Hand tools are used in all kinds of industries. Perhaps not surprisingly, they can cause some significant injuries if they’re used incorrectly. There are some common injuries seen with hand tool use, such as bruises, cuts and lacerations, but there are other issues that can arise as well.
The ergonomics of the tool that is being used also plays a role in if a person gets hurt or can use it safely. For example, a heavy drill may shake and cause strain while it’s being used. Hammering for many hours could lead to tennis elbow from overuse.
What are some of the more common musculoskeletal injuries caused by hand tools?
Some of the more common injuries caused by hand tools include:
- De Quervain’s syndrome, which is a painful condition affecting the tendons of the thumb
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
To avoid injuries, it’s important for workers and their employers to go over safety techniques and guidelines that apply to hand tool use. Understanding the signs of a repetitive use injury and ways to mitigate the risk of repetitive stress is vital to helping people avoid injuries.
What should employers do to help their workers avoid injuries when using hand tools?
There are a few things they can do. First, they should discuss purchasing tools that are more ergonomically sound or fitted to the specific employees. For example, a heavy drill may be fine for a larger male employee, but a smaller tool may fit better into the hands of a female employee. This is something to be considerate of, since the weight and grip of a tool could impact its ergonomics.
Another step employers should take is to make sure everyone has safety training with each tool they’ll use. They should teach employees to recognize repetitive-stress and other forms of injury, so that they report an injury as soon as possible. Then, if they’re hurt, they can seek medical attention and support with workers’ compensation.