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Summer Hand Safety Tips

Posted on May 26th, 2022 in Elbow, Hand, & Wrist by Dr. Steven Kronlage

It’s that time of year: the kids are getting out of school, the summer heat is on full blast, and the list of projects around the house starts to grow weekly. Whether you are cleaning up your front yard landscaping, building a new garden bed of fresh veggies, or knocking out one of the many projects on the home improvement list, safety is critical for starting any new DIY adventure! As we enter June and observe National Safety Month, this post identifies the most common injuries we see at The Hand Center during lawn care and maintenance, gardening and home DIY projects and provides some practical tips to help keep your hands injury-free. 

Lawn Care & Maintenance

In 2017, a U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission study indicated that over 253,000 people were treated for an injury resulting from a lawnmower. Children under 19 years old accounted for more than 10,000 of those injuries. Typical injuries included cuts, burns, missile objects (items launched from blades) and amputations. Below are a few essential safety tips for avoiding injury when using a power tool such as a lawnmower:

  • Read and understand the user manual before operating.
  • Do not remove, alter, or change your lawnmower’s guards, shields or switches. 
  • Add fuel before turning the engine on or allow it to cool completely if it has been in use. 
  • Do not leave the lawnmower running unattended. 
  • Do not touch the engine or blade area during or immediately after use, as surfaces may be scorching to unprotected skin. 
  • Dress appropriately in proper protective gear, such as gloves, goggles, pants and close-toed shoes. 
  • Survey the surrounding area the make sure it is free of debris and objects that could get lodged inside the machine or launched out of it. 
  • Children under the age of 12 should not operate, ride on, or play in the vicinity of a lawnmower. 


Minor injuries that occur during the use of a lawnmower should be washed with soap, covered by a bandage and monitored closely. More severe injuries may require you to seek medical attention immediately. In the case of an amputation specifically, apply pressure to the severed area and save amputated body parts in a sealed bag with an ice pack.

Gardening 

In most cases, gardening can be relaxing and appear to be a somewhat safer task. However, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 400,000 garden tool-related accidents happen yearly. To help avoid injury this season, keep the following gardening safety tips in mind: 

  • Always use the proper tools for the tasks you are performing.
  • Protect yourself by wearing the appropriate gloves, goggles, and clothing.
  • Be aware that any chemicals or pesticides you may be using do not contact your skin. 
  • Maintain proper planting posture by switching up movements to ensure your muscles and hands aren’t straining over a particular activity for too long. 


Should you sustain an injury while gardening, immediately rinse and wash the area with soap and water. If the wound is open/bleeding, apply pressure for 15 minutes. If the wound is severe or still bleeding after 15 minutes, you should seek medical attention. Also, keep in mind that if a dirty object caused the injury and you have not received a tetanus immunization in the last five years, you should immediately seek assistance from your healthcare provider to receive the appropriate shots.

Home DIY Projects 

DIY projects such as building, painting, or restoring things around the home typically involve essential tools like a ladder or table saw. Although these tools can help knock out more significant items on the list, they are also prone to causing serious injury if not used properly. To avoid injury when completing your DIY home project, consider these injury prevention tips: 

Ladders: Ladders come in all shapes and sizes, allowing them to be used for various projects both indoors and outdoors. They are designed to reach high areas and hold different weight amounts. Injuries caused by a ladder typically include; falling, broken bones, sprains of the wrists or ankles, head injury, etc. If you are injured by using a ladder, move slowly and seek medical attention if necessary. When operating a ladder, consider the following: 

  • Identify the height of your project, picking a ladder that supports your balance while reaching or stepping up.
  • Do not overload the ladder with more weight than it can handle. 
  • Check your ladder for any damage, bends, or loose screws.
  • Make sure the surfaces of the steps are clean and dry of any moisture or grease before use. 
  • Survey the ground beneath, making sure the foundation is stable and flat for all legs of the ladder to rest on. 


Table Saws & BladesTable saws can be another valuable tool for DIY building projects. They are very powerful and contain one or more sharp blades. Hands are prone to injury when using a table saw and require extreme caution when operating to prevent serious injury. Types of injury most commonly include nerve and/or muscle damage, broken bones or complete amputation of fingers. In addition to the user manual, the following power tool precautions are helpful to remember: 

  • Always look forward, paying attention to the blade proximity and surface you are cutting. 
  • Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry. 
  • Keep fingers away from the work surface if not operating the machine. 
  • Wear proper protective gear such as gloves and goggles to avoid flyaway material. 
  • Lower the table saw blade below the table top when finished.        


As always, our goal is to help promote hand safety and encourage the proper use of equipment to prevent injuries from happening. Our staff of fellowship-trained physicians, Dr. Steven KronlageDr. Alex Coleman and Dr. James Piorkowski, are ready to offer the best care and treatment plan possible should you need to seek medical attention. We provide on-site care in our Gulf Breeze and Pensacola locations and offer same and next-day appointments. State-of-the-art, on-site imaging and diagnostics are also available at both locations to make visits as convenient as possible. Give us a call today at 850.807.4200 or schedule an appointment online.

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