Laceration Hand Injuries Safety Tips
Laceration hand Injuries are some of the most common injuries in the workplace. They cause a wound in the hand of the affected, either in the fingers or on the whole hand when the body tissues are cut by sharp objects.
The wound is, in most cases, contaminated by bacteria or other pathogens found on contaminated cutting tools, in form of Bloodborne pathogens dirt or rust. These objects include glass pieces, nails, sharp metals, pinch and rotating parts of a machine, and many more.
Human error such as handling devices carelessly, improper disposal of glass parts and nails, and lack of hand protection and coverage increases hand laceration injuries.
These injuries can be excruciating depending on their intensity, and affected firms spend a lot of money providing treatment for the damages. Severe hand injuries reduce productivity because the injured Worker is not able to perform efficiently.
Apart from being an employer’s responsibility, protecting employees is a requirement by the OSHA laws. Failure to play your part in protecting your workers can mean costly compensations that may threaten to wipe out your company.
OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration fall under the United States Department of Labor and they have laws specifically for “cuts and hand lacerations.” The section discusses lots of safety practices including equipment safety and workstation designs that employers must comply with.
Lacerations in the Workplace
Hand laceration injuries in the workplace are a huge problem every employer has to deal with to have a smooth working experience. They can occur in any workplaces and the injuries differ in both effects and treatment procedures.
Shallow cuts on the epidermis layer of the hand’s skin might be easier to deal with as opposed to deep wounds that penetrate deep into the ligaments.
The extent to which the injury will affect the victim or their performance in the workplace depends on the depth of the cut and the injured part.
A cut on the palm of your hand or your fingers will affect your handling of work tools or machines significantly than a cut on any other part of the arm.
Laceration hand injuries are a day to day experience in the workplaces that don’t care about safety. When they occur, staffs are injured and some disabled for life. The responsible company must also compensate for treatments.
These frequent expenditures on laceration hand injuries accumulate to a high amount of money at the end of a month or a year. It is, therefore, important that employers find a way of addressing laceration hand injuries to reduce expenditures on treatments.
Best practices such as proper disposal of glasses, nails, parts of metals, and handling work tools and machines with care can help you avoid frequent laceration hand injuries.
The Consequences of Cuts and Hand Lacerations
Laceration hand injuries have diverse consequences ranging from the effects to the injured worker, the workmates, to the company itself. They instill pain in you and hinder you from handling work tools properly.
In severe cases, injured staff can be forced to go on work leave, which affects the workplace in many ways.
Victims can also contract diseases from cutting objects such as tetanus and other bloodborne infections if you get injured by equipment that has been contaminated by fluids from infected persons.
Some cuts on the palm or fingers may be so severe that they may have to live with those for their entire lives. This will change the life of an employee from then henceforth, or render them incapable of working in the same workplace again, and the company is forced to fill the left gap.
Apart from not being able to work, the victim is also unable to do their daily activities such as operating a phone, washing clothes and utensils, typing, shoelace tying, cycling, and driving or riding a motorcycle in severe cases.
This may mean incurring additional expenses on such things if they don’t have someone to help them out. This might make the victim dependent on the people around them, and that isn’t always satisfying, is it? This condition will make life more stressful for an employee because they will have to be assisted in accomplishing the simplest of tasks.
Cases of laceration hand injuries not only affect the victim, it also takes a toll on their workmates. Colleagues will have to adjust to fill the blank space by handling the job activities that you’re unable to handle.
This will add to their list of activities and reduce their productiveness in the workplace. When the injuries are so severe that one must take days or weeks off to get treatment, workmates will have to do extra work to keep the company up and running.
Working overtime or handling too many tasks leads to a lot of fatigue in the workplace, and workmates will have a hard time conducting their daily operations. More injured and hospitalized staff increases the risks of worker burnout which again exposes other workers to cuts and lacerations.
The company also faces a lot of challenges when laceration hand injury occurs. When one is injured at work, the company uses money to cater for your treatment, and this comes as added expenses on the organization’s budget.
The employer will also spend a lot on the compensation process each time a worker is injured while on duty. If you must go for a treatment leave, the company will have to adjust itself to accommodate your role and daily tasks at the workplace.
This may affect the overall performance of the company, and if the injured contributed a specialized skill set, the company will have to spend a lot of money hiring a replacement.
Having understood the dangers of laceration hand injuries in workplaces, and their far-reaching effects to colleagues and the entire organization, it is easy to tell that these injuries are a major concern among workers.
