Hand Safety

Let’s take a minute to talk about your hands. How would your life be affected if you lost a finger? Not much? A lot? How about if you lost your thumb? Could be worse, you might say. Try using a simple tool effectively without your thumb. Say a hammer or a pair of scissors. What if you lost your whole hand? Or both hands? I know of people who have lost both hands and their arms up to the elbow. They adapt and most are very successful people. In fact others marvel at their remarkable and innovative adaptations to overcome their disabilities, but all of them admit they would rather have their limbs back and in perfect working order. What would you do if you lost your hands? Think about it. You probably would not be doing what you do now.

All accidents just don’t happen, they are caused by not paying attention and by not thinking of what could go wrong. I am sure you can think of instances in your life where you or somebody you know was injured due to some sort of negligent behavior. The people I know who lost their arms and hands did so because they took short cuts or ignored taking safety precautions. You may be thinking, “I would never do such a thing.” But how many times a day do you do something that could result in an accident to yourself or your co-workers? Someone, somewhere suffers an injury every single minute. 

Construction and manufacturing trades are especially prone to hand injuries. But municipal work has its share of injuries involving hands. Handling rough materials, stacking and storing tools, supplies, and equipment. Dealing with out of control suspects or animals. Operating equipment with heavy moving parts. All pose special risks to hand injury. To come up with a list on how to protect your hands in each and every situation would be impossible. The list would be never ending and most likely never read. Each new advance in technology advances also the opportunity for people to damage their hands and they will. 

People usually approach their daily tasks in one of two ways: they either don’t think about safety at all before jumping into the job, or they think, “It won’t or can’t happen to me.” Wrong! It will. If not today then sooner or later. Do the smart thing: Before you begin a job or take up a tool, or start a piece of equipment, think of the accident that can and will eventually happen unless you make sure it doesn’t. Apply the “what if” criteria of safety to what you are doing: What if the knife slips…, What if the screw driver slips off this stubborn screw…, What if my glove gets caught on the lever on the trash truck…, Will my hands be protected?

Keep your mind on your hands. Hand Safety Sense is just plain Common Sense … use yours before you lose yours. If a co-worker appears to be lacking in common sense then use yours before they lose theirs. Keep your mind on safety first and your hands will continue to provide you with a way to achieve your personal goals.

Take Safety Personally: Make it a part of your life goals. – THINK SAFETY!!


Contact OMAG Loss Control Services if you have questions or suggestions for other topics related to Municipal Workplace Safety Issues. 1 (800) 234-9461 or email kprichard@omag.org.

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