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Safety First: Protecting your Hands, Wrists and Fingers from Injury

Throughout the day, your hands can come in contact with a multitude of hazards. Hand, wrist and finger injuries are among the most common ailments suffered by workers, and can be not only extremely painful, but also debilitating.

To avoid suffering from a hand, wrist or finger injury, you must recognize potential hazards and take the proper steps to avoid them.

Know the Hazards

There are many tasks and operations that present hazards to your hands.

  • Cutting tools operating at high speeds
  • Heavy machinery
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Pinch points
  • Equipment without machine guards
  • Wearing loose clothing that can get caught in a machine and pull body parts with it
  • Corrosive chemicals

Take Precautions

To avoid hand, wrist and finger injuries, consider the following precautions:

  • Develop a “safety first” attitude and take time to familiarize yourself with the hazards in your working environment.
  • Concentrate on the task at hand, and avoid distractions.
  • Use common sense, and remain alert for unexpected problems.

Pick PPE Wisely

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to shield your body from hazards. Since the hands, wrists and fingers are so susceptible to injuries, there are many varieties of PPE to choose from.

  • Select gloves that are appropriate for the task at hand. Make sure they are long enough to cover your wrists and fit correctly. Gloves that are too big can get caught in machinery; however, gloves that are too small can wear out easily.
  • Leather gloves provide protection from bruises, cuts and minor burns. Cut-resistant gloves offer shielding from sharp-edged tools. Heat-resistant gloves offer protection against burns. Rubber, vinyl or neoprene gloves shield hands from corrosive materials.
  • Barrier creams applied to the skin provide an invisible protective coating against minor irritations.
  • Guards or hand pads protect against heat and abrasive materials.
  • Finger guards protect against pinch hazards.