Safety Vault Information Service

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A safety meeting in a nutshell

PREVENTING CUTS & LACERATIONS

Before you begin: Assess work operations, review accident reports as well as personal protective equipment available/required to prevent cuts and lacerations. Be prepared to use a question-and-answer format to encourage employee participation in the discussion. Encourage employees to provide examples of potential cut and laceration hazards as well as suggestions for improvements to your organizationís safety program.

Introduction: Each year, millions of workers suffer workplace injuries that could have been prevented. Some of the most common and preventable injuries are cuts and lacerations. Although statistical data differs from study to study, cuts and lacerations often rank as the second or third most frequent workplace injury. Approximately 30 percent of all workplace injuries involve cuts or lacerations, and about 70 percent of those injuries are to the hands or fingers. Common cut/laceration injuries (use examples relevant to your operations) include:

Note: Review past incidents/injuries involving cuts and lacerations. Have participants discuss the cause of the injuries and how the worker or the employer could have prevented the injuries from occurring. Review the items on the next page to determine if any of the injuries resulted from not following one or more of the listed items. Also, ask participants to identify other typical hazards/causes.

Typical hazards/causes of cuts and lacerations:

Prevention strategies: The key to preventing these injuries is keeping body parts away from hazards. Employers should establish work procedures to identify and control exposure to hazards. Ask participants to suggest control measures to minimize the risk for cuts and lacerations. Possible answers include:

One of the most common sources of cuts and lacerations is the use of knives and other cutting tools. Gather examples of utility knives and other cutting tools used at your facility and a copy of safety procedures regarding their use. Review your safety procedures, or use the following suggestions.

Knife/blade safety:

Gather examples of gloves or other personal protective equipment designed to minimize risk of cuts and lacerations.

Gloves: Selecting the right glove for the right application can improve worker safety and productivity. Comfort is one of the most important factors when selecting hand protection. If gloves are not comfortable, workers are less likely to wear them. Understanding the different types of gloves and their appropriate uses is important to a good hand-protection program.

Closing: With thorough analysis and planning, you can develop a prevention plan to help eliminate these types of injuries from your workplace. Thankfully, the number of cuts and lacerations reported decreases each year.

For more information: Contact the Association office for recommended programs, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or your state Workersí Comp department.

-- from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Safety Leaders Guide, 2009