Hands are valuable but also most vulnerable. Hands are superbly designed tools of amazing strength and dexterity. They can pinch, grasp, twist, lift, hold and manipulate while doing a wide variety of other specific tasks. Hands, together with wrists, are a complex system of bones, muscles and tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves protected by layers of skin. But, hand injuries at work are all too common.
A total of 27 hand and wrist bones are connected to the muscles by tendons. Ligaments join bones together and hold the joints in place. Blood vessels supply nourishment to all these parts. Nerves convey sensations and help to control hand and finger movements. The skin provides a barrier against chemicals, heat and cold. Skin on the back of the hand is thin and elastic and, on the palm, it is thick to provide traction, cushioning and insulation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand injuries at work account for 1,080,000 emergency department visits by workers per year in the United States. In fact, as part of the analysis done on body parts injured in heavy industry, the hand was the number one body part that was injured.
Hand injuries at work resulting from cuts and punctures cost the construction industry $382 million each year This injury figure is second only to back strain and sprain injury, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- 70 present of workers who experienced hand injuries were not wearing gloves;
- The remaining 30 present of injured workers did wear gloves, but experienced injuries because the gloves were inadequate, damaged or the wrong for the type of hazard present.
Workplace hazards and hand injury prevention
Hands can be exposed to the following workplace hazards:
- skin absorption of harmful substances;
- severe cuts or lacerations;
- severe abrasions or punctures;
- chemical or thermal burns;
- harmful temperature extremes;
- vibrations (HAVS: Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome);
- impact and blunt force.
In addition to the physical harm that hand injuries at work pose to workers, these injuries also take a financial toll. The average hand injury claim has now exceeded $6,000, with each lost time worker’s compensation claim reaching nearly $7,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Safety Council. The overall drain on employee productivity becomes apparent especially when you consider that there are about 110,000 estimated lost time hand injuries every year.
Gloves save hands
While glove use is not the only way to protect against hand injuries at work, it is a crucial component of any injury prevention programme. A Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety study found that wearing gloves reduces hand injury risk by 60 present.
Employers must do appropriate research in order to select the right glove for workers’ needs. Fortunately, advanced technology has resulted in hand protection products that meet a wide range of specific needs while enhancing worker comfort, dexterity and productivity.
Hand protection products are available, for example, that offer up to 300 present more abrasion and cut resistance than leather gloves. Gloves are also offered that are form-fitted with an ergonomic design that enhances comfort and allows workers to keep the gloves on throughout the day.
Bramhope Safety Solutions has recently announced hand protection innovations introduced as a result of a partnership formed with a Eureka, a Swedish family-owned, innovative business. who to focus on quality and continuous improvement. Quality hand protection products are manufactured at Eureka’s factory in China and raw materials are obtained from various suppliers in Europe, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
Bramhope Safety Solutions now offers a wide range of hand protection products:
- SupraCoat : high quality waterborne PU/Nitrile foam;
- SupraBlock Cut : unique cut resistant fibre;
- SupraCoat Dry : strong and durable oil and water repellence treatment;
- SupraBlock 4u : durable synthetic leather (microfiber fabric);
- SupraBlock Impact : excellent impact protection;
- SupraBlock Stop : needle stick resistant fabric.
For the details of our hand protection products and other innovations now available please visit Bramhope Safety Solutions.
An innovative clean green product – no environmental impact
Too often we forget just how amazing and vulnerable hands really are. Routinely working with tools or machinery can sometimes result in carelessness. Although cutting-edge PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) technologies offer increased protection, employees need to stay alert, be aware of hazards and work safely at all times.
Bramhope Safety Solutions is a specialist importer, wholesaler, supplier and distributor of more than 17 000 CE certified and ANSI approved safety products through various re-sellers, partners and retail outlets. With operations in 18 African countries, Bramhope is the leading and fastest growing supplier of personal protective equipment across Africa.