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Crushing Hazards – Hand Placement

Do you remember slamming the car door on your finger/s when you were young? How about smashing your thumb with a hammer? I remember quite well the intense pain that accompanied the blow and the dark purplish colors that my finger turned into afterwards. I distinctly remember thinking, “I’ll never let this happen again.”

Why do these injuries still occur?

One would think that after such painful mistakes that all who suffered from them would ensure that this particular hazard would be controlled and avoided thereafter. It remains one of the most common injuries of the modern age and continues to plague the construction industry throughout. Complacency and rushing are two common factors leading to hand crushing injuries. If you’re not monitoring your hand placement at all times, you’ll most likely eventually suffer from intense pain and develop dark purplish colors in that area of your body.

How do workers combat this common error of judgement?

Practicing 4 seconds for safety will keep your digits safe every time. Get into the habit of asking yourself each time you place your hand/s somewhere, Is this hand placement safe? What are the consequences for my hands and fingers if left in the current position?” Take a few seconds to really analyze the consequences of your hasty decision. Place your hands where you KNOW there won’t be any repercussions. Put them in a safe place where you can forget about them and concentrate on lifting, moving or otherwise.

There are two main attributes that separate us from the other animals – our ability to reason, and our opposable thumbs. Utilize both of these attributes consciously and you’ll be almost guaranteed to be safe and sound. Forget one or the other and an injury is practically unavoidable.

Proper hand placement is crucial to personal safety. The most common hazards are the crushing type mostly due to inattention to task. Not taking a few seconds to think about the consequences of each step in a given task can cost you in the end.

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