Hand Lacerations

Hand Lacerations

Written on 03/07/2019
Gaylor Electric


Safety Moment :
Hand Lacerations - Revisited

It has been 21 months since Gaylor instituted full time glove use while working out at the jobsites, in pre-fabrication, warehousing, and so on. We finally decided to mandate the personal protective equipment (PPE) and committed to reducing our recordable incidents from lacerations. As shared at our last company meeting, there was an immediate impact of reducing our overall hand laceration incidents in 2017, so there was a good feeling that we made the right call.

Today, we are seeing an uptick on injuries to the hands and fingers of employees. That being said, a deeper dive on these facts unearth some interesting side notes. Of the handful of recordable injuries we have sustained in this space since 2017, just 1 involved a laceration where an employee was not wearing their gloves. What does that mean?

1. It is a good lesson to remind us that legislative (or procedure) controls can only take us so far in getting the outcomes we seek.

2. Employees are still injuring their hands and fingers despite wearing gloves.

3. There are other factors that are contributing to hand injuries other than the use of PPE.

Let's examine that last point for a second...

In addition to wearing your gloves, we must remain ever mindful of the decisions and choices we make in how we choose to use our hands and fingers to do our work.

• Are we recognizing pinch points or caught between opportunities that can damage our tissues as much or more so than any sharp edge?

• Can we see well? Low light conditions can create an environment where you cannot see hand hazards.

• How is the rest of our body positioned?

Sometimes our stance, our posture, and generally how we orientate ourselves to the work can be huge factors in situations where our hands bear the brunt of the risk. Sometimes the causal effects between behaviors and outcomes are not clear. We know that wearing gloves will certainly reduce the likelihood of getting cut. However, we have learned that there is more to it than that. We must challenge ourselves to reduce the opportunities for injuries to our hands through intentional decision-making and safe choices.

Be careful.

Contributed by Wes Anderson, Risk Management Director