Weekly Safety Meeting – Hand Injuries

Each year in the U.S. over 16 million people suffer hand injuries; over 250,000 of those are serious and disabling.

The hand is one of the most complex parts of your body. The movement of the tendons, bones, tissues and nerves allows you to grip and do a wide variety of complex jobs.

Without your hands it would be extremely difficult to do routine simple tasks, such as opening doors, using a fork, or tying your shoes.

Tuck your thumb into your palm and imagine trying to tie your shoes. It would be extremely difficult.

Hand injuries are difficult to repair because of the complexity of the hand. After a hand injury, the hand may not function as it did before the injury due to loss of motion, dexterity, and grip.

Over 25% of all industrial injuries involve the hand, wrist, and fingers.

Typical injuries include:

  • Puncture wounds;
  • Lacerations;
  • Broken fingers;
  • Contusions;
  • Thermal Burns; and
  • Chemical Burns.

These injuries occur when:

  • Cutting or using a sharp tool;
  • Using hand tools;
  • Reaching into moving parts;
  • Working with chemicals; or
  • Touching something hazardous (electrical or thermal).

So how can we reduce hand injuries?

A recent study found that wearing gloves reduced the relative risk of injury by 60 percent.

The study also showed that workers reported that they had worn gloves only 27 percent of the work time, and only 19 percent reported wearing gloves at the time of the injury.

Gloves are only effective when you wear them.

Hand Protection Checklist:

  1. Be alert to potential hand hazards before an accident can happen.
  2. Be alert to possible unguarded pinch points.
  3. Always use push-sticks, guards, shields, and other protective devices when appropriate. Do not remove guards.
  4. Use brushes to wipe away debris.
  5. Inspect equipment and machinery before and after tasks to make sure that it is in good operating condition.
  6. Disconnect power and follow established lock-out procedures before repairing or cleaning machinery.
  7. Never wear gloves, jewelry, or loose clothing when working with moving machine parts.
  8. Use the appropriate personal protective equipment–gloves, guards, forearm cuffs, barrier creams–for the specific task you are performing.
  9. When wearing gloves, be sure they fit properly and are rated for the specific task you are performing.
  10. Select tools designed to keep wrists straight to help avoid repetitive motion/overuse problems.


Our hands are also subject to cuts, bruises, burns and poking. Handling sharp objects, hot objects, rough materials, and splinters without the necessary hand protection are a sure invitation for hand injury.

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

Download flyer: SMOTW_634_Hand Injuries 

Download Spanish flyer: SMOTW_634_Hand Injuries_esp

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