At the end of this module, you will be able to:
- Identify and describe the parts of the hand
- Identify safety guidelines for working with your hands
- Identify the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with your hands
The following key questions are answered in this module:
What is the structure of the hand?
The hand includes 27 bones; bones are connected at the joints with cartilage; tendons attached to the bones and muscles help the fingers move; ligaments prevent improper movement; muscles in the hand typically start in the arm; nerves carry information to and from the brain; and blood vessels carry blood (and therefore oxygen and nutrients) to the tissues of the hand.
What's the best way to protect my hands at work?
Think ahead, consider hazards, and protect yourself from them before you expose yourself.
What is the most common cause of hand injuries at workplaces?
Machines and equipment with moving parts.
How can I protect myself?
Use machines, equipment, and tools safely and in their intended manner; avoid wearing loose, dangling clothes and jewelry; keep machine guards in place; avoid pinch points and other hazards.
What about temperature?
Use appropriate PPE to guard from exposure to heat and cold.
What about electricity?
Electrical hazards, including shock, can be avoided by using common electrical safety practices, including wearing PPE and not working on powered equipment.
What about chemicals and other corrosives?
Use chemical gloves specific to the chemical hazards you are working with; dispose of gloves when appropriate.
What are ergonomic hazards?
Injuries caused by repeated motions, vibrations, and other hazards. Make sure your work station is designed to avoid these.
What are examples of PPE for hand safety?
In many cases, gloves are appropriate. There are many types of protective gloves-select the gloves that match the hazard you may be exposed to.
What should I do if I have a hand injury?
Report it and get first aid and/or seek medical care.
Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:
It is helpful to understand the physical structure of the hands in order to better protect yourself against hand injuries. There are 27 bones in the human hand, including the carpals, metacarpals and phalanges. The bones are connected at the joints with white, rubbery cartilage which allows smooth movement. Tendons in the hand cause each finger joint to straighten and bend, while ligaments prevent improper movement. Most of the muscles in the hand start at the elbow or forearm. They control wrist movement, finger movement and thumb opposition. Nerves carry sensation and control signals back and forth from the brain. Blood vessels run throughout the arm and hand, supplying oxygen and nutrition to all the other tissues. The large radial artery on the inside of the wrist is the spot where a pulse is commonly taken.
Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:
- U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) – www.osha.gov
- OSHA Safety and Health Topics - https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/personalprotectiveequipment/index.html
- OSHA Fact Sheets - https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/ppe-factsheet.pdf
- OSHA Training Publications - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3151.html