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Hand Safety and Injury Prevention Toolbox Talk

Use this hand safety toolbox talk to learn how to avoid common hand injuries on the jobsite.

Hand Safety and Injury Prevention Safety Talk

You use your hands in some way for virtually every task you perform at work, so hands are constantly at risk for injury.

It is critical that you keep your fingers and hands out of the way and protected when working with dangerous tools and machinery. A serious injury to your fingers or hands can result in a negative impact on your ability to work and your quality of life.

Gloves are the most common type of personal protective equipment to help with the prevention of hand injuries.

Hand injury statistics

Hand injuries are very common on a construction job site, and they are the second leading type of injury in the workplace. Over 1 million workers are treated in the emergency room annually for hand injuries. This results in over 100,000 lost time cases for employers.

70% of those patients treated for hand injuries were not wearing gloves when the injury occurred. Another 30% of the victims had gloves on, but the gloves did not protect them because they were damaged or were inadequate for the task that was being completed.

Hand injuries are far too common in construction. Many can easily be avoided if the right safety precautions are taken.

Common causes of hand injuries

The most common causes of hand injuries on the jobsite are:

  • Carelessness

  • Lack of awareness

  • Boredom

  • Disregard for safety procedures

  • Distractions

Injuries to the hand may be caused by tools, machinery, materials, and other equipment.

Common hand injuries

There are three common types of hand injuries on a construction job site:.


Lacerations are the most common type of hand injury and are a tearing of the skin that results in an irregular wound. They are often caused by sharp objects or tools. In most cases, injury to tissue is minimal with a laceration, and infections are uncommon. But a laceration can occasionally result in a more serious complication.

Often lacerations are sustained due to the fact that a worker is not wearing proper hand protection like gloves, or they are wearing gloves that are inadequate for the task they are doing.

If you are performing a task and there is risk of getting cut or injured, you should always wear kevlar gloves. These can protect the hand against cutting or slicing motions., but not straight stabbing motions.

It is important that you use caution when you are operating any tool that can easily penetrate the skin and cause injury.

Crush injuries

Crush injuries usually occur when a worker has placed their hands in the line of fire between two objects or in a rotating piece of equipment.

Pinch points are defined as any point where it is possible for a body part to be caught between moving and stationary portions of equipment. Pinch points on equipment or tools also are common places for a crush injury to happen.


A fracture injury can occur when there is a sudden blow to the bones in the fingers or the hands. Often a fracture of the hand is caused by a fall. However, workers can also suffer a fracture because of falling objects, machinery accidents, explosions, malfunctioning power tools, and other hazards at a worksite. Fractures can range in severity from minor to severe and are sorted into two major classes: simple and compound fractures.

Simple fractures, also called closed fractures, are broken bones that remain within the body and do not penetrate the skin.

Compound fractures are also called open fractures and are broken bones that penetrate through the skin and expose the bone and deep tissues to the exterior environment.

Often a worker will break more than just one broken bone in an accident and could have several different fractures in the hand when a hand in jury occurs.

Construction worker using power saw to cut through concrete.

Other hand injuries

Other common types of hand and finger injuries at construction sites include:

  • Amputations

  • Stiff joints

  • Nerve damage

  • Paralysis

  • Burns

If you experience any type of injury it is important that you seek immediate medical attention and let your coworkers and your supervisor or foreman know as soon as possible.

Hand protection best practices

You can not possibly prevent every injury that could happen on a job site or know when the injury is going to happen. You should however be prepared and know some safe work practices that can prevent accidents and injuries for you and your coworkers.

  • Use tools to remove your hands from the line of fire when doing a work task that could result in injury to your hands or fingers. Using tools such as push sticks when using a table saw is an example of how you can remove your hands from the line of fire.

  • Avoid using fixed open blade knives. Always use a safety knife that limits the amount of blade that is exposed as well as has a safety feature that can retract the blade when pressure is let off the handle.

  • Never put your hand in an area where you can not see it.

  • Always wear the proper hand protection for the task you are doing. Understand the limitations of your gloves and what tasks they are appropriate for.

  • Never work on an energized piece of equipment. Lock and tag out the equipment to ensure there will not be an unintentional start-up while you are working on that piece of equipment.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and what others are doing.

If you are injured on a job site, you should report your hand injury to your supervisor or foreman as soon as possible. If you need to seek medical help also make sure you do so immediately.

If you have questions about safety hazards or how to perform a task safely, do not be afraid to speak up and ask questions. It is your job to keep yourself safe as well as others that are on the job site.

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