One thing in common with each construction trade is that they all use their hands. For those who have experienced a broken hand or finger you know the frustration of losing use of that extremity. Each year over a quarter million people in the construction industry suffer serious or even disabling injuries involving the hands and fingers.
Recognition of hazards is the first key to preventing hand injuries. They can be anything from exposing your hands to pinch points during an operation, wearing rings around energized circuits or any operation that can crush the ring onto the finger or even worse the ring can get caught and then tear the finger from the hand. When working around machinery ensure all pinch point areas have guards and the guards are in proper working order. Remove all jewelry when working around equipment to prevent crushing or tearing off a finger.
Our hands are also more prone to cuts and scrapes than other parts of the body. Key points to preventing cuts are to always use the correct tool for the job and cut away from your body. If you do cut or scrape your hands, infections are a real possibility because of the dirty conditions we expose our hands. Proper first aid is the first step we should follow, specifically by keeping the wound as clean and sterile as possible. You may want to consider keeping a glove on the cut hand until the hand is properly healed, thereby not exposing it to further injury.
Chemicals can cause either burns or dermatitis. Before working with chemicals read the MSDS to find out the proper glove required for handling that chemical. Don’t rely on past experience.
Hand Protection Checklist
- Be alert to potential hand hazards and discuss & document them on the JHA/Briefing.
- Be alert to possible unguarded pinch points.
- Always use push sticks, guards, shields or other protective devices when appropriate.
- Never use your hand as a brush.
- Wear the correct glove for the task or weather condition.
- Never wear rings while working, they can be crushed or caught causing a serious injury.
- When working with chemicals, read the MSDS to ensure you are wearing the proper gloveand watch out for chemical burns and dermatitis.
- Never wear rings while working with electricity.
- If you do cut yourself, ensure you keep the wound clean to prevent infection.