Thumb Shield

Published: | Updated: November 29, 2019

Definition - What does Thumb Shield mean?

Thumb shields, also referred to as thumb guards, are a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect individuals from harm caused by excessive exposure to friction on the skin of their thumbs and surrounding areas. They are generally used by individuals who engage in a task requiring them to maintain a hand grip around an object for an extended period.

As a gripped object moves around in a worker’s hand, the object will rub against the worker’s skin, potentially causing irritation and blisters. The use of a thumb shield protects against this issue by preventing direct exposure between the object and the skin around the worker’s thumb. Many thumb guards used in occupational settings are made with anti-abrasive material.

Safeopedia explains Thumb Shield

Thumb shields are a type of hazard control used to prevent harm due to ergonomic-related injuries resulting from improper or extended gripping of a tool or other object. They may protect only the thumb, or they may include the area at the base of the thumb, as well as the skin between the thumb and forefinger (the purlicue).

A thumb guard may be a discrete item that only protects the skin of the thumb and potentially its adjoining areas. However, as thumb guards are often used to protect workers handling tools or other items requiring the use of protective gloves, it is not uncommon for a thumb guard to be integrated directly into the glove as a patch of material designed to prevent the worker from exposure to friction in the thumb area.

In some jurisdictions, the term "thumb guard" may describe a blade guard used to protect against accidental cuts from a saw blade, knife, or other piece of cutting equipment, as well as to protect against punctures due to the use of equipment such as sewing machines. The typical name for this type of guard is the “finger guard.” However, the term “thumb guard” is sometimes used for guards that protect against equipment that poses a more significant risk to the thumb than to other fingers.

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