It’s something which is often overlooked during frequent health and safety risk assessments: Doors.
In 2017, the BBC and the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on the life-long effects of door finger-trapping accidents. Research in the US shows that more than 600,000 injuries resulting from getting fingers caught in doors occurred between 1999 and 2008 – leading to more than 67,000 amputations. In fact, BAPRAS reported that 1 in 6 fingertip injuries results in amputation.
41% of all door-related injuries happen to children aged four and under.
But how do you carry out a door safety risk assessment to understand what protection your doors need? Well, we’ve laid out a simple guide below to help you out.
It’s important to assess every door on its condition, the frequency of use and volume of traffic. From this, you can apply one of four levels of risk to each door.
The Four Risk Levels
Doors with a ‘High Finger-Trapping Risk’ rating will be located in an area which is frequently used by children such as a classroom door, playroom door or hallway door.
These doors are usually not attended by employees at all times.
Doors with a ‘Medium Finger-Trapping Risk’ rating will be located in areas where children have infrequent access such as a first aid room or Director’s office.
Doors with a ‘Low Finger-Trapping Risk’ rating should only be used by children when supervised by an adult such as a storage room or fire exit.
Doors with ‘No Risk’ are fitted with door finger guards which are in full working condition with no cracks or damages.
Once each door is assessed, it is easy to deduce an opinion on which doors are a priority for door finger protection.
High-risk doors in high traffic areas with damaged or no finger protection in place are always the first priority.
It’s always worth bearing in mind the types of injuries that can occur in the event of a finger-trapping accident. It’s also important to remember that a finger-trapping accident can occur at any High, Medium or Low-Risk level.
Injuries in the form of severe crushing of fingers or amputation of fingertips or fingers are common results of finger-trapping accidents. These injuries can result in a visit to the emergency room, an X-ray, day surgery, a follow-up appointment and possible physiotherapy.
Fingertip injuries alone can result in a 20% loss of hand strength and can prevent children from pursuing their chosen career in the future.
Many daycares or preschools will state that their doors are always supervised at all times, therefore, the chance of a door finger-trapping accident cannot occur, however, this method of ‘safeguarding’ is hardly practical nor does it guarantee a finger-trapping accident won’t occur.
When was the last time you carried out a door safety risk assessment?
To find out more about Fingershield and door safety for your daycare, please do not hesitate to contact us on (904) 962-2688.