In the penultimate look at the senses, we take a look at the sense of touch, and how important it is when it comes to health and safety management.
As a child, my parents used to ask me "if I told you to put your hands in a fire, would you?". It's a question that always puzzled me. Of course I wouldn't - it would hurt me, cause pain, and not be pleasant at all. Why would I want to touch a fire? Touching something that will hurt us is not something we would usually do. But often we do.
If you work in an office, for example, do you hear your colleagues complaining that something on their workstation - a chair or mouse for example - is painful? It is their nervous system telling them something is wrong and to stop or alter the way you are doing it. The posture and the way you are sat is causing a nerve, muscle, disc, ligament or tendon to touch something that it shouldn't. It is a warning to set your workstation correctly or to take a break.
As with all the senses, the sense of touch provides both positive sensations (for example, rubbing a fresh towel against your cheek, touching a partner, stroking a pet), and warning sensations that something is wrong, allowing us to act.
Touch is important to us. And yet, many of us do not take it seriously. We use machinery that vibrates. If you aren't careful, or your employer does not protect you from those vibrations, you could end up with hand-arm vibration syndrome, and that could lead to you losing all sensation in your fingers (vibration white finger), and a complete loss of the ability to know when you are touching something. You lose that ability to feel danger and to react.
In many industries, we come into contact with sharp objects - knives, blades, broken glass, needles, and so on. If we are not careful, and we cut ourselves, we could be cutting into our nerves and, among other side effects, losing the ability to feel and touch items. (If you want more information on preventing hand injury, we recommend you speak to Sharp Reminder)
In the modern high-tech world, touch is becoming more and more important. Touch screen computers, monitors, phones, and tablets are a vital part of our daily lives. In 2017, I discussed how repetitive use of these screens could affect our health, including posture and dexterity over time. While touch screens have so many uses, they may also actually affect our movements and actions with time.
As humans, we have a natural tendency to want to touch things. But there are things we shouldn't touch, or where we need to protect our hands more. Be careful what you touch. If you get close to items you know you shouldn't touch in your workplace, speak to your employer - they need to assess and act to protect you and your colleagues. Look after your sense of touch.
The above is one of a series of articles being published in the lead up to the Merseyside Business Expo on 11 October 2019, 9am - 3pm. Join us on our stand to find out more, and to find out about how KSH Safety Services can help your business.
We will be just one of about 150 local businesses exhibiting at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre that day. So why not join us as a visitor? We are expecting over 2,000 others to visit, making it an excellent opportunity to network and do business. Admission is free, and to register visit https://shoutexpo.com/merseyside/ today.
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