March 2009 Safety Tip
WHAT WAS MANKIND'S FIRST TOOL?

THE HAND, OF COURSE!

Can you imagine any occupation that does not make use of the hand? Hands are so important because of their utility. They provide us with the dexterity needed to perform most daily activities. In fact, hands, as tools, are so versatile and can perform many intricate functions more than any single known tool developed by mankind.

Hand injuries account for 80% of all occupational injuries. This is because the hands are engaged in almost all activities on the job.

There are many dangerous conditions on the job to which the hand is always exposed. Sharp edges, pinch points, protruding objects, splinters, exposed blades on unguarded machinery and many more. These conditions may not always be too obvious to the working person.

Precautions must be taken to reduce the level of danger. Our hands are subject to cuts, bruises, burns, and poking. Handling sharp objects, hot objects, and rough materials, without the necessary hand protection, are sure signs of invitation for hand injury.

A necessary precaution to take is to wear approved work gloves. Not all gloves protect you from all hand injuries. There are specific types of gloves for specific types of tasks. Check the appropriateness of the glove for the task before using them.

Locking out machinery and power before reaching into the machine, this is another precaution to take. Making sure Machines are properly guarded at all times and not wearing rings or wedding bands when working with machinery can also save your hands and fingers.

Check and clear doorways and aisles and make sure you have proper hand clearance before you move loads through. Do not pick up broken glass or sharp needles with your bare hands.

Remember, your hands will obey any commands your brain sends them.

Use your brain. Avoid dangers and protect your hands. You need them as long as you live.

For additional information, contact the Maricopa County Risk Management Safety Office at (602) 506-8601.



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