Keeping our hands safe should be a no-brainer, but we often put our digits at risk when it’s as simple as wearing the proper hand protection to ensure we’re safe on the job site. (Learn more in Better Safety: Hand Protection.)
When worn, hand protection guards our hands from exposure to hazardous conditions, like sharp edges, pinch points, rotary machinery, hot objects, electricity, splinters and hazardous chemicals. When not protected, our hands are extremely vulnerable to these hazards and the injuries sustained may last a lifetime.
Wearing protective equipment should be your team's first priority and a standard safety routine, but are you and your employees using the right hand protection for high risk work conditions?
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What Are the Most Common Types of Hand Injuries?
A traumatic hand injury occurs when our hands and fingers get caught, pinched or crushed in chains, wheels, rollers, or gears of various machinery and suffer from cuts to the skin, tendons, blood vessels and nerves, skin punctures, pricks, abrasion, irritation, bones fractures and sprains.
Contact or permeation injury
A contact injury occurs when our hands get contact with corrosive materials, solvents, acids, detergents, flammable liquids and other substances and permeated through the skin. This can cause chemical burns or injure tissues, skin irritations, allergic contact dermatitis, major organ damage, carcinogenic effects etc.
Repetitive motion injury
We experience repetitive motion injuries when certain jobs demand repeated, rapid hand movements for long stretches of time. Most of these injuries are musculoskeletal disorders.
Our hands are at risk to thermal injury when working near high temperatures of the equipment or fire while handling hot parts, thermoplastics molds, welding-cutting, foundry works, thermoforming, removing food from ovens etc.
Thermal injury occurs in the form of burns, dermatitis, frostbite and blisters, etc.
To protect our hands against these injuries we should always practice best safety methods, like:
- Perform a risk assessment.
- Follow user manual and product labels.
- Use appropriate gloves (for different hand types, sizes and shapes), plus PPE or barrier creams.
- Avoid using finger rings or bracelets and watches.
- Change our grips, hand positions or motions.
- Give our hands a break.
- Use machine guards and safety devices etc at all the times.
- Lockout and switch off equipment and machines those are not in use.
- Wash hands when in contact with corrosive chemicals or as appropriate.
How Do I Choose the Right Hand Protection?
Choosing the proper hand protection is crucial to keeping your hands safe. By taking the time to research your options, you can greatly lower your lost time injury frequency rate, plus reinforcing safety awareness lowers downtime and workers’ compensation costs, while improving your team morale.
Get started with 12 Types of Hand Protection Gloves (and How to Choose the Right One).