It should, therefore, an employer’s priority to prevent these hand injuries or reduce their incidences to a minimum. Mitigations starts by training all the people in the workplace about laceration hand injuries, their dangers and their prevention.
Creating awareness from time to time on the effects of hand injuries among all your colleagues will create a sense of shared responsibility in reducing injury risks. This will ensure staffs handle work tools and machines carefully. It will also ensure they dispose of metals and glasses, among other harmful wastes properly.
Next, employers want to ensure employees are working with safe tools and in a safe work environment. The tools and working machines should be in good working condition, well serviced, and maintained.
Training workers on how to use the tools and work machines is an excellent way to start reducing the incidence of injuries. Each worker should be supplied with safety materials such as gloves, eye protection materials, and helmets.
Each tool should be kept away in a safe storage when not in use. A toolbox will serve this purpose effectively. When storing tools, sharps shouldn’t be kept away from other tools.
Organizations can also create a long term safety program in your workplace where you can train workers on how to stay safe and award the groups or individuals that stick to best practices.
You should also take disciplinary measures against those who do not follow safety rules in the workplace.
Do not tolerate any employee using any tool without wearing the necessary safety materials such as gloves, eye protection, and a helmet. This will accustom your workers to wearing protective gear.
Re-thinking Your Work Processes
In this process, an organization designs its tools to provide the safest working experience for staff. Activities that are risky to human beings should be done by machines to enhance safety.
All tools should have a good grip to ensure comfort during use. They must also fit into the worker’s hand properly. If workers have to move around during the working progress, the movements should be natural and as safe as possible.
Organizations must also design safe workstations by making changes such as ensuring adequate space between equipment, putting machines fare away from pathways or frequently used, providing enough lighting and so on.
Giving workers enough time to rest is also a great idea. This will help reduce fatigue, increase their performance, and ensure careful handling of tools.
Exhausted people are more likely to accidentally drop a tool or mishandle it as compared to refreshed workers.
Guarding to Reduce Hand Injuries/Cuts
Each cutting edge should be well guarded to reduce their exposure. Power saws and other related machines are safer when guarded. Guarding ensures that anyone handling equipment does not touch sharps accidentally.
An example is creating knives that automatically retract when not in use.
When all cutting edges are well guarded, and the guards are sturdy, there are minimal chances of suffering laceration hand injuries.
Safer Cutting Tools for Safer Cutting on the Job
Safety in cutting tools is determined by how the tools are designed to fit their work. One of the safety features in a tool is the ability to retract when not in use, as explained above.
The gripping ability of the tool is vital because it ensures that the tool doesn’t slip off the worker’s hand during use. Tools with good grip are safe and do not easily cause injuries as opposed to tools with poor grip.
You have to ensure that the tools used in your workplace have a good grip. Frequent servicing and good maintenance practices means safer working tools.
Safe cutting is also key in creating an injury-free working place. Cuts reduce when workers master how to use tools properly and learn ways in which they can protect themselves from injuries while working.
Organizations should ensure that there is freedom of expression in the workplace so that workers can freely speak out in case a tool or machine malfunctions. For efficiency, employers can empower some workers in different departments to regularly check the tools and authorize repair or replacement when necessary.
This will help in addressing all working tool issues easier and better. Employers can also demand a weekly or monthly check of the tools and a clear report to ensure all equipment is safe.
Using preventive materials such as gloves
Laceration hand injuries can be prevented in different ways, and one of them is using preventive materials.
These materials vary according to the type of tools used in your workplace. They include helmets, eye protectors, gloves, or any other protective materials.
You can use gloves in this case, which will also vary in cut resistance levels and dexterity. You will have to choose the gloves that can prevent cuts from the tools used in your workplace.
Try to acquire the most comfortable preventive materials that won’t be awkward to work with, or tools that can make work more tedious. A good laceration hand injury prevention material should be able to increase the worker’s enthusiasm at work.
You can also to lay down strict rules towards the use of gloves to ensure that no one is handling tools without their gloves on. Make it a must-do to wear gloves when hand handling tools to cultivate safe working habits in your workplace.
The Role of Training in Reducing Risks
You must appreciate the power of knowledge, and the importance of educating staff on different safety practices.
It is the best way to solve problems due to human-error. You can start by ensuring that each worker knows how to use the tools properly and safely.
This will not only be achieved by reading the manufacturer’s guidelines. You can have an expert provide hands-on training on safe handling of tools and machines.
Remember, practical sessions will make more impact than lectures. This will give them a clear understanding and reduce the possibility of equipment mishandling.
