Of the many tools that we have available, our hands are the most valuable. They provide us with the dexterity necessary to perform precise maneuvers that even the most advanced technology cannot replicate. Even the simplest tasks are difficult for a person that does not have full use of his or her hands. All too often we see claims that involve the hands of an employee getting cut, burned or fingers amputated. Many everyday tasks at the workplace put your hands at risk. Hand injuries on the job are quite common, but most are preventable. There are many things you can do to keep your hands safe, and here are a few of the most common.
Make Use of Machine Guards
Never operate machinery that does not have a working guard to protect your hands. Always use a lockout device on machinery when you have to reach into it for any reason. Immediately replace guards when you remove them. When safety guards are missing from machinery, hands, fingers and arms can easily be caught, amputated or crushed.
Always protect your hands by wearing work gloves when handling rough materials or performing operations where you are using your hands to lift or move objects. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) study revealed that 70 percent of workers experiencing hand injuries were not wearing gloves. The remaining 30 percent were making use of damaged, inadequate or inappropriate types of gloves for the job. Choose the right gloves for the task and inspect them thoroughly before use.
Be Cautious of Sharp Objects
Utilize the correct safety procedures when handling knives, box cutters and other sharp objects. Never attempt to pick up broken glass, nails or other sharp objects not meant for handling with bare hands; always use appropriate gloves or a broom.
No matter how much sentimental value they carry, rings put your hands in grave danger on the job. They can very easily catch on machinery and other objects, resulting in lacerations, amputations or broken bones. Always remove rings before beginning work.
Stay Alert for Pinch Points
When using your hands to move an object, whether it is on a hand truck or you are carrying it, be sure your path is wide enough for you to move through safely before you start the job. When you set a heavy object down, be aware of the placement of your hands. Always be alert for possible pinch points.
If you are unsure about the type of gloves to wear to adequately protect yourself, or if you have any other issues regarding the protection of your hands on the job, talk to your supervisor. Your safety is your company’s first priority.
SOURCE: Zywave, Inc.