less workers, less opportunities. However, hand injuries account for a higher percent of the injuries. While the data doesn’t show the reasons this happens, it leads one to believe that weekend workers perhaps are less likely to focus on hand safety during these two days. Perhaps this is due to less supervision, increase pressure to complete a job or just more opportunities to take short cuts. 

 


The National Safety Council notes the average cost of medical treatment of hand injuries: 

Application of a butterfly bandage: $300.00 
Laceration: $10,000.00 
Severed tendon: >$70,000.00 
This study concluded that the average hand injury exceeded $6,000, and if the injury resulted in a lost time the average reached $7,500.00. 

For more on preventing hand,
and other, injuries and preparing
a safe work environment,
please see this edition of Wachs Weekly!

Solutions

  • Communication: Prior to the weekend address concerns and expectations when it comes to specific jobs and task. 
  • Set and Document Wachs Expectations: Meet with Teams prior to the weekend to discuss safety strategies with follow-up on Monday how plan was carried out and any lessons learned. 
  • Enforce PPE policies and procedures: It pays in many ways to ensure that Wachs expectations are understood and being followed. A moment to audit, and or observe, then coach with feedback can make all the difference.