There are some machines that money cannot buy. They might be small, but they do most of our work, and without them our life would be difficult. These precious machines are our hands. Imagine getting into an accident and having your hand permanently paralysed. How would you feel? What would your life be without your hands?
Such a tragic incident has occurred with one of my uncles. A few weeks ago one evening, he had gone on a ride on his motorcycle. While speeding along the road, he hit a tanker parked on the roadside. The doctorís report said he needed to undergo an operation for a vein transplant in one of his hands. But even then there is no guarantee that his fingers would work after the expensive operation. Just imagine how tragic the situation has turned into. A simple negligence and his life has turned into hell.
Accidents donít just happen; our negligence triggers them. Before performing any task we donít consider what can go wrong before it goes wrong. We donít have a culture of following safety rules before and while doing any job. Thatís why we fall prey to accidents which could have been easily avoided. Negligence and hesitation to ask for safety tips with the seniors are the two major reasons why people injure their hands regularly in Nepali industries.
Our hands do the most work, be it using a simple tool like a screw-driver or operating complex machinery. People in the factory from an engineer to a labourer often have to use their hands to perform most of the maintenance works. Works that are done without safety measures can often lead to a sprained, burnt, bruised, strained, twisted, fractured or amputated hand. Itís because our hands are delicate and easily injured, and also exposed to more hazards than any other part of the body.
Itís found that finger and hand-related injuries account for 18-25 percent of all disabling injuries. Not only in the factories, hand injury is occurring at our home or on the playground.
During my 90-day On the Job Training (OJT) at the Dairy Development Corporation (DDC), I found that most of the workers there had experienced a minor to major hand injury in their past. My colleague Umang Tuladhar too faced it while we were learning the use of the chain pulley. His hand had three stitches for more than a month.
A more serious cut often requires long periods of recuperation coupled with an extended physical therapy session. Even when wounds are healed it can still take several weeks before one is back to normal. Sometimes it may develop into a permanent disability.
Reducing the risk of accidents can be simple, but it needs some effort. We need to take special care of our hands. Selection of the right type of glove for each specific job is needed. We need to think about what our life would be like without our hands and treat them like priceless machines. Protecting our hands is in our hands.
(Pudasaini is an industrial engineer)