Hands Free Card & Guide Materials

The resources on this page are designed to reduce the incidence of, and increase the knowledge of risks pertaining to hand and finger injuries in our industry.

On this page, you'll find up-to-date tools and materials - all designed to reduce the incidence of hand and finger injuries in our industry.  


Download the Hands Free 'Five Finger Savers' Card file for printing.

Order hard copies of the Hands Free 'Five Finger Savers' Card (external provider).

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No Hands on Loads

The decision to place hands on loads is a result of the workers' ability to assess the risk of the loads that are to be manipulated on a task-to-task basis. Under the risk management process, it is common for unforeseen factors to be overlooked. The below checkbacks provide an in-depth overview in relation to assessing load manipulation.

Is the load suspended? Identifying a suspended load before undertaking a task will further help assess the potential Pinch and Crush Points involved. A site-specific Hands-Off Register could be developed and reviewed periodically by an appointed Hands-Free Champion. This will increase personnel awareness in relation to site specific equipment.

Can the load move unexpectedly? Assessing whether the load can be inadvertently moved, either by failure of equipment, or inadvertent activation can better adjust the approach and the process in which the task is conducted. A process review for all load shifting activities could be conducted identifying the most effective hands-free process. This Process could then be included within associating documentation such as Plant Risk Assessments or Standard Operating Procedures.

Is there the potential to instinctively react? Removing the worker from the immediate area when conducting work with suspended loads can remove the ability to instinctively react, in turn minimising the risk of hand injuries. This could be achieved by implementing a barrier between the load and the worker. This removes the ability to instinctively react, allowing for the unplanned event to be processed prior to an attempt to rectify.

Hands Off!

What hands free tools could I use?  When assessing the intended process in which hands-free work is conducted, the use of hands-free tools can be implemented. These tools come in a variety of designs allowing for a diverse application within the industry. Upon selection, it is vital to ensure the tools do not introduce new and/or additional risks. Factors such as poor ergonomics, musculoskeletal stress, and the space in which the tool is used can introduce an increased risk to the person.

Are they accessible?  It is human nature when conducting repetitive tasks to make decisions to increase process efficiency. As a result, the use of hands-free tools is often neglected. To effectively implement hands free tools onsite, an assessment of the following could be conducted:

  • How many hands-free tools are required onsite?
  • Are the tools situated within the immediate work area?

Including a benchmark capturing the minimum tools required onsite and confirming the tool's condition could be beneficial in ensuring consistent tools are available and adequately maintained.

Will energy be applied to the object your controlling?  When utilising hands-free tools, it is important to factor in the characteristics of the load that is to be manipulated. For example, loads required to be guided over an extended distance may be more suited to less restrictive tools, such as tag lines. However, for tasks where direct adjustments are required, such as repositioning clevis hooks, aligning suspended loads or conducting minor adjustments to loads, a more refined tool may be required. 

Permission to Touch

Is ‘Permission to Touch’ captured in an applicable risk management tool?  When the need to place hands and fingers on suspended loads is evident, it is beneficial to ensure the process aligns with the relevant risk management tools. Capturing this process allows for further consideration into applicable controls, such as identified safe hold areas and verbal confirmation.

Is there verbal confirmation?  Prior to hand placement on suspended loads, verbal confirmation could be achieved from the person in control of the load. This confirmation can include the initial intent to place hands on the load, then confirmation when hands are of the load. This confirmation will assist in engaging the worker with analysing the risk at hand. The operator can also provide coaching on correct hand placement if required.

Hands on Handles

Are safe hold handles available?  When manipulating equipment with hands-free tools is not achievable, safe hold handles can be implemented. The handle should allow for safe hand placement free of pinch and/or crush points.

Are safe hold areas safe throughout the whole task?  The purpose of a safe hold area is to provide a pinch and/or crush point free area where hand placement is intended, and the use of hands-free tools is unachievable. When identifying this area, a review from transportation through to operation could be conducted. This will ensure the area is safe throughout the entire process of operation minimising potential exposure. When reviewing the operation of the plant and or object, thought towards the intended use can aid this identification. For example, the below handles fitted to the Rod Tong may be safe for operation, but are they safe when placing within the transport skid?

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Are safe hand hold areas clearly identified?  Utilising a colour such as yellow is optimal as this is one of the few colours identified first by the human eye. Although identifying safe hold areas is essential, the identification of potential pinch and/or crush points is vital. These areas could be identified red allowing for ease of identification. Assurance of this colour coding system onsite could be periodically reviewed and documented within a maintenance system.

Hand PPE

Are the gloves suitable for the task at hand?   The components of which gloves are comprised of can extensively affect the protection of hands and fingers when exposed to hazards. Due to this, the selection of gloves is crucial to provide effective protection. The selection of gloves can be made with considerations to OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) manuals and AS/NZS 2161.2:1998 Occupational Protective Gloves. The impact protection standard required for the scope of work to be complete could be listed within the applicable risk management tool/s providing further clarification to the work force.

Are the gloves in good condition?  Maintaining onsite provisions can influence the rotation of worn gloves throughout the work site. Furthermore, encouraging employees to regularly replace worn gloves. Damage to gloves includes numerous factors such as tears, missing impact ribs and worn grip inserts etc. Promoting an encouraging environment for workers to regularly replace worn PPE can be beneficial in mitigating the risk of hand injuries.   

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