Working a labor-intensive job naturally results in injuries and accidents. Human error is a common occurrence, no matter how skilled or practiced a worker is in their designated field. It doesn’t mean that the injured worker isn’t competent at their occupation; it’s more related to distractions, complacency, and incorrect estimation. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prevent as many injuries as possible.
Stopping dangerous habits in their tracks will dramatically improve work efficiency and awareness in the workplace. Taking safety seriously will result in fewer injuries and workplace accidents over time. So, here are some essential hand safety tips and injury prevention knowledge every worker should be aware of.
Hand Safety Tips for the Workplace
One of the first essential hand safety tips and injury prevention recommendation is to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment on the job. It increases safety and workplace efficiency without wearing the user down. Having gloves that offer heat and cut resistance will protect against burns and flammable surfaces while reducing puncture injuries. Additionally, your work gloves should also have non-conductive properties and chemical protection. Thicker gloves will protect against electricity-related injuries, while gloves made with neoprene, nitrile, latex, and vinyl will offer chemical protection.
Understanding solid safety training, engineering, and administration controls will ensure safety in high-risk workplace environments. Placing physical safety guards in machines will reduce hand injuries and have rules and regulations to make everyone aware of safety measures. Lastly, having necessary safety trainings will allow workers to take appropriate action in emergencies.
Most Common Hand-Related Injuries
Your hands do many things for you in your everyday life. Swiping through your phone, writing with a pencil, holding a ball—your hands are part of your necessary functions to do simple things. So, hand injuries are amongst the most common work-related injuries in labor-intensive industrial jobs. Understanding what kind of injuries can occur will make you more aware of the risks surrounding your everyday work environment.
The most common types of injuries you can become inflicted with are punctures, crushed hands, lacerations, detachments, Carpal Tunnel, and Raynaud’s Disease. The best prevention is through remaining aware of potential injuries.
A common occupational hazard to your hands is from them getting crushed. Whether it came from a heavy object or an object falling at high speed, it can deliver devastating pain and injuries. Severe swelling will shortly follow, having your bones getting broken in the process. There’s also a chance of you hearing a cracking or snapping sound when it occurs.
After a harsh impact, some symptoms you may experience can range between weakness, loss of motion, tingling, numbness, and cramping in your hand. So, it’s necessary to have a pair of high-impact gloves and to have a more extensive awareness of your surroundings.
Some people assume that getting poked by something isn’t as serious as it should be. Puncture wounds are often more severe than cuts or lacerations due to the depth of injury. Even more so, puncture injuries are also more prone to infection and often come from contact with nail guns. It can happen with accidental nail discharge while squeezing the trigger, ricochet, and penetration through workpieces.
So, having puncture-resistant gloves will reduce the chances of puncture-related injuries in the future. Additionally, proper training with a nail gun and knowing the actions to take for puncture injuries will save you some stress and fear if an accident occurs.
Lacerations result from deep cuts or tears in the flesh, exposing the elements and environment. Many situations involving lacerations can get treated quickly, but there are times when you can experience nerve or tendon damage from a deep cut. Recovery time is necessary to prevent bacterial infection and the reopening of wounds, so it’s essential to receive proper treatment for the injury.
Lacerations occur based on improper training, lack of established safety procedures, shortcuts, failure to wear safety gear, and improperly adjusted guarding equipment. Some steps to take to prevent laceration injuries are to keep the work area clear, replace dull blades on the equipment being used, and wear protective gear on your body.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Simply put, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is due to pressure being applied to the median nerve of the arm. The carpal tunnel itself is a narrow passageway surrounded by ligaments and bones on the palm side of your hand. Under compression, symptoms consist of numbness, tingling, and weakness throughout the hand and arm. The cause can come from anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space, especially vibrating tools and repetitive flexing.
Therefore, you must understand prevention methods to reduce the chance of permanent damage. Simple adjustments such as improving your posture, taking short stretch breaks, and relaxing your grip can do wonders. Lastly, make sure you have anti-vibration work gloves to reduce nerve damage.
Detachments can be one of the scariest experiences you can have while on the job. In medical terms, avulsions involve the surface layers of the skin getting peeled away from the rest of your affected body part. A structure containing muscles and tendons gets pulled in the opposite direction of the tissues, tendons, muscles, and bone beneath the skin. It’s also common for nerve damage to come from an avulsion, making a recovery and repair tricky.
While thinking about it can feel terrifying, experiencing it is a whole different story. So, taking the necessary steps to prevent an avulsion is crucial. Wearing appropriate work gloves to protect your hands from heat or chemical-related injuries reduce the risk of avulsion. Overall, gloves need to remain worn the entire time you work.
There’s a chance of experiencing Raynaud’s Disease when it comes to cold and stressful environments. This is when areas of the body, such as toes and fingers, beginning to feel numb in response to cold temperatures. Smaller arteries that supply blood to the skin become narrow, limiting the flow of blood. Primary Raynaud’s, a mild disease that resolves on its own, and secondary Raynaud’s, which appears over the age of 40, have more severe symptoms.
Make sure that you bundle up in the wintertime while working outside. It’s vital that you wear cold-resistant or insulated gloves that keep your hands warm and functional. Lastly, keep yourself fed and hydrated to keep your body at an optimal temperature.