Get a Handle on Hand Safety

Published on August 1, 2019

The hand is one of the most complex parts of the body – the movement of the tendons, bones, tissues, and nerves allows you to do a wide variety of complex jobs. Your hands allow you to perform efficiently at your job, to hold hands with your loved ones, even just to tie your shoes. After an injury, the motion, dexterity, and grip can be irreparably damaged so the hand never functions the same again.

How Do Hand Injuries Happen?

  • The hand is the leading body part injured at work and treated in hospital emergency departments, with hand injuries sending more than 1 million workers to the emergency room annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Hand injuries are likely when the wrong tool is used or the right tool is used improperly.
  • Injuries to the hands often happen when the materials being used or the job process is hazardous.
  • If hand tools or powered hand tools are faulty or improperly used, hand injuries frequently occur.

Most Common Hand Injury Causes

  • Lack of Proper Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Lack of awareness
  • Lack of training

Hand Injury Prevention

  • Wear the appropriate PPE at all times. (There are a multitude of glove / protection options, specific to the job performed.)
  • Know the hazards and dangers of the job at hand.
  • Be aware of pinch points.
  • Be aware of hot areas.
  • Be aware of rotating or moving surfaces.
  • Automated machinery may be controlled by remote control, or delayed timing devices that cause the machine to start automatically.
  • Loose clothing and jewelry may be caught up in moving machinery.
  • Never remove machine safeguards or operate machinery with safeguards removed.

For more information, read Fits Like a Glove: Protecting the Hands of Construction Workers and Hand Protection Beyond the Glove.