International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

These clips from the hand safety video created by the Council for Dredging and Marine Construction Safety highlight important issues for dredging operations. The video visualizes and demonstrates many aspects of hand safety risks and protection measures.

A comprehensive video on hand safety has been released by the Council for Dredging and Marine Construction Safety (CDMCS). The video is available to members and non-members for a nominal fee. Since last winter the video has been in the works as a result of brainstorming among members and prioritizing industry needs. Identifying “risks to hand” as a first video project was “obvious” to the contractors. They looked at construction industry statistics and at their own incident reporting.
As the narrator explains hands are central to all dredging and construction work but hands are also vulnerable and hand injuries are common. According to the United States Department of Labor 110000 Lost Hand Injuries occurred in one year which resulted in six days away from work per employee. That translates into 660000 Lost Work Days. Shockingly 70 percent of these accidents occur because employees were not wearing gloves. A hand injury can result in disabling a worker for even simple tasks. Sometimes this injury will be temporary but too often it can be permanent. 

“These statistics motivated us to create a training program video that provides dredging and marine construction employees with extensive hand safety work practices” Devon Carlock co-chair of CDMCS said. He along with Glenn Thomas and Michael Gerhardt working on behalf of CDMCS have all played a major role in getting this video ready. “We’re excited to have been able to raise the funds to make this video and we thank all the dredging companies who supported us financially in this important endeavor” Thomas said. 

“You might think that all of this something that so plainly affects crew members would be an easy sell but clearly based on statistics hand safety training is underappreciated and avoidable accidents occur every day. This video goes a long way toward reducing risks to hands. It can help employees stay safe and reduce liability costs for employers” Gerhardt said.

The video is clear: machinery equipment lines and cables tools and chemicals all pose threats to the hands of personnel. Only knowledge can prevent accidents. And the video provides practical “hands-on” knowledge on a wide range of hand safety hazards. Any job on a dredge can result in a hand injury from improper hand placement pinch points improper tool usage and sharp edges. How to avoid this? By identifying hazard factors by staying aware and alert always and slowing down. Rushing causes mistakes. 

Dredging contractors want to provide a safe environment but crew members must also take responsibility for following procedures. This includes situational awareness avoiding placing hands in between machinery using hands-free lifting mechanisms regularly maintaining tools and selecting the appropriate tool for each task. Simple solutions such as checking cords and plugs making sure there is adequate lighting closing sharp tools and never using damaged tools also add up to improved and safer work conditions. This takes extra time but eliminates some common risks.

No One Glove Covers All Jobs
The video visualizes and demonstrates these and many other aspects of hand safety risks and hand safety protection measures and preparedness. Positioning hands properly avoiding loose garments and removing jewelry and the proper use of gloves are all covered. A whole series of gloves are examined ranging from leather palmed gloves for line handling to gloves that protect from burns and electrical shocks. No one glove covers all jobs and in fact surprisingly for some tasks gloves themselves can be a danger.

Other hand safety recommendations are made such as pre-job planning talking the work through and Job Safety Analysis (JSA) as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) in general. From on-deck work to connecting floating pipelines to food preparation for the crew hands are essential and hand safety is as well. Watching the video is a learning experience – no matter what your job is in the company.

The video is the first such initiative of the Council for Dredging and Marine Construction Safety. “The positive feedback on this video has gotten our members planning for more videos in the future perhaps one on ergonomics” suggests Albert Wong who co-chairs the CDMCS with Devon Carlock. “Back related injuries are high on the list of challenges that contribute to disabled workers.”

The Hand Safety video has been funded by the CDMCS and its members and is available for purchase by contacting