For most people, wearing gloves is second nature as a way to protect your hands. But there’s an exception to every rule – and if you work with machinery that has rotating or moving parts that you could touch, wearing gloves while using this machinery might be putting your fingers in danger.
There have been numerous severe finger and hand injuries — including amputations — documented in Massachusetts and across the country as a result of workers wearing gloves while operating machinery with accessible moving parts. Sometimes the gloves were being worn as protection but ended up contributing to the injury when the glove got caught in the moving part — pulling the operator’s finger or hand into the machine.
What’s more, this hazard is not limited to workers. Students participating in wood and/or metal shop class have had severe finger injuries or partial finger amputations as a result of using gloves while operating machinery with accessible moving parts.
In response, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently released a safety alert about removing gloves when using certain machinery.
How can these finger and hand injuries be prevented in the workplace and in schools?
- Never wear gloves when operating machinery with rotating or moving parts
- Never remove manufacturer-provided machine guards and safety devices
- Attach signs on machines reminding operators to remove gloves
- Have policies and procedures that specify where, when and what type of gloves should be used
This week’s blog is a guest blog from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Mass Public Health Blog. It was written by Michael Fiore, Occupational Fatality Projects Coordinator, Occupational Health Surveillnace Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
To check out more blogs from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, visit http://blog.mass.gov/publichealth/.