It has been estimated that almost 20% of all disabling accidents on the job involve the hands. Without your fingers or hands, your ability to work and play would be greatly reduced. Human hands are unique. No other creature in the world has hands that can grasp, hold, move, and manipulate objects like human hands. They are one of your greatest assets. And, as such, must be protected and cared for. Why Hand Protection is Important Take a moment to hold your hands out in front of you. Look at them. They are the only two hands you will ever have. Now try clapping with one hand !!
Why Focus on Hands? Your hands are the nearest bodily interface to the task you are doing The difference between a Hand Injury LTI and a First Aid Case can be quantified as time and distance ( Milliseconds, Millimetres)
Some typical Hand & Finger Incidents Cut finger on sharp edge when tightening hose fitting Injured party fell whilst descending stairs sustained bruising to left ring finger Stripping insulating material cut finger Selecting a sheet of metal, hand slipped causing laceration requiring 2 stitches Spark from welding caused nearby material to ignite causing burn to 3 fingers Wedding ring finger snagged finger amputated
Reported Hand Injury Contributory Factors Hand and powered tools Vibration Crushing/Pinch Points Dropped Objects Struck by moving parts Contact with Substances Slips, Trips & Falls Temperature extremes Electricity Entanglement Jewellery Sharp objects
Tools and machines with sharp edges can cut your hands. Staples, screwdrivers, nails, chisels, and stiff wire can puncture your hands. Getting your hands caught in machinery can sprain, crush, or remove your hand or fingers (especially when wearing jewellery at work). Traumatic Injuries You can suffer a traumatic injury to your hands in many ways.
WARNING: Toxic substances are poisonous substances that can be absorbed through your skin and enter your body. Contact Injuries Coming into contact with caustic or toxic chemicals, biological substances, electrical sources, or extremely cold or hot objects can irritate or burn your hands.
Whenever you repeat the same hand movement over a long period of time, you run the risk of repetitive motion problems Repetitive motion problems often appear as a numbness or tingling sensation accompanied by pain and the loss of gripping power in your hands. Repetitive Motion Injuries If you start having these symptoms, take a break. Also, simple hand exercises such as flexing the wrist and stretching the fingers will help. If the problem persists, talk with your Supervisor or consult the Doctor/Nurse.
Housekeeping and Hygiene Poorly maintained machinery, tools, sloppy work areas, and cluttered aisles all contribute to hand injuries. Good hygiene includes hand washing. Hand washing helps to remove germs and dirt from your hands. Clean hands are less susceptible to infection and other skin problems such as contact dermatitis. Preventative Measures
Personal Protective Equipment Gloves There are many type of gloves that are designed to protect your hands. Metal mesh gloves resist sharp edges and prevent cuts. Leather gloves shield your hands from rough surfaces. Vinyl and neoprene gloves protect your hands against toxic chemicals. Rubber gloves protect you when working around electricity.
If in doubt talk with your supervisor or HSE Advisor about the type of glove you should be using on your job. Personal Protective Equipment Padded cloth gloves protect your hands from sharp edges, slivers, dirt, and vibration. Heat resistant gloves protect your hands from heat and flames. Latex disposable gloves are used to protect your hands from germs, bacteria and dermatitis. Lead-lined gloves are used to protect your hands from radiation sources.
Select and use the right kind of glove for the job you are going to do. Select gloves that fit. Assess the risk any rings, watches, or bracelets that might cut/ tear your gloves or snag the wearer`s hand / fingers. Wash your hands before and after wearing your gloves. Inspect your gloves before you use them. Look for tears, holes or cracks that might leak. Replace gloves that are worn or torn. Look after your gloves and they will look after you Wearing and Using Gloves: Must Do`s
Some gloves may be chemical specified and have a life expectancy. Discard them after the recommended time has expired. After working with chemicals, hold your gloved hands under running water to rinse away any chemicals or dirt before removing the gloves. Wash cotton gloves as needed. Avoid borrowing gloves. Gloves are Personal Protective Equipment. (PPE) Store gloves right side out in a clean, cool, dry, ventilated area. Never wear gloves around powered rotating equipment - drills, lathes, etc. Wearing and Using Gloves: Must Do`s
The following types of gloves are available Vinyl disposable gloves. For food preparation or laboratory work. Hide Leather faced Rigger Gloves Porous NBR Fully Coated Knit Wrist Edge Gloves Kevlar Cut Resist Gloves with polka dot grips Black Rubber Gauntlets for chemical use Kevlar Cut Resist Gloves NBR (Nitrile Buna Rubber) impregnated Rigger Gloves
MATCH THE GLOVE TO THE HAZARD ASSESS THE RISK Look for these commonly used pictograms they will help you decide
Water Repellent Creams are used to protect your hands from caustic chemicals. Solvent-Repellent Creams are used to protect your hands from solvents, oils, and other organic chemicals. Sunscreens protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Vanishing Creams protect your skin against mild acids, and make cleaning up easier. WARNING: Never substitute a barrier cream when you should use gloves. Other Protective Measures Barrier Creams
Your hands are one of your greatest assets. Remember! PROTECT THEM !
Discussion Point Take 10 to 15 minutes to discuss what the potential Hazards to hand’s are and any measures to reduce the Risk.
What can we do? Everyone in the field exposes their hands to risk of injury. We need to eliminate the hazard or reduce the risk to As Low As Reasonably Practical (ALARP) Assess the risk Permit To Work Task Risk Assessment Review Procedures Personal Risk Awareness SHOC Data Sheets
Taking Personal Control of your Hand Health and Safety Take time out, and take a fresh look at your procedures. Think about how you can injure your hands Think “what if” and be aware of the hazards and the risk of injury Consider the human factors including physical capabilities, competency and training Take stock of the task, environment, weather and plan your task to suit Ensure equipment and tools are fit for purpose. Use the correct Hand PPE, but remember PPE is a last resort, it only protects when all else has failed. Take Hand Safety home with you..
………. And Finally! Don’t take a gamble, Plan your task, follow procedure and be aware of where your hands are in relation to the hazards. P.S. This Applies to you too !!!! to you too !!!!