International Men’s Health Week 2022; a week where men everywhere are encouraged to give themselves an MOT on their health and wellbeing.
This year, at STALSEN, we wanted to put the health and safety of our hands in the spotlight. Our hands are our most indispensable tools that we count on all day, every day, but what’s more, our hands come with no spare parts!
Traditionally there has been a real stigma attached to healthy hands, particularly in the construction industry. “Smooth hands have never done a day’s work in their life” may be a typical comment we are familiar with hearing. Hands that are dirty, rough, cut, scarred, have been seen as a symbol of strength, resilience, and toughness. It is this type of mindset that in turn impacts behaviours when selecting the appropriate hand protection, or worse still, wearing no hand protection at all!
When running an MOT, it’s not necessarily about what can be seen by just looking at our hands. We encourage everyone to challenge our everyday behaviours and habits, as these are the things that will impact the health and usefulness of our hands later in life.
When gambling with the protection of your hands, through not wearing safety gloves or wearing insufficient protection, there’s no guarantee on the severity of a potential injury – we’ve seen anything from a slight nick to the skin, right through to amputations. And what may appear a seemingly minor injury can still significantly affect our hands’ usefulness and adaptability; in some cases, leading to long-term conditions such as chronic arthritis.
We also need to consider for the health of our hands. Did you know that Construction operatives are more than twice as likely to develop contact dermatitis, as those working within other industries?
Furthermore, hand health conditions are notoriously difficult to spot immediately. One H&S Manager recently commented, “These health problems can take root without any sign, and it is this lack of immediate signals which means that often no action is taken in the short-term to prevent them.”
So, this year, we encourage all operatives to stop and think about the things we expose our hands to on a daily basis at work. Let’s break the stigma, confront traditions, and challenge our habits and behaviours.
Please speak out and click here if you have concerns – we’re here to support and help in any way we can!
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