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5 Best Practices to Reduce Hand Injuries in the Construction Industry

by Frank MacDonald on May 11, 2016

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Did you catch our recent webinar on Construction Safety with D3O‘s Dan Branson? If you missed it, here’s a recap of some of the strategies that you can implement in order to make your construction site a much safer place.

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Why Construction?

After surveying hundreds of customers, we discovered that the construction industry was the among the highest for hand injuries. We found these results to be a bit unnerving; the average rate of hand injuries (reported to us, not to OSHA) was 5.4 per 100 employees per year. The number one reported injury was cuts, with bruises from impacts a close second. Shockingly, we also found out that many of the construction companies we spoke to were paying an average of $5-8/pair for their work gloves but only expected to get about 10 days out of each pair.

While all of these facts were fascinating, the most interesting statistic we found was when we crunched the numbers based on company size. We discovered that construction companies with less than 100 employees reported 32 hand injuries per 100 employees, companies with 100-1500 employees reported 6 hand injuries per 100 employees, and companies with 500+ employees had slightly less than 1 hand injury (0.8) per 100 employees.

This means that if you’re working at a company of less 100 employees, you’re 40x more likely to suffer a hand injury than if you work at a company with 500 or more employees!

These statistics frightened us, and that’s why we decided to dedicate our next webinar to safety in the construction industry.

Here are five ways to make your construction site much safer:

1. Make Safety Your #1 Priority:

First and foremost, make safety your number one priority. According to the Journal of Project Management, companies who had safety managers on site were 3.5 times less likely to have incidences than those without a safety manager onsite. Also, companies who rated safety as their #1 priority (on a scale from 1 to 7, with 1 being the highest factor) were 5.8x less likely to have an accident than companies who rated safety as a 4 or below. Unsurprisingly, construction companies with an in-house safety program that was based on more than just standard OHSA regulations have fewer injuries and illnesses than those who do not; because the programs are more tailored to real life concerns within the workplace, workers were much more likely to take their safety program to heart.

(Looking for ways to foster a sense of safety in your workplace? We can help.)

2. Ensure that Everyone Receives Proper Training:

The Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine recently conducted a study using union health insurance, worker training records, and compensation data for more than 8000 workers in the Washington area. They discovered that workers who were provided with adequate health and safety training were 12% less likely to file for worker compensation than those who didn’t. Workers aged 16 to 24 years old who received proper training were also found to have a 42% reduction in claims.

The moral of the story? Make sure that everyone on the site receives the training that they need in order to get the job done in a productive but safe manner.

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3. Modify your Work Cycle:

Instead of, say, having a worker spend their entire morning using a jackhammer to break up a section of concrete, maybe have them switch it up a bit to another task that doesn’t require the use of a vibrating tool. That way, the worker will be much less likely to suffer injuries from the repeated strain. After some time, it’ll be safe for the worker to return to the original task.

When we’re on a tight schedule to get a job done, we often forget how important it can be to switch up tasks and take breaks. However, a commitment to modifying the work cycle and spreading jobs around will not only result in a decrease in the number of workplace injuries and incidents, but it’ll also make your workers feel less fatigued in the long run as well.

4. Catch Some Zs and Stay Active!

The American Journal of Industrial Medicine reported that some of the major factors that affect injury rates in the workplace include sleep disorders, young age (less than 30 years), and smoking (especially for major injuries). The journal also found that a lack of exercise significantly increase risk factors; those who regularly exercised were found to have fewer injuries and shorter absences when they were injured. So, don’t forget hit up that treadmill this weekend!

And last but certainly not least…

5. Buy Better Gloves:

It sounds simple, but it really is an easy fix to a huge problem: without even considering injury reduction, better quality gloves pay for themselves. Companies that paid $8/pair for gloves reported that the gloves lasted over 2x longer than gloves that cost $4/pair. Sometimes spending a little more on a quality product really does go a long way, so make sure you choose gloves with impressive cut and impact resistance (D3O, anyone?).

Not sure which work gloves are best suited to the construction industry? We’ve created a handy infographic to help you out.

Did you know that we also offer free samples to qualified businesses? Click the button below to request your free pair of one of our best-sellers for those in the construction industry: our 378GKGVB: Endura® Oilbloc™ Goatskin Kevlar®-Lined Anti-Impact Driver Gloves

Superior-Glove-378GKGVB-480-IMG

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