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A simple, 5-minute outline of what to cover in a toolbox talk on hand safety in the workplace.

Hand injuries are one of the most common workplace injuries even though they are almost always preventable. To help you keep your staff and worksite safe, we have put together this toolbox talk.

This talk covers all of the main workplace dangers where hand injuries occur and how you can prevent them from happening.

Why Run a Hand Safety Toolbox Talk?

  • Prevents unnecessary injuries to hands and fingers occurring in the workplace
  • Ensures staff adhere to safety regulations and standards
  • Ensures companies/management adhere to safety regulations and standards
  • Helps prevent exposure to dangerous hazards and materials
  • Injuries affect our ability to work and overall quality of life. Fewer injuries means higher productivity

7 Common Workplace Dangers and How to Ensure Hand Safety

1) Cuts and Lacerations 

Let’s start with the most common hand injury type—cuts and lacerations. This is when you cut your hands while using a tool or other equipment. These injuries can be prevented when: 

  • You make sure you use the safest cutting tools available for the specific job you need to do. If you’re not sure, ask a supervisor.
  • Before using cutting tools, always ensure the blades are in good condition.
  • Use the correct PPE for the job you are doing.
  • If you have long hair, make sure that it is tied back, and if you wear jewelry, remove it so that it doesn’t get in the way.
  • Ensure that you use the protective guards on cutting tools (if this is not possible, investigate safer ways to do the job).
  • Use the safe cutting techniques you’ve been trained to use.
  • Ensure you are fully alert and focused when using cutting tools.

2) Hands Getting Crushed or Pinched

The next potential hand injury is when your hands get caught in equipment and crushed or pinched. These are called pinch points. This can be prevented by:

  • Always make sure that you assess the equipment and area you are about to work with/in so that you can avoid any hazards. Make sure you remove or minimize hazards before commencing your job.

3) Muscle Strain in Your Hands

When you use hand-held tools for long periods, you, risk of straining the muscles in your hands. To help avoid causing damage to your hands, you should:

  • Try to only use ergonomic tools.
  • Ensure you stretch your hands before and after work and remember to take frequent breaks.
  • If you’re doing a repetitive task, try to remember to move your hands in the opposite direction now and then to avoid cramps and muscle strain.

4) Touching Hazardous Substances

Another common cause of hand injuries is when you encounter hazardous substances and surfaces. You can avoid this from happening by:

  • Before aatempting you work task, make sure you wear the appropriate safety gloves for the job you are doing. For example, there are different gloves to protect you when handling dangerous substances and when carrying rough objects that might cause cuts or splinters, etc.
  • Before touching a potentially hot surface, gauge the temperature first.
  • When around dangerous substances and surfaces, make sure you stay fully aware of what you are touching.

5) Injuries When Carrying Objects

It’s also common to injure yourself when carrying heavy or sharp objects around the worksite. To avoid this happening, make sure that you:

  • Ensure the path you are going to carry the object is clear of hazards.
  • Ensure that you and the object(s) you are carrying will safely fit through any passageways.
  • Ensure that you wear the appropriate safety gloves.
  • If you get tired or worn out while carrying heavy objects, make sure you stop and rest.
  • If required, ask another employee to help you.

6) Hand Injuries Caused by Falling Over

When you fall, your hands are often the first body part to hit the ground, which can result in injuries. To avoid this happening:

  • The walkways on worksites need to be kept free of clutter.
  • When walking up or down staircases, use the handrails.
  • Make sure you always know what is in front of you.
  • Avoid using a mobile phone while walking around.

7) Injuries Caused by Machinery

What we mean by this is when you put your hands into machinery or other dark spaces without checking what is inside. To stop this from happening: 

  • Never reach into any machine or space without carefully inspecting it first (turn the power off if necessary).

Key Takeaways

  • Wear the correct PPE.
  • Be aware of your surroundings so you can see hazards.
  • Keep the worksite free of clutter and other preventable hazards.
  • Use the correct tool for the job and ensure that they are in good order.
  • If you get fatigued, take a break.
  • Don’t rush dangerous jobs.
  • PPE only works when you use it. Make sure you are wearing gloves.
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