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Quick show of hands: how often do you and your safety team have to deal with avoidable hand injuries?
We use our hands for almost every task, so it’s easy to neglect hand safety. But without our hands, we’re suddenly unable to do so many things we take for granted. For employees, that can be a serious detriment to their job performance.
Here’s the thing: most hand injuries are preventable, if only we were paying attention. Here are a few handy hand protection safety tips to keep your workers safe.
Most of the time, we forget that our hands also have muscles that need stretching and strengthening. But when you think about it, we use our hands for everything, which means the muscles in our hands are always working, and they get the least love for their trouble.
Plus, the strength of your hands is more important than you realize. Grip strength is actually a strong predictor of muscular endurance and overall strength. And if you can’t grip something without feeling like your fingers will break off, it won’t matter how strong your biceps are–you won’t be able to lift safely.
On the flipside, if your hands aren’t flexible, your strength won’t do you much good. If anything, it’s more likely to cause you pain than anything else.
Fortunately, exercising your hands is way easier than trekking to the gym. You can even do it while you’re grabbing coffee in the breakroom!
We use our hands for almost every task. It only makes sense that we should keep the right PPE close at hand (see what we did there).
Wearing gloves is non-negotiable when it comes to hand safety. Just make sure you’re wearing the right ones. Gloves that protect your hands from chemicals, for example, are totally different from heat-resistant gloves.
Beyond keeping task-appropriate gloves handy, you should also make sure those gloves fit. The old saying “fits like a glove,” comes to mind. One of the biggest reasons workers avoid gloves is because they’re uncomfortable and impair dexterity, making it difficult to do their jobs.
If you want to protect your employees, you have to provide them with gloves that are genuinely useful.
Finally, don’t forget to promote a bit of common sense.
For example, remind workers to be aware of where both hands are placed while they’re working, especially when working around machinery. You can illustrate this point in a safety meeting with a funny story or a hands-on demonstration.
Regardless, keep in mind that routine tasks are often the most dangerous, simply because we assume that we know how to do them and switch into autopilot. And because we use our hands for everything, this often means reaching somewhere we shouldn’t.
You’ve got to hand it to humans: we’ve evolved to be quite adaptable with our hands. And that’s part of the problem. We’re so accustomed to using our hands for everything that we fail to think about safety risks.
Don’t let your workers suffer the consequences. Make sure to check out our blog for more great hand protection safety tips to prevent and treat work-related hand injuries.
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