Keep Hands and Fingers Safe During Home Improvement Projects

Posted on: August 10th, 2021 by Dr. Jude Perez

Household do-it-yourself projects keep us busy – they can be fun and entertaining but also dangerous when proper care isn’t taken when doing the work and using tools and machinery.

Spending on home improvements and repairs grew more than 3% to nearly $420 billion as households modified living spaces for work, school, and leisure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Improving America’s Housing 2021, a report released by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

At the same time, in 2020 alone, more than 775,000 injuries were related to housework and home improvement projects.

When it comes to home improvement, our hands and fingers often face the greatest dangers. Fingers accounted for the greatest percentage of injuries most often caused by bench or table saws. Feet and hands accounted for a significant number of injuries, primarily because of nails, screws, or tacks.

It’s important to be mindful of keeping your hands safe while still getting them dirty. Read on for a few tips to not only improve your home but also improve safety for yourself and your family.

Prep yourself for the work. Stretching your hands and fingers will help prevent future issues from arising while working. By taking just a few moments to complete some hand and finger exercises prior to beginning your work, you can avoid stiffness and strains.

Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for pinch points, chains, gears, rollers, wheels and transmission belts. If machinery can be shut down prior to you working on it, do it.

Wear protective gloves. This one may seem obvious, but unfortunately many people don’t do it. This will protect you from cuts, scratches, and abrasions and take pressure off your finger joints and skin while working.

Leave extra room. When working with a crushing machine, don’t place your hand anywhere near the crush zone of the machine. It is too easy to misjudge where your hand is or for the machine to malfunction and cause injury.

Don’t test heat with hands. While waiting for something to cool down, never test the temperature by tapping it with your fingers.

Always use safety features. You should always engage the safety options whenever putting your hands or fingers into an area where they could be injured.

Know where your hands will go. When working with tools, it is important to understand where your hands will go if they slip. If your hands slip while using a hammer, for example, they could continue down into a hazardous area and sustain worse injury. Understanding where the momentum will lead can help to make smarter decisions on how tools are used.

Use the right tools. When using the wrong tools for a job, you expose yourself to unexpected risks. Tools are specifically designed to perform certain tasks, and when used for other things, they may break or cause injury. Especially to your hands and fingers.

Know when your injury needs medical treatment. Your fingertips are rich with nerves and are extremely sensitive. Without prompt and proper treatment, a fingertip injury can cause problems with hand function, and may even result in permanent deformity or disability.

We all know injuries (and accidents) happen. When they do, Injury Express is a great option for immediate, walk-in injury care at our clinics in Algonquin, McHenry and Rockford. Call us at 779-771-7000 if you have any questions or you can click any location at the link to reserve a walk-in time.

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