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Toolbox Tuesday: Protect your hands and fingers


Hand and finger injuries are big risks for workers in mining and construction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are 110,000 lost time hand injuries a year; in addition, hand injuries send more than one million workers to the emergency room each year. Causes of hand injuries are numerous:

  1. Punctures, cuts or lacerations

  2. Crushing injuries

  3. Fractures

  4. Amputations

  5. Strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries

  6. Burns

  7. Dermatitis and other skin disorders from exposure to harsh chemicals

Preventing hand and finger injuries Preventing hand and finger injuries takes more than simply wearing gloves when you're working. Here are some valuable tips to help you protect your precious hands and fingers:

  1. Be aware of pinch points. chains, gears, rollers, wheels and transmission belts.

  2. If machinery can be shut down prior to you working on it, do it. Turn off and lock out any electrical equipment.

  3. If repair work requires you to remove guards, be sure to replace them when you're done. The guarding is there to protect hands and fingers from dangerous areas.

  4. Inspect your tools to to make sure they are in proper working order before beginning a task. Worn or partially broken tools can be dangerous to use.

  5. Position hands carefully so fingers won't get caught. Keep hands and fingers away from sharp edges (blades, protruding nails, etc.).

  6. Feed rotary or operating machines with a push stick. Never cut toward the palm of your hand.

  7. Know how to handle the tools and equipment you work with. Don't take shortcuts. Know where the emergency shutoff switch is for the tool you're using - before you start using it!

  8. If the work being performed requires gloves, use them. Gloves offer protection from sharp objects, wood and metal splinters, acids, electrical burns, chemicals, and many other sources of injury.

  9. Wear gloves that are properly sized for your hands and appropriate for the job at hand. Not all gloves protect against all hazards. Be especially careful when handling corrosive chemicals, which can eat through conventional work gloves.

  10. Remove all rings before you begin to work. If the ring is forced off your finger or breaks, it can tear flesh from your finger or amputate it.Interested in related products? See: our Brush/Wood Chipper Equipment Checklist

Sources:

  1. 180 Safety Talks for Supervisors from the Colorado Contractors Association

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