Hand Safety Tips

Avoiding Ring Injuries. Always remove rings, loose jewelry or bracelets before participating in any sporting activity, physical labor or when operating machinery. A ring or other item of jewelry can easily become caught or snagged. Fingers can become jammed, sprained, bruised, broken, dislocated or even amputated. Wearing a ring can make it difficult to remove your hand if it becomes caught in something,

Wear Proper Gloves. An OSHA study showed that 70 percent of workers who injured their hands had failed to wear gloves, and the remaining 30 percent wore gloves that were inadequate, damaged or wrong for the type of hazard being protected against. Clearly, it is very important to wear gloves when appropriate and to make sure they are in good condition and right for the job.

Be Conscious of Hands and Arms. When working or playing sports and particularly when operating machinery — be conscious of where you place your hands and arms. Also be aware of gloves, shirt sleeves and loose clothing that can become tangled in tools or sports equipment, endangering hands and arms by disrupting proper body mechanics.

Be Careful with Machinery. Use caution when operating power tools. Check for safety before turning on machinery, making sure you are wearing gloves if necessary and checking jewelry as well as loose clothing. Make sure the equipment is turned off and parts have stopped moving before inspecting, performing maintenance or repairs. Do not remove shields, guards or safety devices.

Warm-up Exercises. Warming up before exercise is essential to preventing injury. Muscle, joint and tendon sprains are far more likely when the body is not properly prepared. The body should be eased into every activity. Begin at a slow pace, gradually increasing speed and intensity. For instance, when playing a racquet sport, begin by holding the racquet lightly, then tightening the grip and swinging with more power as your body becomes accustomed to the activity.

Stretching. Focus on the specific limbs you will be using and do not forget to stretch the whole body. Opposing muscle groups should be stretched one after another. Many workouts exert more muscles in your body than may be readily apparent.

Cooling Down. Cooling down by gradually slowing exercise, rather than stopping abruptly, is just as important as warming up for preventing injury, reducing soreness and maximizing results. Always be sure to allow time for proper rest and recovery time when exercising.