You work with tools. That means, on a daily basis, you take your livelihood in your hands…literally. If something goes wrong, you could severely injure your hands, leading to career-altering damage. That makes it crucial to take every precaution necessary to protect your hands.
We know. You already take the necessary safety precautions. Therefore, there’s no reason to go over them here, right? Well, that’s not always true.
A government study from 2015 showed that hands represented the second most common workplace injury, behind only back injuries. The data, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recorded 143,900 hand injuries for the year, leading to an incidence rate of 13%. That’s a lot of people who thought they were safe, but still ended up with injuries.
True, these hand injuries tended to be relatively minor. The stats showed that these incidents led to 5 median days away from work (compared to 16 days for a knee injury, or 23 days for a shoulder issue). Still, that’s a week off of work. And those figures only show the median number of days missed. Hand and finger injuries can be much worse, including potentially losing a limb.
With that in mind, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using either hand or power tools. They can serve as a good reminder, whether you’re a new employee or a seasoned veteran who may have drifted away from good habits.
Check the Tools
Make sure your tools are in good working order. Worn out or obsolete tools can represent a major safety hazard. If something fails while you are holding it, it can lead to a major injury. Avoid this by checking your tools before you launch into a task.
Use the Right Tool
It’s sometimes tempting to cut corners. Rather than get the proper tool for the job, you try to improvise with a tool you have handy. “A+” for ingenuity. “F” for safety. Use the proper tool necessary for the job at hand. At the same time, only operate tools in the way they were meant to be used.
Wear the Appropriate Safety Gear
No one plans on having an accident. (That’s why they’re called “accidents.”) However, these incidents can happen, even if you take painstaking precautions. If they do, you want to be protected.
Take steps to minimize the damage when something unexpected occurs. In other words, wear the right PPE. It’s like clicking your seatbelt before you drive. If an accident happens, you limit the damage. For your hands, this gear might include items like leather gloves and barrier creams.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
You can do everything right and still run into a dangerous situation. Your environment matters, as well. This includes your coworkers. They can accidentally jostle you, leading to an accident. Or they can distract you in a way that can make an injury more likely.
You can’t control what other people will do, and you can’t always dictate your surroundings (especially if you’re working on a project outdoors). However, you can remain aware of what’s going on around you and take steps to minimize risks.
Join a Safe Team
Your safety should be a top priority for both you and your employer. Being part of a team that values your health and well-being can make a big difference in your working life. A top-flight recruiter, like LaborMAX, can find those situations for you. Contact LaborMax Staffing today to locate the ideal employer for you.