Hand and finger injuries are among the most common work place injuries.
The National Safety Council has many articles and presentations pertaining to hand and finger safety. A good place to start reading about how to protect your hands and fingers can be found in this National Safety Council slide deck.
Many hand injuries can be eliminated by simply wearing the correct type of gloves for the job being preformed.
There is a huge selection of gloves available that protect a person’s hands and fingers from exposure to chemicals, cuts and abrasions, cold and heat, and even electrical shock hazards.
There are many sources to help workers select the proper gloves for a given job. These sources include OSHA, many health and safety companies, colleges and universities; corporate EHS departs, and research organizations. Most suppliers of safety gloves have guides to help users select the most appropriate gloves for the job or task.
Colleges and Universities have published a large volume of information related to the use of gloves for hand and finger protection.
For example Florida Gulf Coast University’s EHS department has published this guide to chemical glove protection and the University of Wisconsin published the article on general hand and arm protection for its EHS staff. The University of California San Diego has this web page.
The University of Colorado at Boulder has put together a good guide to assist workers and EHS professionals understand how to select the proper hand protection. Take a moment to read their guide: http://www.colorado.edu/physics/SmalyukhLab/Glove%20Protection%20and%20Selection%20Guide.12_08.pdf
The Department of Homeland Security has an extensive guide to PPE selection in general with specific sections on glove selection. This document is mainly intended for first responders, but it has a lot of good information that can be used in the everyday work place.
With any safety product users should always consult the manufactures specifications and recommendations for their current products. Products do change over time and manufactures update their product catalogs with the most up to date information frequently. When working with chemical hazards, it is especially important to make sure that the workers understand what chemicals they will be using and to double check with the glove manufacture to confirm that the correct glove is selected for the specific chemical hazard.
For more hand safety, check out our look at hand safety as it relates to the use of fireworks here.