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April 14, 2015

7 Steps to Hand Safety

Gloves required
What does a jar of peanut butter have to do with hand safety? A number of U.S. Steel employees wondered the same thing at first. They soon learned the jars were part of a hand safety training exercise in which they tried opening the jar and performing other tasks without using their fingers or hands – a possible outcome if workplace hand safety rules are not followed.

You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to make hand safety a major part of your workplace program. The peanut butter exercise fits midway through a 7 step process proposed by a recent hand safety article in EHS Today. Interestingly enough, this is the first step that even brings employee involvement into the equation. The full list of steps is:

  1. Eliminating hazards where possible
  2. Upgrading equipment
  3. Re-engineering equipment
  4. Training
  5. Enforce policies and procedures
  6. Provide adequate PPE
  7. Evaluate and revise
Although this process may not be the perfect, “catch-all” solution for every workplace, it’s certainly a good place to start, especially if there are no in-depth safety measures addressing hands in place.

OSHA’s stance on the matter is quite clear, as its Personal Protective Equipment page notes, “If a workplace hazard assessment reveals that employees face potential injury to hands and arms that cannot be eliminated through engineering and work practice controls, employers must ensure that employees wear appropriate protection.”* Those still in doubt should consult the nearest jar of peanut butter-with restrictions, of course.

*From OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment Page

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