Through this, your workers will also have a clear knowledge about the tools and master how to use them efficiently.
The other part of the training that will yield amazing results is creating awareness about the risk of lacerations hand injuries and how they can be avoided.
Through this, your workers will be well-equipped to protect themselves. Remember; everyone wants to be safe, providing training can make them safer.
You can plan regular training programs led by safety experts, either monthly or yearly, according to the technicality of the tools and machines used in your workplace.
More awareness can be created by adding “safe material handling” and “workplace wellbeing” posters around the workstation. That way, you remind your workers on the safest practices when carrying out their daily duties.
A set of workers should undergo training on machine and tool assessment. They should be able to assess all the parts of the tools and machines, such as rotating and cutting corners, and the joints of cutting edges to ensure that they are firm.
Your workers should also be trained on how to position themselves as they use the equipment to reduce hand injuries. Remind them during training to keep their hands off rotating or cutting tools when operating machines.
Hands must be protected when operating any equipment that uses or requires too much force to manipulate. Training workers on personal safety and safe use of equipment can also reduce cuts and hand lacerations caused by using excessive force on a tool.
You should also ensure that every task is accomplished with the right tool. Using the wrong tool often leads to hand injuries in workplaces. Every tool is built for a specific purpose, using it for jobs other than its intended function can pose injury risks.
Any broken or malfunctioning tool should be repaired or replaced to avoid a shortage of tools in the workstation. Using broken tools also increases the risks of cuts and lacerations. In fact, using faulty equipment is an open danger to the user.
Next, remind your employees of the importance of paying attention in a workstation.
Though accidents are inevitable, past experiences can confirm that attentive and safety-savvy workers are less likely to mishandle a tool or machine; and are, therefore, less likely to get cuts and lacerations while on the job.
An attentive workforce also means more precision and more desirable outcomes. A careful team of staff will easily notice any malfunctioning tool or equipment, or worn out machine parts in good time.
This kind of precaution reduces cases of cuts and lacerations due to faulty equipment ensuring timely repair or replacement.
Alongside reducing laceration hand injuries, training your workers will also give your company or workshop an amazing growth pace.
Picture a workplace with little to no injuries and cases of cuts and lacerations among employees. It is more productive because every member of the team is safe and sound, and playing their part to push the firm to the next level.
Employee safety should be the employer’s priority. Provide protective gear and repeat safety over and over again until it becomes a culture in your organization.
You don’t want to be the reason an employer loses a finger, their eye or suffers an injury that will impact the rest of their lives because of a carelessly maintained job site.
Make it your responsibility to reduce the risks of an injury in the working environments. You have to ensure your workplace is safe and in good working condition.
You can also reduce waste products such as glass and metal materials in by implementing a well-though-out disposal plan.
This will ensure proper disposal of sharps that are likely to cause an injury in the site. Training your workers on proper waste disposal will help in keeping the working environment safe.
Sharp wastes must be stored separate from all other forms of waste. Workers can easily get injured when transferring these wastes to dump sites. Do away with sharp tools and wastes as soon as you possible to reduce the risks of injuries in the work zone.
A free navigable and less cluttered workplace is less prone to hand injuries from sharps than a crowded area where you have to push things aside to make your way.
You also want to ensure breaks in between work sessions to reduce cuts and lacerations caused by staff burnout.
When people are tired, they are more prone to making mistakes and mishandling tools. Do not overwork your staff. Organize break sessions where drink some water; take some energy foods and check on each other’s wellbeing as you prepare for the next list of tasks.
Use different crews for different shifts if you must work round-the-clock.
Laceration hand injuries, being the most common among all injuries, affect the injured, their workmates, and the entire company as well.
When a worker is injured, they cannot handle their tasks as usual and may also be completely unable to use certain tools in the workplace. This takes a toll on other workmates who must do overtime or burnout to fill the gap.
The company might also incur some additional costs in hiring an expert to take over the duties of the victim in case she/he contributed a specialized skill set.
Re-engineering, use of the right tools for the right work, training your workers on how to use the working tools and other equipment, creating awareness among the workers on the importance of safety at the workplace and providing protection materials such as hand gloves, are some of the ways you can use to reduce hand laceration injuries.
Providing workers with the right and safe tools will increase safety levels in your job site. This means ensuring you have all necessary tools in your workplace, and all workers are familiar with how to use these safely.
In the end, reducing hand laceration injuries protects both your workers from injuries and you from losses incurred from treatments and compensations.
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