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Hand Protection

by Dr. Isabel Perry, “The Safety Doctor”


(521 words)

The hands and feet contain more bones than any other single part of the body.  We use them all day, to do everything; they “take a licking and keep on ticking.”  Feet provide us with mobility, and hands can do the most intricate maneuvers, but most of us never give them a second thought. 


How many times have you reached for something without looking and stubbed a finger? How often have you hit your finger with a hammer, slammed your fingers in a door, or burned your hand on the stove?  It happens all the time! For those few minutes we are totally aware of our fingers. Soon, however, we forget them again and keep doing whatever it was that hurt them in the first place.  We take them for granted.


*   Hand injuries account for one third of the two million disabling on-the-job accidents each year.

*   Eighty percent of these injuries are caused by pinch points!


Hand protection is not a new development. Gloves have been considered important for hundreds of years. 


When using machinery, pinch points can catch us when we’re not looking. Pulleys and belts can form in-running nips, a type of pinch point that can draw the hand in and cause severe damage.


¨      Never wear gloves around in-running nips.  The glove can be caught and the hand pulled right in and hurt.

¨      Wear appropriate work gloves when handling rough materials and when hands are directly involved with lifting or moving objects.

¨      Take time to remove or bend down protruding nails, splinters and sharp edges on materials before you begin working with them.

¨      Always use machinery guards.

¨      Always replace a removed guard and lock your machinery before reaching into it.

¨      When moving objects with a hand cart or truck, make sure that you have sufficient room to get through doorways and small spaces with enough clearance for cart and hands.

¨      Be equally cautious when setting down loads.

¨      Keep hands free of grease and oil – slippery hands can get you in trouble.  If you get grease or oil on your hands, clean them right away.

¨      For safety’s sake, don’t wear any rings when working – a ring caught in machinery or on a protruding object can badly damage a finger. 

¨      Wear gloves to pick up broken glass, nails or other sharp objects – including when sweeping up.  Never attempt to handle these things with your bare hands.


Despite the precautions we take, our hands will receive minor injuries from time to time.  Always treat these injuries promptly, so they don’t become infected. 



¨      Pay attention to what you are doing. 

¨      Keep an eye on pinch points and in-running nips.

¨      Keep guards in place on pinch points.

¨      Have minor cuts and scratches treated to prevent infection.

¨      Wear gloves to avoid cuts and splinters.

¨      Don’t wear gloves around in-running nips.

¨      Keep hands free of grease and oil.

¨      Don’t wear rings when working.


Our hands will do whatever we ask them to, whether it’s wise or not.  Use common sense when you use your hands!


Dr. Isabel Perry is an internationally-known safety expert, motivational speaker, author, and safety educator.  Based in Orlando , Florida , she can be reached at 407-291-1209 or via e-mail at [email protected]