Safety Tips First aid

Treating a puncture wound


Puncture wounds can be serious. They often have small openings, but the objects tend to go in deep, which can make the injured worker vulnerable to a blood infection.

Common work-related puncture wounds include stepping on a nail or being injured by a nail gun.

From the "First Aid, CPR and AED" course offered by the National Safety Council. Learn more about NSC first aid and CPR training – including online and classroom training for learners, and courses and materials for instructors. © 2015 National Safety Council


The Mayo Clinic recommends following these treatment tips in the event you or a co-worker suffers a puncture wound:

  • Make sure your hands are clean. Clean hands help prevent infections.
  • Try to stop the bleeding by gently applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage.
  • Clean the wound by rinsing it with water for five to 10 minutes. If dirt or debris remains in the wound and can’t be removed, see a doctor. Keep the skin around the wound clean by using soap and a washcloth.
  • Apply a small amount of an antibiotic cream to the wound area, but be aware that some people may experience mild rashes from these creams. Stop using the cream if this occurs and seek medical care.
  • Cover the wound with bandages, and change the dressing at least once a day or when the bandage gets wet or becomes dirty.
  • Keep a watchful eye for signs of an infection, including redness, increasing pain, drainage or swelling.
  • Seek immediate medical help if the wound continues to bleed after a few minutes of direct pressure; is the result of an animal or human bite; or is deep, dirty or caused by a metal object.

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