Hand Injury Prevention Guide (Spanish)
Poster: Hand Injury Prevention
Poster: Hand Injury Prevention (Spanish)
Poster: Hand Safety
Poster: Hand Safety (Spanish)
Poster: Head, Fingers, Eyes, and Toes
Poster: Head, Fingers, Eyes, and Toes (Spanish)

It seems that no matter what we're doing, we're always using our hands. Because we use them so often, our hands can be cut, bruised, punctured, fractured, and burned. This can occur during the course of work, at home, and during recreational activities. By recognizing hazards, using personal protective equipment, and following established safety rules and procedures, you can save your hands from injury and yourself from an unnecessary disability. There are times when it can be unsafe to wear gloves, such as when working with machinery with exposed moving parts. However, there are many activities where using a proper glove will prevent an injury or at least minimize the severity of the injury. 

  • When involved in material-handling activities, take the time to put on a good pair of leather gloves. Without the use of gloves, rough or sharp edges, burrs, protruding bolts, and wood splinters can all cause minor to severe lacerations and punctures.
  • Prior to handling chemicals, read the material safety data sheet (MSDS) to know what, if any, protection is needed, and follow the instructions. For example, if a butyl rubber glove is recommended, then a butyl glove should be used. Substituting a regular rubber glove, unless recommended, could prove disastrous. If unsure as to the proper protection, ask your supervisor.
  • When handling hot or extremely cold materials, a proper thermally-protected glove will guard against burns.
  • If handling glass or metal with very sharp edges or if using cutting materials, a cut-resistant glove would be best. 

The Right Tool

Always use the right tool for the job. Never substitute a wrench for a hammer, a screwdriver for a chisel, a pocketknife for a utility knife, etc. In addition to using the right tool, keep tools and equipment in good repair and maintain sharp cutting blades. 

  • Periodically inspect tools for cracks, wear, and proper function.
  • Repair or replace worn or cut power cords. Tools such as sockets and wrenches that are worn should be replaced to prevent slippage.
  • Dull utility knives or saw blades take more effort and force to cut materials. This can cause slipping or kick backs. Keep blades sharp! Don’t use broken tools! 


  • When working with machinery, make sure all guards are in place and properly adjusted. Never remove or circumvent guards as they are designed to protect you from coming in contact with potentially dangerous moving parts.
  • Some pieces of machinery, like presses and shears, are equipped with two-hand actuation controls that are designed to keep your hands out of harm's way. Never bypass safety controls in order to speed up work. Always be aware of where you put your hands. Areas without guard protection can still be dangerous. 

Repetitive Strains 

Hand strains can be caused from force, frequency of motion, hand position, and static grip. Avoid strains by: 

  • Periodically changing your grip and wrist position.
  • Taking mini-breaks for periodic hand, finger, and wrist stretches.
  • Utilizing tools with a properly-designed ergonomic grip.
  • Rotating through different job tasks. 

Dos and Don’ts

  • Do turn off power and use lockout procedures where appropriate, especially when cleaning, repairing, and inspecting machinery.
  • Do use a push stick when cutting on a table saw.
  • Don’t wear rings, watches, or bracelets, especially around machinery.
  • Don’t grab for dropped tools. 


It only takes a small distraction to lost concentration when using a tool or piece of equipment. Focus on what you are doing and don’t let yourself become distracted. When engaged in an activity involving tools or equipment, don’t talk to anyone until you’re done. Don’t interrupt coworkers when they are involved in an activity that demands their full attention. Never become distracted by other things going on around you. 


Before you start a job, take a minute to think through the task. Ask yourself:

  • What hazards are involved (chemical, thermal, mechanical)?
  • What precautions need to be taken (gloves, tools, push stick)?

Then follow through without taking shortcuts.

Additional Resources

WCF Insurance Safety Department
(385) 351-8103

Ask a Safety Consultant


NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.