April Safety Tip: Hand, Wrist and Finger Safety

When working in agriculture, be aware: hand, wrist and finger injuries are among the most common ailments. Since your hands are such a vital tool, it’s important to protect them. Injuries can be extremely painful, may require weeks or months of rehabilitation, and damage can be permanent.
 
Take Precautions
To avoid suffering from a hand, wrist or finger injury, you must learn how to recognize potential hazards and then take the proper steps to avoid them.
Consider the following recommendations while on the job:

  • Develop a “safety first” attitude and take time to familiarize yourself with the hazards in your working environment. Become familiar with all equipment and know what others are doing around you.
  • Concentrate on the task at hand, even when you’re frustrated or when there are distractions.
  • Perform maintenance only when tools or machinery are not in operation. Allow rotating parts to come to a stop before working on them. If you remove guards for maintenance, replace them as soon as you are done.
  • Never wear rings or loose clothing.
  • Remove fuses with fuse removers, not fingers.
  • Do not test the temperature of gases, liquids or solids with your hands.
  • Handle sharp tools carefully.
Choose Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Wisely
Since the hands, wrists and fingers are so susceptible to injuries, there are many varieties of PPE to choose from.
  • Select gloves that are appropriate for the task at hand. Make sure they are long enough to cover your wrists and fit correctly. Gloves that are too big can get caught in machinery, and gloves that are too small wear out easily.
  • Leather gloves protect from bruises, cuts and minor burns. Cut-resistant gloves shield from sharp-edged tools. Heat-resistant gloves offer protection against burns. Rubber, vinyl or neoprene gloves shield hands from corrosive materials.
  • Barrier creams provide an invisible protective coating against minor irritations.
  • Guards or hand pads protect against heat and abrasive materials.
  • Finger guards protect against pinch hazards.
Information provided by CHS Insurance.