For most employees, if they injure their hands, they can't work effectively or they can't work at all. If hands are one of our most important assets, then why do more than a million workers end up in the emergency room with hand injuries every year?
More than a million employees are sent to the emergency room annually for hand injuries. Most hand injuries are preventable and workers should be alert to common dangers and the ways that gloves can prevent hand injuries.
Workers can be exposed to hand injuries from tasks, activities, or areas involving the following:
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.95(a) says that protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained…
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.138(a) Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees' hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.
A safety meeting pertaining to hand protection is a must in almost every industry, job site and organization. Hazards to the hands exist almost everywhere and employees should be made aware of what those hazards are and how to avoid them and how to best prevent injuries to their hands. The following important points should be covered during the safety meeting, if applicable to the work environment.
Workers need to recognize hazards to their hands when working with sharp tools or knives.
Proper handling of sharp materials such as sheet metal or glass is important but may not be enough to prevent cuts, abrasions, or even amputations.
New glove technology is available and workers may be able to use metal mesh, Kevlar, or other forms of specially coated gloves to handle glass, sheet metal, or even when performing fine work such as using knives.
Workers handling asbestos containing materials, lead based paints, or other contaminated materials may need to use gloves specific to the type of chemical. Not all chemical resistant gloves are safe to use with all materials!
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