According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 1 million workers are treated in an emergency room for hand injuries each year, ranging from injuries as minor as cuts to incidents where workers were subjected to amputations. Additional data shows that more than 100,000 lost-time hand injuries occur each year, costing an average of anywhere from $6000-$7000 in workers’ compensation claims. If those statistics alone weren’t enough to convince you, it’s also worth noting that hand-injuries represent just one-third of all reported workplace incidents and three-fourths of all industrial industries that cause partial disability.
With that in mind, it’s clear that we need to get a better handle on hand protection. In today’s article, we’ll discuss how you can best protect your workers against a variety of threats, including lacerations, chemical burns, and more. If you need any help understanding the differences between each type of hand protection or determining which type of hand protection is best for your workers, speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.
It Starts With the Gloves
The number one cause of hand injuries on construction sites is performing work-related tasks without the protection of gloves. However, wearing gloves alone isn’t enough. In order to ensure adequate protection from a wide variety of threats, you must select the appropriate glove for the job.
For starters, the worker needs to be comfortable, protected, and still able to perform their tasks. Too often, we see workers remove or alter their gloves just to get the work done. This is incredibly dangerous. Instead, you need to take the following factors into consideration when choosing the right glove for the job:
- Performance: Can the glove provide protection against hand hazards while the employee is performing this specific task? Does it lessen the risk of exposure?
- Durability: Will the glove suffer wear and tear over time as a result of the employee performing this task? How will this affect the function of the glove?
- Fit: How comfortable is the glove? Does it allow for maximum dexterity?
Considerations like these will prove essential in determining the right type of glove for each job that requires hand protection. Then, it’s up to you to match the appropriate glove to the hazards and conditions of the jobsite. Essentially, there are four material categories of gloves: leather, canvas, or metal mesh, fabric and coated fabric, chemical-resistant, and insulating rubber gloves. Each of these is suited to a different purpose depending on the type of chemicals handled (if any), grip requirements, thermal protection, and abrasion requirements.
Proper Training and Procedures Are a Must
However, suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) only goes so far. In order for your workers to fully avoid hand-related hazards, you’ll want to have appropriate safety protocol and training in place. For example, you could have protocol in place that no worker is allowed to use table saw blades without the necessary barriers in place to prevent laceration. Training, on the other hand, is great for reducing the occurrence of workplace injuries by informing workers of the potential hazards, the appropriate tools to use, and the safety precautions in place to keep them safe. If you need any further assistance complying with OSHA guidelines related to hand protection, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the OSHA lawyers at Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.