Private employers in the US reported 2.7 million non-fatal job injuries and illnesses in 2020. That’s down 5.7% from 2021, but still unfortunate as most were preventable. Moreover, those reports are only for private workers, thus, excluding public workers.
Hand injuries, in turn, are the most common preventable workplace injuries. Indeed, nearly one in four job injuries affect the fingers and hands.
Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent a hand injury. We’ve rounded them up below, so read on to discover the top workplace hand safety tips.
1. Always Glove up When Needed
Studies found that seven in 10 workers who’ve had a hand injury weren’t using hand protection. Even in those who did, close to a third wore the wrong kind of gloves.
Thus, never forego wearing gloves and ensure you always wear a pair fit for the job.
For example, disposable gloves safeguard against incidental contact with pathogens. However, they offer less protection against abrasions, cuts, and industrial chemicals. If that’s what you handle at work, it may be best to wear neoprene gloves.
2. Inspect Hand and Power Tools
Power tools, such as electric or engine saws and grinders can cause minor cuts to amputations. The wired ones also pose the risk of electrical injuries and burns. Moreover, if not secured, their attachments can fly off and injure the hands or other parts of the body.
Therefore, it’s always imperative to inspect such Healthcare tools before using them. Ensure their attachments are secure and their cables have no frays or damages.
3. Beware Pinch Point Hazards
Pinch point hazards involve one or more objects moving towards each other. They’re dangerous as they can crush or shear anything between them, such as fingers or hands. That can result in lacerations, contusions, broken bones, crushed tissue, and even amputations.
Examples of hand and pinch point safety hazards are doors, hinges, gears, and rollers. Your fingers or hands can also get caught in equipment belts, chains, sprockets, or pulleys. So, always pay attention each time you place your hands (or any part of your body) between such objects.
4. Keep Your Wrists Straight
Did you know that females are several times more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) than males? And while it can happen to anyone, workers in some industries, such as manufacturing, are at a higher risk.
The good news is that CTS is preventable; one way is to keep your wrists straight while using tools. Avoiding repeated flexing, curling, or extensions of the wrists can also help. Finally, make it a habit to rest your hands for at least 10 minutes every hour.
5. Mind Fall Hazards
When people slip, trip, and fall, many tend to break the latter with their hands. Unfortunately, that puts them at risk of an injury called FOOSH. It stands for ‘Fallen Onto an Outstretched Hand.’
FOOSH injuries can result in a scaphoid fracture, a break in one of the eight small wrist bones. It can also cause other hand bones to break or, at the very least, minor yet painful bruises.
Cleaning spills right away is one of the easiest ways to prevent falls and FOOSH injuries. The same goes for removing clutter and sweeping debris off of the floor.
Prevent Hand Injuries With These Tips
Hand injuries aren’t only common; they’re also some of the leading causes of lost workdays. And with the ever-rising cost of living in the US, one of the last things you need is to lose pay because of a hand injury.
So, as early as today, start following all our job site safety tips to prevent and combat hand hazards.
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