Two of the most intricately designed instruments that we work with every day are our hands. We probably could not use any other device that could take the punishment our hands do and still be able to perform precision maneuvers. Like most things of marvel, we have come to take our hands for granted, except when we get our finger pinched in a door or touch something very hot or perhaps receive a cut or scrape. Then we remember that our hands are present and that they are sensitive, too. Unfortunately, we forget this experience and start taking them for granted again. A good thing to always keep in mind is that your hands are fearless. They will go anyplace they are sent, and they will act only as wisely as the person they belong to. During the cold months, injuries to the hands and other extremities become more prevalent. Before you get involved in a project, remember to “Take Five” and recognize the dangers and ensure that you have all the proper equipment to do the job safely.
Ten Rules to Preserve Ten Fingers
Hand injuries are one of the leading injuries in the agricultural workplace. They can also be life changing. Here are 10 rules to help protect your 10 fingers.
- Beware of pinch points. Train yourself to recognize pinch points and avoid placing your hands and fingers in hazardous spots.
- Expect the expected. When using wrenches and other hand tools, with which you expect resistance, anticipate that the tool might slip or the object to which pressure is being applied may suddenly give way.
- Inspect tools. Check to see if they are in good condition and safe to use.
- Do not work on moving equipment. If the equipment can be stopped, do so. Once stopped, make sure equipment is de-energized so it will not start. Working on moving equipment presents a serious threat to hands and fingers.
- Replace machine guards following repairs that require removal of guards. The presence of machine guards is an important factor in keeping hands and fingers out of dangerous areas.
- Be mindful of equipment that starts automatically. Never work on such equipment without first eliminating the possibility of automatic startup.
- Deenergize electrical equipment prior to working on it. Flash burns caused by electrical equipment shorting out is a threat to hands and fingers when work around such equipment is being performed.
- Be mindful when closing doors. Keep hands and fingers clear. Also, watch for children’s fingers in the family car.
- Avoid touching lines or equipment that is hot. Every hot line or hot piece of equipment is a potential source of painful injury to any hand or finger that comes in contact with it.
- If the work being performed requires gloves, use them. Gloves offer protection from sharp objects, wood and metal splinters, acids, electrical burns, chemicals, and many other sources of injury. Do not wear gloves if wearing them presents a greater danger of fingers and hands being pulled into machinery or equipment.