How to protect one of your most important tools
How do injuries happen?
The main cause of damage to the hands is the repetitive actions that you do throughout the day that will affect your fingers, hands and wrists. Other injuries may result from too much pressure on joints or excessive movement.
Consider these easy methods that you can use to help you protect your most valuable assets as a tradesperson.
Avoid repetitive activities
Too much of the same activity will cause repetitive strain injury (RTS), which can also lead to conditions such as arthritis.
Organise your equipment
Keeping your equipment nearby and in good order means that you will be able to easily reach it, not over stretching or twisting the wrists.
All about angles
Keep your wrists at the same angle as your work surface. If you have your wrists on an angle whilst working, you will likely cause wear and tear to your joints. Again, this can lead to conditions such as arthritis later in life.
Take regular breaks
Taking regular breaks will allow you to rest your hands. You can also give your hands short rests by alternating between your left and right throughout the day. Make sure that you also stretch at regular intervals to keep your muscles loose. Tight muscles are likely to lead to stiffness, pain and lack of flexibility.
Choose your equipment carefully
When choosing the tools that you will use regularly, make sure that they have smooth or padded handles. They will cause less wear on your hands and are less likely to pinch your skin. Your tools should also be longer than the palm of your hand and be designed to allow you to work with straight wrists. Tools that require a grip should also be no wider than 5cm in diameter, any longer will likely cause a weaker grip.
Your hands should never be stretched enough to cause discomfort, so make sure you buy tools which don’t overstretch your hands.
Choosing the right power tools
When selecting your power tools, see if you can use the trigger with your thumb and middle finger. This means that when you use your index finger to pull the trigger, your tool will be evenly balanced, giving you more control.
Excessive vibration is likely to cause circulation damage, pinched nerves or stressed tendons. Make sure that your power tools are also not giving off too much vibration. If your tools give off unavoidable vibrations, such as a jack hammer, wear gloves which can absorb the vibration.