WHS Safety Focus – Avoiding Hand Injuries

Hand injuries are one of the most common causes of workplace incidents!

We use our hands for almost all tasks at work, and in our daily lives. It’s important to properly protect our hands while working.

Types of hand injuries can include:

  • Cuts or lacerations from tools, machinery, or handling materials with sharp edges
  • Burns from coming into contact with heat (such as when welding, or doing other hot works)
  • Skin irritation or burns from handling chemicals in the workplace.
  • Grazes or abrasions from contact with rough surfaces (including sanders)
  • Crush injuries from falling objects, tools, or equipment with moving parts.

How to avoid hand injuries in the workplace:

  • Always wear the correct gloves for the job – this could mean changing gloves between tasks. If you’re not sure which hand protection is needed, check the safe working procedures for the task (SWP, SOP, JSA, or SWMS) and ask your supervisor.
  • Before working with chemicals, read the relevant Safety Data Sheet and follow the instructions given.
  • If possible, try to use tools rather than your hands. For example, use a brush rather than your fingers when clearing debris.
  • Try to identify any hand injury hazards before starting a task and think about how these can be eliminated or avoided. Talk with your supervisor about hazards that you spot.
  • Be cautious when working with your hands. For example, don’t put your hand somewhere where you can’t see it, and avoid rushing through tasks.

What’s next?

If you need new gloves, or your old gloves need replacing, contact your ETC and they will arrange this for you. Make sure to report any hand injuries to your host supervisor and your ETC.

If you have any WHS questions or concerns, please contact our WHS team.