As a worker, your two most important tools are your hands. Unfortunately, those two vital tools suffer through a great deal of wear and tear. On the worksite, your hands might be exposed to harsh weather conditions, dirt, chemicals, fuels, grease, solvents, oil and other unforgiving substances. Plus, if you’re handling sharp tools and heavy equipment constantly, you’re putting your hands at risk every day on the job.
Because your hands are two of the most important and frequently used parts of your body, it’s critical to protect them at all costs. If you take proper care of your hands and think before acting on the job, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of a serious hand injury. Here are a few ways to keep your hard-working hands safe, secure and strong:
Wear protective gloves
Wear the proper hand protection for each job you perform. For example, if you’re handling rough or abrasive materials, leather gloves will go a long way toward protecting your hands. Leather gloves can also help you get a better grip on heavy objects and shield your hands from things like cutting tools, thorns, sticks and other sharp objects.
On the other hand, if you’re working with chemicals, petroleum products or solvents, you’ll need to wear special gloves that are designed to protect your skin from these substances. No matter what kind of gloves you’re wearing, it’s important to find the right fit. If your gloves are too small, they might not fully cover and protect your hands. However, if your gloves are too large, they could get caught in moving machinery parts.
Moisturize every day
If you work with grease, chemicals, paint or other harsh substances, you might want to apply a special hand cream before work to protect your skin against dermatitis. You should also apply hand lotion after work each day, especially if you work outside often and suffer from dry, calloused or cracked hands. Hand lotion can help soothe painfully dry skin and add moisture back to your hands, which will prevent further cracking.
Shield your hands from harm
If you work with cutting tools, sharp objects, rotating equipment or other machinery, it’s important to realize that your hands are always in danger. Think before you act and always follow proper safety guidelines. Although you might have gotten away with nothing more than minor hand scrapes or cuts in the past, your next hand injury could be much worse if you aren’t careful.
When working with potentially dangerous machinery or equipment, always keep these hand safety rules in mind:
- Stay focused on the job at hand. Avoid distractions, keep your eyes on your hands at all times and work carefully and deliberately.
- Before lifting a box or any other object, check the item for splinters, nails, broken glass and other dangers.
- Keep your hands away from rotating equipment. Never use your hands to stop rotating parts.
- Pay attention to your fingers when lowering heavy objects to ensure they don’t get pinched.
- Never use your fingers to test the temperature of liquids or machinery.
- Keep your hands clear of loads that are being mechanically moved or lifted.
- If you do suffer from a hand injury, report it to your supervisor and seek medical treatment immediately.
Although our hands are our most important tools, we often take them for granted. We overuse and abuse them and sometimes forget to protect and care for them. Take care of your hands both on and off the job, and they’ll continue to take care of you.