Tips to Enhance Hand Safety at Work During Winter
Hand injuries are among the most common injuries in the workplace. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited by Occupational Health & Safety magazine, an estimated 1 million workers need emergency medical care annually due to severe hand injuries. A study by the U.S. Department of Labor found that about 23% of all work-related injuries involve the hands or fingers, indicating that hand injuries are a significant concern in workplace safety. It’s important to note that the National Safety Council’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that hand injuries are a prevalent type of injury, following back-related injuries. The data further highlights the need for proper safety measures and personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace to prevent such injuries.
In 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, marking a 7.5% increase from 2021. This figure included both injuries and illnesses, with injuries being more common. Specifically, there were about 2.3 million reported injury cases compared to 460,700 illness cases. The increase in reported cases was partly attributed to respiratory illnesses. Approximately 1.1 million cases required a job transfer or modified duty due to medical restrictions, with a median duration of fifteen days for these adjustments.
For detailed information on workplace injuries and illnesses reported in 2022, you can refer to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report and the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts website.
Whether you were injured at a construction site, due to poor quality of personal protective equipment, by defective machinery, by a burn accident or any number of other work-related accidents, Workers Compensation Lawyers at the Strom Law Firm can assist you in getting the compensation you are entitled to. Our workers comp lawyers are experienced in seeking justice on behalf of employees who have been injured or killed on the job, whether they work for private companies or local, county, city, and state governments.
Keeping your hands safe in the workplace during winter involves a combination of proper attire, skin care, and awareness of environmental hazards. Here are some tips:
Wear Proper Gloves
Choose gloves that are suitable for your work and the weather conditions. Insulated gloves are great for cold environments, but make sure they don’t hinder your ability to perform tasks safely. If you’re working with machinery or tools, ensure the gloves are also cut-resistant.
Selecting proper winter work gloves is crucial for maintaining both comfort and safety in cold work environments. Here are key factors to consider when choosing winter work gloves:
Insulation: Look for gloves that offer adequate insulation without compromising dexterity. Thinsulate, a synthetic fiber, is a common insulation material known for its warmth and thin profile.
Water Resistance: In wet conditions, water-resistant or waterproof gloves are essential. Materials like rubber or synthetic fibers often provide good water resistance.
Dexterity and Flexibility: Ensure the gloves allow enough movement for the tasks at hand. Gloves that are too bulky can hinder the ability to perform precise tasks.
Durability: Choose gloves made from materials that can withstand the wear and tear of your work. Leather, for instance, is durable and offers good protection, while synthetic materials can be more resistant to chemicals and water.
Grip: Look for gloves with enhanced grip features, especially if you’ll be handling tools or equipment. Many winter gloves come with rubberized or textured palms and fingers for this purpose.
Size and Fit: Properly fitting gloves are crucial. Gloves that are too tight can restrict blood flow, leading to colder hands, while gloves that are too loose can decrease dexterity and control.
Breathability: Breathable materials help manage moisture and reduce sweat buildup, which can lead to cold hands.
Safety Standards: If you’re working in hazardous conditions, ensure the gloves meet relevant safety standards for your industry (e.g., cut resistance, chemical resistance).
Cuff Style: Cuffs that extend over the wrist can prevent cold air and snow from entering. Some styles have adjustable straps for a snug fit.
Special Features: Consider any additional features that may be beneficial, such as touch-screen compatibility for digital device use or reflective elements for visibility.
Remember, the best glove for you depends on the specific conditions and requirements of your work environment. It’s often helpful to read reviews or get recommendations from colleagues in similar job roles.
Keep Your Hands Dry
Wet hands can lead to frostbite in cold temperatures. Use waterproof gloves if you are working with liquids or in wet conditions. Have an extra pair of gloves so you can change them if they get wet.
Moisturize Your Skin
Cold air can dry out your skin, leading to cracks and splits, which can be painful and expose you to infections. Use a good quality moisturizer regularly throughout the day.
Overall body warmth contributes to hand warmth. Wear appropriate layers to keep your core temperature up, which in turn helps to keep your extremities, like your hands, warm.
Take Regular Breaks
If you are working in extremely cold conditions, take regular breaks in a warm area to prevent your hands from getting too cold.
Be Aware of Signs of Frostbite
Numbness, tingling, or discoloration (like white or blue skin) are signs of frostbite. If you notice these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Avoid Direct Contact with Metal and Liquids
In cold temperatures, direct contact with metal objects and cold liquids can rapidly decrease the temperature of your hands, increasing the risk of frostbite.
Exercise Your Fingers
Regularly move your fingers and clench your fists to keep the blood circulating and to maintain warmth.
Be Cautious with Heating Devices
While it might be tempting to use heating pads or warm water to warm up your hands quickly, be cautious as these can lead to burns, especially if your hands are numb.
Know the risks associated with your specific work environment and how to address them. Being informed is one of the best ways to prevent accidents and injuries.
Remember, the key to keeping your hands safe in the winter workplace is to prepare appropriately, stay informed, and be vigilant about the conditions you’re working in.
Call the Strom Law Firm Today for a Free Workers Comp Consultation
The Strom Law Firm, LLC understands the impact that a work-related accident, injury, or illness has upon you and your loved ones. The most important thing you need to focus on is a speedy recovery. Let our team be the advocates who will seek justice on your behalf. Call 803.252.4800 to discuss the facts of your case or to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. We’re here to help.