Protecting our fingers and hands is essential for our daily work and our quality of life. Work-related hand injuries are one of the leading reasons workers end up in the emergency room and miss work. Damage to the nerves in your fingers and hands, loss of a finger, a skin burn or allergic reaction, can negatively impact the quality of our work and detract from our quality of life.
Causes of hand injuries
There are many hazards on work sites that can result in a hand injury, including:
- Punctures, cuts or lacerations – caused by contact with a sharp, spiked or jagged edge on equipment, tools or materials.
- Crushed, fractures or amputations – caused by contact with gears, belts, wheels and rollers, falling objects, and rings, gloves or clothing getting caught and putting your hand in harm’s way.
- Strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries – caused by using the wrong tool for the job, or one that is too big, small, or heavy for your hand.
- Burns – caused by direct contact with a hot surface or a chemical.
- Dermatitis and other skin disorders – caused by direct contact with chemicals in products and materials.
- Before beginning work ensure that the appropriate gloves for the task have been identified and are worn.
- Keep alert and focused on keeping your hands safe throughout the job/task.
- Keep guards on machinery and power tools in place.
- Use tools and equipment designed for the work being performed and use them as instructed by the equipment manufacturer.
- Don’t put your hands or fingers near the moving parts of a power tool or other equipment.
- Ensure machinery, equipment, and power tools are completely off before you try replacing, cleaning or repairing parts – follow lock-out/tag-out procedures.
- Identify safety features on tools and equipment before you use them, such as emergency off switches.
- Check tools and equipment to make sure they are in proper working order before beginning a task.
- Keep hands and fingers away from sharp edges (blades, protruding nails, etc.). Never cut toward the palm of your hand.
- Select hand tools that are ergonomic for your hand (the right size, lowest weight, and have features such as grips, anti-vibration handles, and with angled handles that allow you to work without your wrist bent).
- Wear gloves that fit your hand and are right for the work being performed – not all gloves protect against all hazards.
- Do not wear rings, other jewelry or lose articles of clothing that could get caught on a moving object.
Wachs Services has proven systems to prevent hand injuries, our JHA. When we conduct a collaborative JHA, document the results, and ensure that the solutions are implemented, the chances of hand injury incidents are significantly reduced.