Although hand injuries preventable, it has the most number of incidence in the workplace.
The hands and wrists are composed of a complex system of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and skin layers. This makes the hand valuable but also makes it vulnerable that even a small cut causes difficulty in doing a variety of tasks.
The most effective way of preventing hand injuries is being aware of hazards, particularly in the workplace where hand injuries are prevalent.
These include hazards from tools, equipment, machines, structures and vehicles.
Heat and Cold
Hands are prone to burns caused by extreme temperatures of either hot or cold. Hands and fingers also become numb at negative 15 degrees celsius.
Unprotected hands could become at risk to infectious microbes such as tetanus or hepatitis C.
Types of Injuries and Prevention
Below are the various types of hand injuries and the proper measures to take in managing them.
Cuts occur when a skin comes in contact with sharp edges or jagged edges either from tools, equipment or surfaces.
– Wear the appropriate gloves in accordance to the work being done, e.g. metal mesh gloves for cutting meat
– When handing over a sharp tool, pass the handle side first to the other person.
– Use suction cups, magnetic pads or grips when carrying metal or glass sheeting.
– Use a push stick when feeding rotary ot operating machines
– Use extreme caution when operating machinery by positioning hands carefully
– Keep hands off from machines that are turned on.
A burn is an injury to the skin caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, friction or radiation. Severity of burns are classified as:
– First degree affects only the superficial skin
– Second degree affects some of the underlying layers
– Third degree burns extend to all layers of the skin
– Fourth degree involves injury to deeper tissues like muscle or bone
– Use the appropriate gloves for the job and the temperature involved
– Allow hot surfaces to cool before handling them
– Insulate tool handles
A puncture is a wound caused by sharp objects like nails or needle piercing the skin and deep tissues.
– Keep the work area free from all debris and scrap materials
– Use the appropriate tool for the job
– Wear proper hand protection
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