Our hands are often overlooked assets, until an injury causes a loss in our ability to perform everyday tasks. Imagine losing a finger, or even your hand. Now imagine trying to button your shirt, tie your shoes, open the mail, throw a football with your child or hold a fork at dinnertime.
Earlier this year, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News shared the story of a steel worker who sustained third degree burns to their hand while on the job. The electrical technician was reportedly removing wire from a fan motor when an ungrounded electrical conductor touched a grounded surface, causing an arc flash. An OSHA investigation later found the worker had not been provided with appropriate hand protection, in this case, rubber insulating gloves. In addition to the worker’s injuries and lost time from work, the manufacturing company was fined more than $100,000 for violations.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 1.1 million hand injuries in 2014, resulting in visits to the ER and lost time from work. In the workplace alone, 20 percent of injuries involve the hands and fingers, ranging from minor cuts and irritations to more permanent injuries, like fractures and amputations.
A breakdown of the five most common hand injuries in the workplace include lacerations (63%), crushes (13%), avulsions or detachments (8%), punctures (6%) and fractures (5%), according to the Safety and Health Council of North Carolina. Additional hand hazards employees may encounter in the workplace include electrical burns, as in case study above, exposure to chemicals, frostbite, penetration, contusions, sprains and strains.
What are the primary causes of hand and finger injuries in the workplace? Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds such injuries are the result of equipment not performing as expected. The Bureau also reports more than 70 percent of workers experiencing hand injuries were not wearing gloves at the time. Furthermore, the remaining 30 percent of those workers were not wearing the right type of glove for the job they were performing at the time of injury.
Hand injuries in the workplace are extremely common, costly and too often, preventable simply by wearing the right type of hand protection for the job.
Southern Glove has been protecting employees and employers from injuries in the workplace since 1945. Learn more about our award-winning finger, hand and arm protection at http://www.southernglove.com/.