In the safety world, we hear a lot of scary statistics like the 4,836 workers killed on the job in 2015. From there, the focus of safety discussions largely keys in on bigger issues in preventing workplace fatalities and other serious, non-fatal injuries.
In the ever-so-stylish wardrobe of safety workwear, we talk of helmets, ear protection, and high visibility reflective pants, jackets, fluorescent vests, and other accessories. It turns out we don’t talk much about a tool we use more than any: our hands. Your reflective pants and orange safety vest aren’t doing much to protect your hands, so let’s look into some hand hazards that’ll give you ample reason to glove up and take care of your digits.
The usual suspects
Cuts, bruises, nicks, scratches, scrapes, and any number of the little pains your hands bear on a daily basis. What these seemingly minor bumps cause is steadily weakened hands, which, over time, will begin to lose the power they once had. Untreated, these minor mishaps can develop into serious injuries and infections that can be altogether avoided by proper hand protection.
An offshoot of the usual suspects, burns have to be treated with a special level of respect. Thermal, electrical, and chemical burns have devastating power and often cause permanent damage. Both superficial harm and internal nerve damage from burns isn’t something to risk when your gloves can withstand the brunt of a burn.
Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are a fact of many jobs. Jobs with both high and low physical intensity are prone to repetitive strain. People in offices develop carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritic wrists/fingers from excessive typing. People using their hands, say, chainsawing develop arm and hand injuries from constant vibration and grip. Hands are some of the most commonly afflicted body parts in RSIs. It’s important that if you’re part of a job that does repetitive motions to take breaks to stretch and relieve that strain.
Keep your whole body safe while working and future you will thank present you. Your hands are used for so many things that they can often go under the radar when it comes to consistent care and safety. Don’t neglect them and it’ll be one of the best body choices you’ll make, hands down.