Avoiding Job-Related Hand Injuries
Our hands are one of our most important assets, yet most of the time we take them for granted. Think about it. In the last few minutes, how many times have you used your hands? You’ve probably typed, texted, held a pen or rubbed your eye in the last five minutes. We use our hands multiple times a minute. Shouldn’t we take care of them? It seems like a no-brainer. But unfortunately, many employees risk their hands every day when they either forget – or choose not to – wear their gloves while working.
According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hand injuries are the second leading reason for non-fatal occupational injuries (second to back injuries) involving days away from work. This is not only terrible for the injured worker, but bad news for the employer. It could cost the company money and leave the staff short-handed (sorry about the pun.) Hand injuries can be hard to heal. They might require stitches, casts, surgery or worse; and sometimes the hand will never be the same.
BLS reports that in 2019, there were 121,000 hand injuries among private-industry jobs. The most common types of injuries were cuts, punctures and lacerations – accounting for more than 60,000 workplace hand injuries in 2017.
The workplace can present a variety of dangers such as:
- skin absorption of harmful substances
- severe cuts or lacerations
- severe abrasions
- chemical burns
- thermal burns
- harmful temperature extremes
Many of these injuries could have been avoided if the worker had been wearing the proper gloves for the task. In fact, OSHA requires Employers provide proper gloves if they are involved in a hazardous task.
General requirements. Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees' hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.
Selection. Employers shall base the selection of the appropriate hand protection on an evaluation of the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the task(s) to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.
Did you know that the non-dominant hand is the most vulnerable to injury?
Some accidents are beyond our control, but many can be avoided with simple measures.
1. Provide the Correct PPE
Make sure workers have the right type of gloves for their specific jobs. You can find gloves in every category on our bhid.com website. When selecting the type of gloves you need, consider what type of material will come in contact with hands. There are gloves specially made for handling chemicals, sharp objects, electrical, hot items, vibrating machines and objects that could crush your hands. If you’re not sure what type of glove you need, give us a call at 855-610-1001 or chat with us online.
2. Train Employees Properly
Take the time to teach workers all the ins and outs of the equipment they’ll be using. Hold safety meetings regularly to remind people about some of the basics. Even if everyone already knows the proper techniques backwards and forwards, these meetings serve as a good reminder. Think about when you board a plane. Before the plane takes off, you know you’re going to hear the drill about how to buckle your seat belt!
3. Allow open communication
Make sure workers know that they can report safety issues or concerns. Listening to a person’s concern and addressing the potential risk can mean the difference between avoiding a future accident or not.
You may also like Preventing Hand Injuries for more info on types of gloves.
For additional questions about gloves sold by BlackHawk Industrial, give us a call. We’re happy to help. Our mission is to provide innovative, value-added services and products that reduce our customer’s total cost. Feel free to contact us for more information.
10810 E. 45th St. Suite 100
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74146
Toll Free: 855-610-1001