It is a frequent image in our Tower Safety classes throughout the years of students missing a finger or serious hand injuries. In one incident a climber was rigging at 300’. The equipment was being lifted into place by a crane and his right pinky finger was crushed, forever dislocated and will always have long-term arthritis. Another student was lifting a ring mount into place and his index finger was smashed between the monopole and the platform; he cut it off with his knife. We call these “tower hands”.
Lacerations, amputations, punctures, dislocations and fractures occur with tower hands daily without companies taking much notice. These men and women are dealing with crushing injuries that are extremely painful and debilitating. Most of these injuries occur while rigging with injuries falling in the “caught between objects” category. As a result, the Cell Tower industry needs to place an emphasis on keeping hands and fingers from being injured.
According the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) nearly 20% of workplace injuries involve cuts and lacerations to the hand and fingers. OSHA 29 CFR Part 1904, Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting notes fingertip amputations regardless of bone loss must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours. What can a company do to reduce finger injuries, prevention and reduce the risk of hand accidents? Below are few helpful tips:
Toolbox Safety tips:
1. The use of gloves and perhaps brightly colored for awareness
2 Attempt to keep hands out of lifting operations or off loads
4. Clearly identify pinch points.
5. Do not allow employees to wear jewelry (rings and watches) while performing tasks.
6. Limit the use of adjustable wrenches; they tend to slip, increasing the opportunity for hand or finger injury.
Our industry as a whole must remain committed to avoiding injury while on the job. Tower safety training and education can go a long way to avoiding many of these workplace injuries.