Woodwork is a very hands-on craft and can pose a variety of hazards to the hands. These dangers are mostly as a result of the kind of tools and machines used.
They could also be due to various factors like absent-mindedness, lack of safety gear and precautions, or some mistake. Accidents are generally undesirable, and you must, therefore, know how to avoid them.
The Different Woodworking Hand Injuries
Hand injuries account for roughly 20 percent of the severe home and workplace damages. This high statistic is a result of the kind of tools used, especially in woodwork. They are mostly power tools like chain saws, drills, nail guns, and the like. There are several of such wounds that could result from accidents during their use, including lacerations, punctures, crushes, fractures, and avulsions.
Importance of Safety
Safety is an essential concept in every human activity. Accidents could occur almost anywhere and more so when handling heavy or dangerous equipment or machinery. Hence, there’s a need to take appropriate measures to avoid orthopedic injuries. They are usually extremely painful and might require a lengthy healing period, depending on the type and gravity of the damage.
Every woodworker and craftsperson should be conversant with the rules of safety, whether it’s a hobby for you or a vocation. No matter how careful a person thinks they are, accidents can happen, and following these rules reduces the chances of injury. A few tips to prevent such events are discussed subsequently in this article.
·Use Safety Gear
This step is the first one in ensuring the prevention of injuries. They can be known as personal protective equipment (PPE) and are essential in every workshop or woodworking space. Gears like face shields, earplugs, respirators (to prevent harm from sawdust and volatile compounds in the work environment), and boots. For the hands specifically, gloves are used.
Gloves to Use
Appropriate leather, cut resistant gloves should be worn in addition to those to protect other body parts. They must be of optimum size and fit right so that it doesn’t get caught in the machinery. You should know that some tools aren’t usable while wearing gloves‒ find out from their manuals. Hence, other methods of protection are necessary.
·Wear Suitable Clothing
Many people underestimate the need for appropriate clothing in the workspace. Loose-fitting outfits can easily hang on or get attached to benches or equipment on the desk, so avoid them. Work attire should be fit and free from hanging edges. Also, you should remove hand jewelry like bracelets, watches, and rings while working.
·Optimize Your work Areas
Work areas should be well lit and spacious enough to enable free movement without bumping into things or other people. The workbenches and their surroundings must be free from clutter and any objects that are unnecessary or not in use. There must be an organized arrangement of machines as well, and the recreational space should be free from work tools.
·Organize or Attend Safety Programs
The essence of organizing such programs is to inform woodworkers in an establishment or community about safety rules and procedures they ought to follow. Education is an effective way to ensure that all the individuals involved are well informed. This step reduces the risk of accidents because it serves to increase consciousness of hazards, and thence raises cautiousness.
·Handle Tools Appropriately
Woodworkers should be versed in the appropriate way to handle all their tools. They should know the safety features of each and how to use them to reduce the damage tendencies. Most power tools have safety devices that must be enabled. You could also employ some useful techniques like holding nails in place with pliers rather than between your fingers. Endeavor to read the instructions for each tool before use.
·Do Hand Exercises
Some exercises strengthen the hand muscles and stretch the tendons to increase the flexibility of the wrists and fingers. It helps the craftsman to have a better grip on the tools and prevents stress on joints like the wrist. These exercises would cause you to handle tools and equipment firmly and delay tiredness in the hand muscles that could result in slippage.
Easy Hand Exercises
Expertly trained orthopedic professionals recommend certain easy exercise routines for the hand. A few of them include the fistball, finger stretch, claw stretch, grip strengthener, pinch strengthener, finger lift, thumb extension, thumb flex, thumb stretches, and playing with clay. They help increase the hand range of motion, and the beauty is that you can do them anywhere and anytime.
·Avoid Intoxicating Substances
Anyone working with a power tool must avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. They alter the consciousness and alertness of the body. Such elements make the individual prone to making mistakes. Adhere to the tips provided, and your hands will be safe.