Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Study: Gloves Reduce the Risk of Hand Injuries

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Study: Gloves Reduce the Risk of Hand Injuries

Article excerpt

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that approximately 110,000 workers with hand and finger injuries lose days away from work annually--second only to back strain and sprain--but a new study shows that as many as 60 percent of those injuries could be eliminated through the use of appropriate hand protection.

Each year, more than 1 million U.S. workers receive treatment in emergency departments for acute hand injuries. To better understand the risk factors for hand injuries and to help reduce their occurrence, researchers at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, in collaboration with colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health, conducted a study of occupational acute hand injuries.

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Researchers examined seven potential transient (changing) risk factors in the occurrence of acute traumatic hand injury at work. The study found that the risk of hand injury was significantly elevated when equipment, tools or work pieces did not perform as expected, when workers used a different work method or performed an unusual task, and when workers were distracted and rushed. Further, the results indicate that glove use significantly reduced hand injury risk by 60 percent.

"These results provide a clearer view of some lesser-known risks for occupational acute hand injury," said study author David A. Lombardi, Ph.D., a researcher at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute. "By identifying these risk factors, we can help to guide the development of prevention strategies to reduce the incidence of work-related acute hand injuries. …

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