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Hand And Finger Injury Risks in the Oil Industry

hand and finger injury in oil industry

Oil and gas industry jobs are among the riskiest and most dangerous in the world. Apart from the usual fire and explosion hazards, injuries to hands and fingers lead the recordable incident rates in the oil and gas industry, accounting for almost a quarter of total lost-time incidents.

The considerable share of manual work in the industry jobs, and the compulsion to perform many of the tasks near moving components, are two of the primary reasons for the prolific number of hand and finger injuries in the oil industry.

Common Hand and Finger Safety Hazards in the Oil Industry

The risks faced by workers in the oil industry include fingers and hands being cut, pinched, hit, burned, and punctured. Hands face risks of getting caught between objects and struck by heat, chemicals, vibration, cold, and biological or infectious agents.

Our hands and fingers have more nerve endings for every square centimeter than any other human body part. This makes the hand and finger injuries much more painful than similar injuries to any other parts of our bodies.

The employers try to mitigate risks of hand and finger injuries with gloves for the workers, but there can be instances during the discharge of their duties when workers might be unable to wear them. In an OSHA study, it was found that 70 percent of workers who sustained hand injuries were not wearing gloves at the time of their accident.

Ways to Minimize Hand and Finger Injuries in Oil Industry

Risk Assessment of the Hazardous Environment

Identifying related hazards in the work environment, and communication, are key factors in reducing hand and finger injuries. The next step in this process will involve defining suitable measures to minimize employee exposure by getting rid of hands-on activities through application of engineering controls.

To properly understand the risks that workers face, the optimum risk assessment plan should involve a survey of the work environment and a hand safety site analysis solely from the hazard vantage point of hands and fingers.

Putting Controls in Place to Mitigate Hazards

This would involve well-defined policies that outline and communicate hand safety procedures to the workers in a manner that makes it easy for them to comply with the objectives. Standardization of gloves to promote proper glove usage and starting a sign-out process for employees to get new gloves is another control measure that can raise safety awareness.

Constant Communication About Hand Safety Awareness

The key factors in keeping the safety aspect top of the mind are communication, training, and workers’ involvement. The topic of hand safety needs to be discussed regularly through new ideas and new materials, to prevent the topic from getting mundane, with constant efforts to keep employee participation high.

Selecting the Proper Protection

As per an OSHA study, 30 percent of injuries occur because of damaged or inadequate hand protection, thus making the right choices in protection extremely critical in the prevention of hand injuries. Some of the essentials to keep in mind while choosing proper protection are:

  • Selecting high-performance task-specific hand protection
  • Providing impact-and cut-resistant protection
  • Increasing visibility
  • Ensuring the proper fit

Equipment Maintenance and Upgrade 

While it’s critical to purchase the right equipment and durable gloves, it is equally vital to maintain the equipment to ensure its longevity and smooth functioning. Cleaning, washing, and air-drying the gloves prolongs their life and keeps them in prime operational condition.

Other Considerations

  • The use of warning stickers and color coding to clearly identify hazardous areas increases worker awareness and brings down the number of hand and finger injuries.
  • Regular inspections to check that the built-in safeguards on machines are not compromised is fundamental for the protection of hands and fingers.
  • Regular inspections to check hand tools and the use of proper protective tools plays a significant role in the prevention of hand and finger injuries.
  • Banning the use of hazardous tools, like adjustable wrenches that are prone to slip, helps in reducing the likelihood of hand and finger injuries.
  • Forbidding workers from wearing jewelry at work, as pieces of jewelry getting caught in pinch points injures thousands of people each year.  

Applying Comprehensive Solutions to Reduce Injuries

Unfortunately, and despite all the efforts by oil and gas companies, the number of hand and finger injuries keeps increasing each year. There can be no single solution for this problem and a range of control measures, such as the use of improved technology and increased employee involvement, need to be included in prevention strategies.

Contact an Experienced Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you are the victim of a workplace injury, caused by negligence or wrongdoing, you are legally entitled to seek and recover compensation for your injuries and damages. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Trainor Law Firm, with their innate understanding of the legal strategies and in-depth knowledge of trial methods, are known to obtain favorable results for their clients.

Our lawyers are completely clued to the nuances of how insurance companies operate, and we use this knowledge and expertise to recover the maximum possible compensation for your injury claim. Call us today at 985-900-2250 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.

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