Hand Safety


It is highly recommended that handling fireworks be left to trained professionals.  Sparklers, fire crackers and bottle rockets can all cause burns, fractures, lacerations, and even traumatic amputation.

Instead of attempting backyard firework shows, we encourage you to only view public firework displays which are closely monitored by fire departments.  When attending a public display, please take these precautions:

  • View the show from behind barriers, at a safe distance (at least 500 feet from launch).
  • Do not handle debris that you may see on the ground after the show.  It could be hot, or even explosive.
  • Never allow children to hold sparklers, which are the cause of 10% of firework-related injuries.


More than 74,000 people are injured each year by the improper handling of lawn mowers.  The blades of a mower can eject an object at speeds as fast as 100 miles per hour.  When body parts come near these speeding blades, traumatic injuries often occur.  In fact, 25% of mower-related injuries result in amputation of the hand or foot.

The most frequent types of injuries result from direct contact with a blade, which may be rotating or jammed.  Injuries often occur when the ground is damp or grass is wet.  They can also be caused by several other unsafe practices:  passengers on a riding mower, using a riding mower in the wrong direction (up/down a slope instead of across a slope or vice versa), pulling backward, mowing while wearing improper footwear, or using hand or foot to unclog blades.

Though many injuries result from incorrect use of lawnmowers, proper use is perfectly safe.  Follow these Do’s and Don’ts to ensure safety.


  • Study the instructions for your particular mower before use.
  • Use a broom handle or stick to remove debris that becomes caught in the blades.
  • Keep your mower’s blades sharp to avoid malfunctioning.
  • Wear protective clothing:  boots, gloves and long pants.
  • Exercise caution when mowing sloped ground.


  • Don’t remove safety devices which have been put there for your safety.
  • Don’t use hands or feet to remove grass from blades, even when the motor is switched off.
  • Don’t mow lawn when the grass is wet or the ground is damp.
  • Don’t allow children to be in the area being mowed or to operate the mower.
  • Don’t allow anyone but the operator to ride on riding mowers.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or use medications that cause drowsiness before mowing.
  • Don’t use a lawnmower while barefoot or wearing open-toed shoes.


Though it may not seem like a dangerous activity, gardening results in more than 400,000 accidents each year.  When performing any task in the garden, pay special attention to keeping your hands out of harm’s way.

Protective Gloves

One of the best ways to avoid gardening-related hand conditions is by the consistent use of gloves, which prevent blistering, sun damage, and injuries to nails.  In addition, gloves protect skin from pesticides, fertilizers and soil-dwelling bacteria and fungus.  If you happen to have a cut or lesion on skin that’s exposed to soil, there’s significant risk of an infection developing.  The best protection are leather gloves, which protect from sharp objects, snakes, rodents, insects, poison ivy and other skin irritants.

Repetitive Motions

Many gardening tasks involve repetitive motions, which can cause irritation to nerves, tendons and skin.  These tasks include raking, digging, trimming hedges and bushes and planting bulbs.  Try to vary tasks every 15 minutes, with brief rests in between, so the same muscle groups don’t get overly-used.

Buried Objects

Instead of digging in soil with your hand, use a small shovel or rake to avoid lacerations or punctures from sharp objects that may be buried in soil.


Ensure safety by making sure that you choose the proper tool for the job you’re doing.  When you buy gardening tools such as shears, pruners or loppers, look for ones that have a safety lock.  Keep all gardening tools out of children’s reach.


In this case, the word “posture” does not just refer to your body, but to the angle at which your wrist is positioned while using gardening tools.  It’s best to handle tools with the wrist in a relaxed position, which allows your grip to have maximum strength.

Though tools that feature grips for fingers may seem better, they are generally made in one size only.  If the size is not appropriate for you, the grips could cause calluses, pain and soreness.

In Case of Injury

If a minor cut occurs, bleeding will often stop on its own simply by applying pressure with a clean cloth.  If, however, bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes of constant pressure, you should visit a doctor or emergency room.  You should also seek medical assistance if you experience numbness or tingling in the fingertips, are unsure if your tetanus immunization is up to date, or if you are not able to fully cleanse the wound with clean water and mild soap.

Pumpkin Carving

During the Halloween season, hand injuries caused by pumpkin carving are common in both children and adults.  Injury can be avoided by following a few simple safety tips.

Safe Environment

The first step should be making sure that the tools you’ll use are all thoroughly washed and dried.  Any moisture on your hands, carving tools or the surface can cause slippage, which may lead to injury.

Adult Supervision

Many patients we see are adolescents who’ve been entrusted to carve without supervision.  Children should never be allowed to carve and adolescents should always be supervised.  It may be a good idea for the child to draw a face on the pumpkin and clean out the insides.  When adults carve, they should be sure to cut away from themselves and make only small, controlled cuts.


Although sharper tools are often recommended for safety, the same is not true for pumpkin carving.  Injuries can happen when a sharp knife becomes stuck in the skin of the pumpkin.  When you pull it out, an injury can easily occur if your hand is in the wrong place.  It’s also common for accidents to happen when the knife goes through to the other side, where your hand may be steadying the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Carving Kits

Special kits have small, serrated knives that are more effective because they don’t get stuck in the thick skin of the pumpkin.  These knives are also preferable because they’re not sharp enough to cause serious cuts.

Treating Carving Injuries

If a minor cut should occur, bleeding should stop after applying direct pressure to the cut with a clean cloth.  If the bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes of constant pressure, you may have to visit the emergency room.

Snow Blowers

Every year, snow blowers are the cause of hundreds of injuries that result in maiming or amputation of fingers or hands.  Follow safety guidelines when handling snow blowers to avoid unnecessary injury.

Injuries most commonly occur when there is a large accumulation (more than 6 inches) of heavy, wet snow and the temperature is 28 degrees Fahrenheit or more.  Severe injuries can occur when snow clogs the chute and the user tries to clear it with their hands.  Accidents also happen when the operator believes that the machine is off, though the blades are still rotating.

Snowblower Jams:

  • Turn off machine.
  • Make sure clutch is disengaged.
  • Wait at least 5 seconds after power is off to make sure that blades have stopped rotating.
  • Use another object like a stick or broom handle to clear the jam.
  • Never enter chute or touch blades with hands.
  • Leave all shields and safety devices in place.
  • Keep all body parts away from the machine’s moving parts.
  • Focus on the task, and never operate snowblower after drinking or taking medications that may impair your physical control.