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How to prevent hand injuries

Injuries to the hand are some of the most common workers' compensation claims in New York. Although employers are required by law to protect their workers from potential dangers, there is still a lot that can go wrong. Being aware of what causes these injuries and taking the steps to prevent them is extremely important in all types of industries.

According to the National Safety Council, lacerations are the most common  type of hand injury in the workplace. Other types are crush, puncture, avulsion and fracture. Malfunctioning equipment is the leading cause of these injuries. Although employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment, employees are just as responsible to use machinery correctly and report any potential hazards that could cause harm.

The EHS wants companies to take a 'zero excuses' approach to hand injuries. Because they are preventable, keeping on top of the hazards and making employees aware of them is an important part of preventing missed work days and medical expenses. The phrase indicates accountability and the ability to control the environment to keep accidents to a minimum. 

There are a number of elements when tackling a hand safety program. These include:

  • Hazard assessment
  • Trend analysis
  • Communication between management and workers
  • Proper training of equipment and jobs
  • Compliance
  • Planning
  • Follow-through

Taking account of the types of jobs and the risks involved with each one helps keep training specific for each employee. It is recommended that employers constantly remind workers of the risks and what precautions to take. These reminders should be communicated both verbally and through written word.

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  • Walter J. Roesch IV
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