Why is Hand Safety important to consider?
We use our hands every day. To prevent an accident we need to understand the need for hand safety and what the hand hazards to reduce risk and prevent accidents.
- 1/3 of all oil and gas industry accidents are hand injuries.
- 23% of all workplace injuries involve hands and/or fingers.
- ~70% of accidents were from not wearing gloves or the gloves not providing adequate protection.
Our hands are often at greatest risk because they are doing the job. So let’s look briefly at some hazards and methods of prevention.
What Causes Hand Injuries?
There are many potential causes of injury to the hands. Many workers do not wear or wear the wrong PPE for the job. Using faulty equipment, or misusing the equipment and removing guards can increase the risk of injury.
One of the most common causes of hand injury is the worker his/herself. While working, the worker can become bored, distracted or simply not pay attention to the the specific task.
The types of hand hazards can be:
- Extreme temperatures
- Chemical absorption or burns
How Do We Prevent Accidents?
Sometimes we may feel that hand injuries are inevitable. But that is NEVER the case. Big and small, there many different controls and safe work practices we can implement to protect our hands and reduce risk. Often just a few steps, a few changes can significantly reduce the likelihood of an accident.
- Complete a hazard assessment prior to beginning work to see what hazards are present and how to control them.
- Wear the correct protective equipment based on the hazards.
- Gloves are not one type fits all jobs. Wear the right glove for the job.
- Inspect all tools and equipment before using them. If they are not in safe working condition, do NOT use them.
- Be sure to stay focused on the task at hand and be alert for potential dangers.
We also want to use caution when working:
- Near or with rotating or moving parts.
- With machinery or parts that heat up.
- In areas with hazards that could crush hands and/or fingers.