You’re about to start seeing the hashtag #SafeHands a lot more. Why? Because workplace hand injuries are hurting a lot of people. The hand is the second most common body part injured in the workplace, reported Industrial Safety & Hygiene News.

Hand Injuries Are a Big Problem

More than 42% of nonfatal occupational injuries to upper extremities in 2017 involving days away from work in private industry involved hands. Of the 286,150 nonfatal occupational injuries to upper extremities in 2017 involving days away from work in private industry, 121,860 involved hands, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Hand Injuries Are a Costly Problem

A hand injury can cost from $540 to $26,000, according to the National Safety Council. For employers, think lost productivity, workers comp and liability insurance costs. For workers, think medical costs, inability to work, and a host of hassles and expenses that come with serious injuries.

Hand Injuries Are a Preventable Problem

The problem is not only tragic and expensive, it’s really frustrating to anyone who cares about safety, because — according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) — 70.9 percent of hand and arm injuries could have been prevented with personal protective equipment, specifically safety gloves. Yet, 70% of workers don’t wear hand protection. And of those who do, 30% don’t wear the right kind of glove for the task.

How ISEA Is Helping

  • The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) launched an awareness and education campaign this year to help workers and employers grasp the importance of #SafeHands, in collaboration with the National Waste and Recycling Association. Visit org for details.

  • ISEA also released an industry-wide standard designed for industrial gloves to protect workers. The new standard — ANSI/ISEA 138-2019, American National Standard for Performance and Classification for Impact Resistant Hand Protection — builds upon the widely used ANSI/ISEA 105-2016, American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification. Copies of ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 and ANSI/ISEA 138-2019 can be purchased online from ISEA and from ANSI’s licensed resellers.

The bottom line: Hand impacts, cuts and punctures are preventable. And hand protection is vital for a safe workplace. Visit safehandsatwork.org

Questions? Email Lydia Baugh, ISEA’s director of external relations, at [email protected], or call ISEA at 703-525-1695.