Laceration and hand injuries in the workplace are some of the most common injuries out there, especially when machines and tools are involved.
Lacerations in particular tend to happen over 70,000 times in a given year, sometimes much more.
The numbers are often higher during weekdays, with less injuries occurring on the weekends. Younger workers also tend to report higher numbers of lacerations while those aged between 18-24 report the highest proportion of lacerations. This percentage gradually declines with age and workers over the age of 65 report the least amount of lacerations.
Younger workers tend to have more laceration injuries simply because they are often much less experienced with the machinery and tools, but also because they tend to think they aren’t going to get injured. It’s that youthful sense of invincibility that can often cause a careless and avoidable accident, but more experienced workers aren’t without injury either. Accidents happen all the time, hence the overall large numbers involved when it comes to laceration injury statistics.
So, as an employer what can you do to prevent as many of these injuries as possible?
First of all, ensure that young workers (or any new workers) are well-trained with proper machine/tool usage. Also educate thoroughly on laceration prevention while training your employees, making sure that they understand the risks and statistics of laceration injury before they get on the job. Personal Protective Equipment should also be part of this safety training process. You definitely want your employees wearing any necessary eye or hand gear and knowing what the ricks entail if they forget.
It goes without saying that one of the biggest preventative measures you can take is to simply make sure your employees are well-educated on the statistics and realities of laceration injuries. Improper training, lack of safety rules/procedures, and failure to wear protection are some of the main reasons laceration injuries occur, so ensuring that training is thorough, safety rules are followed, and protection is worn are some of the most basic things you can do to minimize injuries in the workplace.
There will, of course, be those who follow all procedures and are well aware of the risks, but get injured anyway. This can occur sometimes due to missing or malfunctioning equipment, dull blades, rushing or getting distracted on the job, etc. There are countless reasons for laceration injuries in the workplace and given that they are one of the most common workplace injuries out there it’s inevitable to avoid them altogether. Even the most experienced workers will endure an injury at times, but taking all of the steps necessary to prevent them can drastically minimize the occurrence.
So, to recap various ways you can minimize lacerations in the workplace:
1.) Thoroughly train employees on machinery and tools
2.) Provide proper protection
3.) Educate on risks, statistics, and precautions
4.) Keep equipment well-maintained
5.) Establish safety guidelines and rules
6.) Keep work areas clean
7.) Sharpen blades (dull blades are more prone to cause injury)
8.) Replace dull blades
9.) Use guarded and protected blade tools when able
10.) Never leave blades unattended
The better informed an employee is, regardless of experience or age, the better able an employer will be able to prevent these types of injuries from occurring. Being proactive in this case is a huge benefit when it comes to minimizing laceration injuries, so if you follow these tips you should be able to experience far less workplace injuries which is a definite win-win for everyone involved.