Reducing Injuries


Make injury reduction your goal, whether you’re at work, at home, or at play. Teach your children when they’re young that safety pays. Make safety a way of life.


Head Injuries


Head injuries are the leading cause of death due to trauma. Our brain is composed of a soft material protected by the skull. If the skull is struck hard enough, the brain can smash against it, causing blood vessels to bleed and create pressure on the brain. Sometimes surprisingly little force is needed to cause this damage. We have to protect our heads. The best way to do this is to wear the appropriate head protection for the activity you’re participating in. This has proved to greatly reduce injury and death.


Eye Injuries


Our vision is one of the most precious gifts we have. It’s all too easy to damage our eyes, causing permanent disability. No one wants to lose their sight.



One man I attended was grinding a piece of metal when a portion broke off and lodged in his eye. After I questioned him, he told me he never used safety goggles because he couldn’t see anything through them. I noticed his goggles were hanging from the grinder and covered with a thick layer of dust and grit. Obviously he hadn’t cleaned or used them for quite some time.



To protect your vision:


·       Never take chances with your eyes. Wear the appropriate eye protection when cutting, grinding, or using the lawnmower or chemicals.


·       You may be tempted to close your eyes, or look away for a second or two, when grinding or cutting materials. This will not protect your eyes. Wear proper eye protection.


·       Keep safety equipment in good condition and make sure it’s handy for use.


·       Read the safety directions before using any chemicals, and wear goggles and gloves when handling any kind of chemicals. If you do get a chemical in the eye, flush the affected eye for at least 15 minutes with water. (Avoid running the water into the unaffected eye.) Speedy removal of the chemical is crucial in this type of injury. Call EMS.


·       Never attempt to remove objects that are imbedded in the eye. Seek medical aid.


·       If you get flash burns to the eyes from welding, the symptoms can take hours to show up. There will be extreme pain and eyes will become very sensitive to light. Seek medical aid.



Hand Injuries


Many tools that we use at home can injure hands and fingers. Serious injuries to the hands are common calls for paramedics. It takes only one second of inattention or carelessness when using a hand or power tool to cause a serious injury.


Protect your hands:


·       Pay attention to the job you’re doing. Use the safety guards provided with the tools.


·       Know when to use safety gloves and when not to. It can be dangerous to use gloves on rotating machinery; the glove might pull your hand into the machinery if it gets caught.


·       Avoid wearing long, loose sleeves when using rotating tools. They can snag and entangle your arm.


·       Remove rings when working with machinery. They could get caught and seriously injure your finger or pull your arm into the piece of machinery.


·       Never stick your fingers into machinery or tools where they can become caught, cut, chopped, or pinched.


·       Keep knives and the blades of other cutting tools sharp. When using them, cut away from you.


·       Garbage disposal units (garburators) can be extremely dangerous. If you have small children, make sure there is a lock on the garburator switch to reduce the chance of an unwanted startup.



A man who kept an air compressor in his garage didn’t keep the compressor’s belt covered with a guard. One day his young son caught his hand between the belt and pulley, and was severely injured.


Foot Injuries


Feet are also easily injured. Foot injuries are commonly caused by:

    -   heavy objects that fall on feet

    -   sharp objects that puncture them

    -   ankle twists that sprain or break them

Most of these injuries can be prevented by wearing safety footwear that is approved by a certifying agency.


·       Choose footwear that is appropriate for the job. Steel-toed shoes and boots can prevent many injuries.


·       Choose boots with puncture-resistant soles and good grips.


·       Keep your boots laced up all the way and replace laces when they’re worn. This will provide the ankle support that the boots were designed to give.


·       Regularly inspect your footwear for wear and tear, and replace it as needed.


·       Keep your feet away from rotating or moving machinery.


·       Be careful when walking on uneven ground. A sprained ankle is a very common injury.



A man was mowing his lawn wearing sandals. As he was pulling the lawnmower backwards up a small hill, he slipped. His foot slid under the lawnmower and was seriously injured. His sandals offered no protection.



Copyright 1997 Safety Health Publishing Inc.


Martin Lesperance is a fire fighter/paramedic and is the author of the best selling book “I Won’t be in to Work Today – Preventing Injuries at Home, Work and Play”. Martin delivers keynote presentations dealing with injury prevention. His talks are funny, but still have a strong underlying message. Visit his website at