Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Hands are one of the most injured part of the body in the workplace. Many of these hand injuries are preventable. By identifying hazards and developing safety measures, you will be able to help reduce and or eliminate hand injuries in the workplace.
In the workplace, your hands are exposed to many hazards that can cause harm. Sharp
objects, extreme temperatures, dangerous chemicals and moving machinery can all cause
harm to hands.
Hand injuries can be immediate like cuts, punctures and burns or may happen over time, like
Raynaud’s Syndrome (white finger) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Your 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.
Without your fingers or hands your ability to work would be greatly reduced.
Think about how you can perform the task before you start the job, are you likely to be
injured? Are you controlling all hazards.
Common risks that can cause hand injuries include:
• Chemical Exposure
• Biological Hazards
• Cut / Puncture Hazards
• Electrical Hazards
• Vibration Hazards
• Thermal Hazards
• Material Handling
• Repeated actions / Typing
Common Causes of Hand Injuries
• Lack of Training
• Complacency or lack of focus and attention
• No Job Safety Analysis / Risk Assessment conducted prior to task
• Lifting / Applying force incorrectly
• Removing guards and failure to Lock Out Machinery
• Incorrect or Careless Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
• Using the incorrect or a damaged tool for the job
Reducing Hand Injuries
When looking at how to reduce hand injuries in the workplace, follow these steps:
1. Review hand injury data and identify trends
2. Conduct job / tasks risk assessments
3. Place control measures (refer to hierarchy of controls)
4. Select fit for purpose tools / gloves (if required) as a control
5. Provide training
6. Reinforce message of safety, encourage the discussions within the workplace
7. Review with those wearing the gloves (if selected as a control) for reviews / feedback
8. Review controls on a regular basis
When selecting gloves consider the following:
Fit and Comfort:
Flexibility - Glove needs to be unrestrictive to the user. They should be able to make a
complete fist when wearing the glove.
Dexterity - Allow the user to perform each action without the need to take the glove off.
Liner Comfort - Should be soft and smooth without irritating the user’s skin.
Moisture Management - Based on task and environment conditions the glove should be
able to be worn for long periods.
Protection, Performance and Functionality:
Grip - The correct grip should provide the user with more control
Puncture - Industrial protection from large objects that pose a puncture threat or fine objects
such as medical needles that pose a puncture threat.
Cut - When assessing the cut-resistant properties of a glove, consider; material of
construction, basis weight, fabric construction and coatings.
Impact - Back of hand impact protection is designed to scatter impact impact force energy
away from the bone, helping to prevent and /or reduce hand / finger injuries
Abrasion - The glove provides the same level of protection at the end of the shift as it did at
Standards on Gloves
If you are implementing gloves as a PPE control there are a few standards to consider when
you select the gloves:
This standard applies to all kinds of protective gloves in respect of physical and mechanical
aggressions caused by abrasion, blade cut, puncture and tearing.
Selecting Gloves Continued
This standard applies to all kinds of protective gloves in respect of heat protection.