Safety Alert: Hand Safety
Safety Alert No: 56
Date: May 2015
Over the past 12 months there has been an increase in hand / finger related injuries with 32 hand related injuries reported to Electrical Group Training.
The common nature of the injuries are summarised as follows:
- Deep lacerations and cuts
- Bruising or contusions
- Crushing injuries
Why Do Hand Injuries Happen?
Even when apprentices seem to understand and know the existence of immediate hazards – hand and finger injuries still occur – Why?
The primary causal factors identified for these hand and finger injuries are:
- Poor or incorrect hand skills while using knives and other hand tools
- Coming into contact with rotating or moving powered machinery (i.e. spinning grinding wheels)
- Handling sharp objects without glove protection (i.e. electrical cable tray and A/C ducting)
- Using the incorrect tool for the job (i.e. knife instead of cable strippers)
- Placing hands and fingers in the “line of fire”
- Lifting / applying force incorrectly
There are also human factors that contribute to injuries including;
- Inadequate assessment of risk
- Cutting corners / rushing the job (Mistaken priorities – Safety vs Objectives)
- Lapses in concentration
- Incorrect selection of PPE for the task
Ask yourself, what are the ROOT CAUSES of your hand injuries? You can stop these injuries occurring!
What is the key to prevention?
- Understand the job activity that you are about to start – if you have any doubts, ask your supervisor questions
- Be aware of all the possible hazards, assess the risk and then control them
- Complete your RAC
- Ask yourself, is the procedure for the work activity correct and is it the best practice
- Give feedback and share lessons learnt with your work colleagues – you might just save someone else from having a hand injury
- 6. Before commencing put on the correct PPE for the task
Hand Protection Reminder
Gloves are an effective way to protect hands and wrists from cuts, abrasions, burns and irritants. Selecting the appropriate hand protection is critical in the work environment. Gloves should be replaced periodically, depending on the frequency of use and permeability to the substance(s) handled.
Apprentices should consider the most appropriate glove to wear as part of completing a risk assessment checklist (RAC) for the task they are about to commence.
Hand Protection selection can be very confusing due to the wide range of glove styles available. For this reason, EGT have available two styles of gloves available for use to provide the necessary protection for your working environment.
Types of gloves available are as follows:
- ProFit Magnetic Glove (PFM) - is for general purpose use when utilising hand and power tools and normal electrical work activities.
- Pro Choice Arax Cut 5 Gloves APUD - ideally suited to light to medium occupations requiring significant hand sensitivity, high level of cut protection and prolonged comfort (i.e. pulling cables, working with cable tray or metal duct etc.).
Remember - If you require replacement gloves contact the EGT Office or your Field Officer immediately to avoid any potential hand injuries.
Hands are the most important “tool” you will use – take care of them!