There are many risks in the industrial workspace and especially in heavy-duty working environments. Hand and finger injuries are among the most common incidents workers will endure. They account for 51% of injuries in the workplace.1 That means there is a lot of room to improve safety programs.
For health and safety managers, new and revised guidelines for hand safety help make personal protective equipment more reliable, but understanding these ever-changing regulations remains a complex challenge.
Learn more about choosing the right safety gloves here.
Selecting the right protective gloves is all about thoroughly understanding the type of tasks being performed and the unique hazards that could potentially put hands at risk. Consider how protection from sharp objects, hazardous chemicals and slippery surfaces compares with the need for dexterity, tactile sensitivity and comfort for all-day wear.
Many gloves are designed to protect from abrasions and slashes caused by sharp objects, but few are can energy and provide high levels of impact resistance to protect all the delicate parts in the hand. When selecting gloves for heavy-duty environments look to see if they pass EN 388 or ISEA 138 impact tests.
Proper sizing isn’t just about comfort, it also contributes to productivity. Gloves that are too large will slide around on the hands causing greater exertion to maintain grip, while ones that are too snug can restrict dexterity. It’s also important for a glove to have quality closure to provide a comfortable and secure fit.
When handling hazardous equipment and materials, workers need a glove with a grip that gives them control and confidence. The first step is understanding the risks they face and then providing the right grip for the situation and whether the conditions are dry, wet, oily or muddy.
When 70% of hand injuries in the U.S. occur when workers aren’t wearing gloves2, it becomes extremely important to have comfortable gloves workers will keep on for long durations. Even the smallest irritation makes it more likely they will be removed before the end of the shift. Comfortable gloves fit well, are highly breathable to keep hands cool, and can be washed easily to control bacteria and keep them in great condition.
Keeping up with the fast-paced manufacturing environment requires dexterity and sensitivity to handle small parts or objects quickly. Thinner gloves offer the advantage of more dexterity but often come with the cost of decreased protection. But now companies are innovating gloves to improve dexterity while still providing ultimate impact protection. They are also using quality stretch materials that help your team more effectively by reducing hand fatigue.
Insulated gloves should be selected to protect from extreme heat or cold. The level of protection needed can be determined, in part, by how long the worker will be exposed to these temperatures and how heavy the heated object is.
Cost containment is a key indicator for determining the value of a glove over its lifetime. An expensive glove that lasts longer is a better investment than a cheaper glove that is replaced more often. To determine this, many professionals look at the number of wash cycles and abrasion resistance ratings; however, there are other variables to consider when evaluating glove-life.
SELECTING THE RIGHT MANUFACTURER EXPERT
While safety and effectiveness are of the utmost concern when selecting gloves, there are many other factors to consider when choosing the best PPE for your workers. It is important to find a manufacturer who invests in design, technological research, and user experience, so they are able and ready to meet the ever-changing safety regulations and the increasing demands of your business.
In addition to PPE, safety managers can take further action to reduce the number of workplace hand injuries such as performing hazard assessments, implementing training programs, building awareness and education among workers and rewarding workers who report unsafe work hazards to their safety manager.
Your worker’s hands are valuable tools, so give them quality protection.
Disclaimer: The information provided through Greenham Pulse is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Greenham Pulse is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.
1 ISHN (2016) “More than half of all injuries involve the hands” https://www.ishn.com/articles/105011-more-than-half-of-all-injuries-involve-the-hands
2 ISHN (2015) “70% of workers who injure their hands aren’t wearing gloves” https://www.ishn.com/articles/101332-of-workers-who-injure-their-hands-arent-wearing-gloves