Preventing Hand and Finger Injuries at Work

Preventing Hand and Finger Injuries at Work

How Important are your Hands?

Here’s a quick exercise to find the answer to this question – Tuck in your thumbs into the palms of your hands. Now, try picking up a spoon or tying your shoe laces. Difficult isn’t it?

The hand is one of the most important parts of the human body – the movement of the bones, tendons, nerves, muscles, and tissues lets you grip things and do a wide variety of daily jobs. Without your hands, even the simplest daily tasks like – opening doors, holding a pen, typing on your phone, eating, becomes extremely difficult.

Injuries to your Hands can impact both your Professional and Personal Lives.

Your hands are what makes you skilled at work in your workplace. Here, in today’s post, you can find all that you need to know about preventing your hands and fingers from injuries at work. Hand safety is knowing all the risks at the workplace and being aware of the smart ways to prevent them.

Here’s our complete guide to protecting your hands and fingers at work.

Why Hand Injuries Matter Most?

Very often, hand injuries at the workplace are one of the main reasons why workers end up in the emergency room. Whether it’s a minor injury like a burn on the skin, an allergic reaction or something major like losing a finger, nervous problems in the hands and fingers – an injury to the hand impacts your daily life as well as the quality of your work at the workplace.

Serious hand injuries keep you from being productive at work. The worst-case scenario here is that you could end up losing your career and the injury can impact the overall quality of your life.

Reasons why Hand Injuries occur at Work

Simply put,

“Hand Injuries are a Result of Working with the Wrong Tools or Improper Handling of the Right Tools.”

Take some time to reflect on this: how many times have you touched a surface only to realize later that it’s blazing hot? Have you ever felt pain in your hands and arms because you gripped a tool the wrong way? Alternatively, you twisted your wrist while working? Have you had a frightening experience, where you came close to getting your hand or finger caught and crushed by the tools you were using at work? Have you had your skin burn due to contact with dangerous chemicals at work?

If you answer Yes, to any one of the questions listed above, then consider yourself lucky. You may not be so fortunate the next time.

Human Error – The No.1 Reason for Hand Injuries at Work

Yes, that’s right. The major reason for hand injuries in the workplace is not lack of the right protective gear, faulty machines or more. The number one reason is – Personal mistakes.

This doesn’t mean workers are incompetent. Even the most experienced and skilled workers are vulnerable to hand related injuries. This is because humans tend to become complacent and distracted while doing the job.

Top Hazards that your Hands Face at the Workplace

  1. Amputations, crushes or fractures that occur because of contact with rollers, wheels, belts, falling objects, etc.
  2. Lacerations, cuts, punctures that occur due to contact with sharp, jagged or spiked edges on tools and other equipments at work.
  3. Sprains, strains, musculoskeletal injuries causing by using the wrong tool for the job. Any tool that’s too big, heavy or small for your hand is the wrong tool for you.
  4. Burns caused as a result of contact with hazardous chemicals or hot surfaces at work.
  5. Dermatitis and other skin disorders due to contact with chemicals at work.

Preventing Hand Injuries at Work is Possible with the Right Guidance

The first and foremost way to ensure that your hands and fingers are protected at work is by establishing safe working practices in the premises. Make sure that you provide all your workers with the right protective gloves and the correct tools for a particular job. You may have safety protocols at work. But, if you don’t use it or follow them, then they are of no use.

Here are a few Practical Tips to keep your Hands and Fingers Safe at Work

  • Don’t get Distracted – Make sure that the workplace especially factory floors and other areas where workers work with heavy machinery and sharp tools are distraction free. Get your employees to stay focused and alert on the job at hand. Remember that remaining alert is essential throughout the job and not just at the beginning.
  • Don’t take shortcuts with Safety – Always instruct your employees to wear protective equipment at all times, attach safety guards to machinery and replace power tools in the right place immediately after work.
  • The right tool for the right job – Always use only the right tools and equipment for a particular job. Also, while using tools make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Understand your Tools – Train employees to have accurate knowledge about the working of tools and equipment. Make sure that you know how to handle them, identify the safety features on each tool and more. Also, do a visual check of tools – check if they are in proper condition, before you start using them.
  • Size Matters – Always choose hand tools that are ergonomic to use. This means they should come with features like anti-slip grips, anti-vibration handles, low weight and more. Learn the right method to hold tools so that you avoid strains and fractures.
  • Don’t Stray to the Edge – Keep your fingers and hands away from sharp objects like nails, blades, etc.
  • Let Fashion remain in your Locker – Before you get into the workplace, make sure to remove rings and other loose clothing that could get caught in a moving part.
  • And, always Glove up – Make sure that all employees have the right sized gloves. Moreover, it doesn’t just stop with having gloves. You have to ensure that all employees wear protective gloves at all times. There are several gloves for various purposes like – cut protection, thermal protection, chemical protection, general handling. Make sure that you provide employees with the right gloves based on the nature of their job.
  • Finally, Don’t play handball with Danger – Do not place your hands and fingers near moving parts of an equipment or heavy machinery, assuming that you’re in control. Never take your hand safety for granted at the workplace.

The Last Word – Your Hands are Amazing, Take Care of Them

The human hand is an incredible piece of machinery that does almost everything. So, make sure that you keep it safe with the tips listed here.

For customized workplace safety training sessions, get in touch with our safety team here at Totalika.

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