Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Hand Safety


Hand injuries are one of the most common injuries for personnel employed in drilling industry. This type of injury often causes permanent damage resulting in the loss of ability to play sport, loss of employment and severe disruptions to family and social lifestyles. These types of injuries include amputation of fingers, loss of dexterity and permanent tissue damage.


Causes & Prevention of Hand Injuries

Drilling industry:

  • Handling of drill pipe i.e. crushed fingers and cuts.
  • Use of hand tools, i.e., hitting hand with hammer or other tools.
  • Working with tongs, i.e. catching fingers in moving parts.
  • Exposure to chemicals causing skin damage, dermatitis etc.
  • Exposure to mechanical moving parts, i.e. amputation of fingers etc.
Prevention Strategies:
  • Heavy-duty gloves should be worn when completing hazardous activities that have the potential to cut and crush hands/fingers.
  • Chemical resistant gloves should be worn when handling chemicals; refer to the MSDS if unsure of the hazardous nature of the chemical.
  • A simple risk assessment should be conducted for all activities that have the potential to cause hand damage to ensure the person understands the hazards and how to avoid injuries.
  • Extreme care should be used when handling drill pipe, tongs, stilsons or other activities that are known to cause hand injuries.
  • SOPs have been produced for all high risk “hand activities”. When a new person arrives at the site he/she must be fully briefed and trained in safe work procedures before completing hazardous tasks.
  • All employees should be constantly assessing tasks. If a task appears to be unsafe then immediate action should be taken by reporting the unsafe work practice to the site manager and corrective action taken.
  • Use all tools correctly and ensure all guards are correctly fitted. 

Oil & Gas Industry:

  • Pinch points–Tong jaws, pipe spinner, elevator bails, nippling up BOPs.
  • Repetitive injuries–Running in and pulling out drill pipe/casing.
  • Moving/rotating parts–rotary table, travelling block, cathead, draw-works, rig winch.
Prevention Strategies:
  • Heavy-duty gloves should be worn for any hazardous activity that has the potential to cut and crush hands/fingers.
  • Chemical resistant gloves &/or barrier cream should be worn when handling chemicals; refer to the MSDS if unsure of the hazards.

Safe work practices for power tools

  • Use and maintain power tools in strict accordance with manufacturers recommendation
  • Ensure guards are correctly fitted.
  • Ensure the correct PPE is used.
  • Inspect cutting wheels and grinding discs and replace if defective.
  • Ensure all hand tools are in good condition prior to use and only use the tool for its intended purpose.
  • Use extreme caution near moving machinery; keep hands clear and ensure guards are in place. If maintenance is to be completed ensure isolation and tagout procedures are in place before commencing work.
  • Ensure all hot exhausts and mufflers etc. are correctly guarded.
  • Extreme care should be used when handling drill pipe, tongs, stilsons or other activities that are known to cause hand injuries.
  • JSAs have been produced for all high risk “hand activities”. All persons must be fully briefed and trained in safe work procedures before completing hazardous tasks. 


The Human Factor

Not all incidents are caused through engineering faults. Personal factors can have a huge impact on injury statistics; fatigue can lead to a lack of concentration or poor judgement, whilst alcohol and drug abuse slows your response time and alters your perception.

Complacency and a poor attitude have proven to be a consistently high risk factor. Anger and frustration on the job can be extremely dangerous. Also personal problems or personality clashes can get in the way of your performance. If you have a problem, sort it out.

If you don’t know – ask!

Focus on the job at hand, attend training courses with an open mind and always assess the risk and apply controls to hazardous tasks.

Your Hands are the most important tools that you have, always look after them.
The identification of hand injury hazards and the application of effective control measures will significantly reduce the risk and protect you against amputation or disfigurement.

Remember: you are the one who can prevent these incident.

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