Protect Your Assets

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:

  • Exposure to hot substances, sparks, flames, or electrical hazards
  • Handling asbestos containing materials, lead based paints, or human or animal wastes
  • Work with sharp tools, knives or duct work
  • Handling sharp materials such as sheet metal or glass like when doing HVAC work, glazing or electrical work
  • Pouring, washing, or spraying chemicals or materials
  • Handling materials with protruding nails
 This individual did not wear gloves while working with a power tool and it cut between his thumb and index finger a 2-inch length laceration requiring surgery and stitches.

This individual did not wear gloves while working with a power tool and it cut between his thumb and index finger a 2-inch length laceration requiring surgery and stitches.

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.

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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!

 Examples of chemical specific gloves.

Examples of chemical specific gloves.

Pouring concrete, washing brickwork or masonry, or spray coating and staining cement work may require chemical resistant gloves.

Work with hot substances, sparks, and/or flames requires the use of heavy duty leather gloves or hand protection made from fire retardant material.

Work with potentially energized or live electrical equipment will require gloves that are rated for a specific voltage range.

Weeklysafety.com provides hundreds of safety meeting topics at a very low monthly subscription price, including topics and toolbox talks to guide a meeting on hand protection PPE. Building a safety program doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars, let us help you stop searching and start training today!

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