Safety Leader

Hand Safety

Tool Box image.

Toolbox Talk is a series of informational guides designed to help contractors hold short safety meetings on the job site. Use the provided discussion questions to help start a safety conversation with your workers.

TOOLBOX TALK OBJECTIVES:

• Be familiar with the possible job site dangers to the hands.

• Be familiar with the different types of gloves available.

THE RISKS:

Electrical work is very hand-intensive. What would you do on a job site if you couldn’t use your hands? As a result, your hands

are at risk every day from things as simple as a splinter and as extreme as losing fingers.

These risk falls into three categories:

• Mechanical hazards—hazards involving machinery like drills, saws and nail guns. Potential injuries will include cuts,

punctures, abrasions or crushing

• Environmental hazards—include extreme heat or cold, materials handling and electricity

• Irritating substances—skin issues, such as dermatitis, can be caused by your hands coming in contact with chemicals or biological organisms, such as bacteria, fungi or viruses

STAYING SAFE

• Keep your hands out of harm’s way. Keep machine guards on equipment and use them!

• Use proper PPE

PPE

Gloves are obviously the most common PPE used to protect your hands, wrists and sometimes your forearms, but it’s

important to use the right type of glove for the work you’ll be doing.

• Leather gloves for handling rough or abrasive materials.

• Rubber, vinyl or neoprene gloves will protect your hands when handling and using caustic chemicals like acids,

cleansers or petroleum products.

• Puncture/cut-resistant gloves will help reduce the severity or a cut or puncture.

• Rubber gloves are designed especially for those that work with electricity. They are made either of natural or

synthetic rubber and are rated according to their level of voltage protection. This may include insulating sleeves

as well.

A proper fit–Only wear gloves that fit your hand properly. Proper fit is a matter of safety, not comfort. Gloves that are too large are difficult to work in and run the risk of getting caught in equipment, while too-small gloves can cause your hands to tire more quickly.

Care–Gloves should be treated and cared for like your other types of PPE: cleaned, inspected, repaired and replaced as necessary.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

• What are the categories of potential hand hazards?

• Why are your hands at such risk while you’re at work?

• Which type of glove is best suited for working with electricity?

• You show up for work and realize you’ve forgotten your rubber gloves. What do you do?

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