Getting a HANDle on work-related hand injuries
The hand is one of the most complex parts of your body. It enables you to execute simple or complex jobs that cannot be performed by any other part of the body. Without your hands, it would be extremely difficult to do even those routine tasks that we take for granted every day.
More than 90 percent of all acute injuries in the workplace are caused by human error, not equipment failure.Of the 3.6 million work-related injuries treated annually in emergency rooms across the U.S., hands and fingers are the most commonly treated body parts, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Preventing work-related hand injuries requires a corporate and management commitment to safety and a safety program that actively engages employees and addresses all potential hazards.
Removing hazards from the work area, introducing ergonomically sound work rules, initiating team efforts between workers and senior management, implementing safety education and behavioral changes are the keys to preventing hand injuries. Gloves should be seen as a temporary solution until hazards are removed. And even then, gloves should be the last defense against hazards after all safety measures have been taken. When gloves are necessary, they should be selected carefully and used properly.
Involving workers in minimizing hazards is critical. They know the equipment, tools, procedures, and demands of the job and are more likely to buy in to a safety measure that they helped determine and believe will work. Without their input and involvement, a safety program will not be successful. Also, anyone who might come in contact with the machine (hazards) should be involved in deciding how to safeguard workers from the hazards.