Tool-Box Talk: “Take Care of Your Hands”

No matter what your job is, your hands are the main point of contact between you and your work. Perhaps this is why hand injuries are a leading cause of job related disabilities. It’s very easy to forget that your hands need careful attention if they are to go on serving you as the powerful precision tools that they are now.

No matter what we’re doing, we generally use our hands all the time. Because we use our hands so often, our hands can be cut, bruised, punctured, fractured and burned. This can occur during the course of work, at home, and during recreation. By recognizing hazards, using personal protective equipment and following established safety rules and procedures, you can save your hands from injury and yourself from an unnecessary disability.

It only takes a small distraction when using a tool or piece of equipment to lose concentration. Focus on what you are doing and don’t let yourself become distracted. When engaged in an activity involving tools or equipment, don’t talk to anyone until you’re done & don’t interrupt your co-workers when they are involved in an activity that demands their full attention. Never become distracted by other things going on around you.

Before you start a job, take a minute to think through the task. Ask yourself:

  • What hazards are involved? (chemical, thermal, mechanical, pinch points)
  • What's the worse thing that can happen?
  • What precautions need to be taken? (gloves, tools, push stick)

Then follow through without taking shortcuts.

The following guidelines can help you protect your hands from injury and disability:

Hand Protection Checklist

  • Be alert to potential hand hazards before an accident can happen.
  • Be alert to possible unguarded pinch points.
  • Use personal protective equipment – gloves, guards, forearm cuffs, barrier creams – appropriate to the specific task you are performing.
  • When wearing gloves, be sure they fit properly and are rated for the specific task you are performing.
  • Always use push-sticks, guards, shields and other protective devices when appropriate.  Do not remove guards.
  • Use brushes to wipe away debris.
  • Inspect equipment and machinery before and after tasks to make sure they are in good operating condition.
  • Disconnect the power and follow established lockout procedures before repairing or cleaning machinery.

  • Select tools designed to keep wrists straight to help avoid repetitive motion/overuse problems

When you take these precautions, you make sure that your health – and your job future – are in good hands.



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