Do you know what sort of accident accounted for over 43 % of all days missed at work?
It’s injuries to the hands and fingers. Yes, wounds, burns, and skin disorders on the hands of workers send over a million individuals to the ER each year. According to OSHA, 70.9 % of those injuries may have been avoided with simple interventions such as safety gloves and other hand protective equipment.
How do you pick among the dozens of safety gloves available? It’s not necessary to toss a dart into the PPE catalog and hope for the best. This guide will serve as a fast refresher on how to select gloves for your personnel.
Identifying workplace risks
According to OSHA, 70% of employees do not use hand protection. Even if they do, 30% of employees arrive with gloves that are inappropriate for the job.
Professionals can assist you in identifying job dangers and selecting the appropriate safety gloves. The assessment identifies all of the hazards that your employees face and provides a basis for determining which hazards you can eliminate or reduce using the hierarchy of risk.
After you’ve worked your way through the risk matrix, you can utilize PPE to reduce the risk that remains. You should also check out these other resources to see what hazards are present:
- Employee opinions
- Non-standard operations
- Records of accidents
Nothing beats firsthand experience and employee feedback, especially when it’s coupled with risk assessments.
When gathering feedback, it’s also a good moment to inquire about any potential PPE hurdles that employees may have. Some personnel, for example, maybe sensitive to latex and hence unable to use latex safety gloves.
Knowing your employees’ needs and preferences ahead of time will help you choose the correct gloves.
Keep non-routine procedures like maintenance and cleaning in consideration when planning glove use. Although these activities are not part of conventional workplace practices, they might still pose a risk to workers.
An employee may not come in contact with toxins during their everyday activities, but once or twice a week during cleaning, they may.
Records of accidents
Examining previous accident reports can be incredibly beneficial in identifying workplace dangers and safety program flaws.
Look for arm and hand injuries, in particular, that happened but did not necessarily heal. These injuries can be accidental, but they can also be a sign of a larger problem or a more serious catastrophe on the horizon.
Regularly review accident reports for areas where you may make improvements.
Choosing the right gloves
Once you’ve figured out the rules for hand protection and identified the risks your employees face, you can start looking for suitable PPE.
The most prevalent hand hazard PPE is safety gloves, which come in a wide range of designs, kinds, and variants. Finger guards and arm wraps are two further types of PPE for arms and hands.
All you have to do is connect the hazards and safety requirements to the gloves that are appropriate for each employee and each sort of job that requires PPE.
Types of safety gloves
You may narrow down the sort of gloves each person requires for their work using the information and data you collect, as well as employee comments and records.
Metal Mesh, leather, and canvas
- Leather: Sparks, mild heat sources, blows, chips, and rough objects are all protected by leather.
- Aluminized: It provides heat reflection and protection; inserts provide heat and cold protection.
- Aramid fiber: It protects against heat, cold, wounds, and abrasions while also providing long-term protection.
- Synthetic: Heat, cold, wounds, scratches, and some weak acids are all protected by synthetic materials.
Fabric and fabric coated
- Fabric gloves: They protect against dirt, tiny pieces, chafing, and abrasions, but they are not suitable for use with rough, hard, or heavy materials.
- Coated fabric gloves: These are composed of cotton with napping or plastic on one side for added grip and slip resistance for handling items such as bricks, wire, and hazardous laboratory containers.
Chemical and liquid resistant
- Natural/Latex: This offers tensile properties, flexibility, good thermal stability, and abrasion resistance. Acids, caustic soda, salts, and ketones in aqueous solutions are also protected.
- Butyl: A synthetic rubber that protects against corrosive acids, strong acids, alcohols, and esters. Butyl is also resistant to oxidation, acid corrosion, and abrasion even at low temperatures.
- Neoprene: It is a synthetic rubber that provides great tear strength and protection against lubricating oils, gasoline, solvents, organic acids, and alkalis for workers who require pliability and finger mobility.
- Nitrile: A copolymer with resistance to chemical agents, oils, greases, acids, caustics, and alcohols; can withstand severe use and extended exposure.
Managing the use and care of safety gloves
It’s one thing to purchase a large number of gloves and distribute them to workers when they enter. Managing those gloves is a completely new challenge. You want your employees to put on the gloves, use them correctly, and keep your merchandise from disappearing.
Choose the gloves that best fit your needs and budget, rather than going for the most expensive ones, as long as they exceed OSHA’s guidelines.
Request samples from suppliers and do field tests to determine which types and brands will perform best for your company’s needs. Allow your staff to try them on for fit, comfort, and job role.
It’s not enough to buy the necessary hand protection; you also need to instruct your personnel on how to use it properly. In any case, one size does not fit everyone. A glove made for one purpose may not be suitable for another.
To conclude, a large proportion of significant injuries and lost work time are caused by hand and arm dangers. So are the large majority of hand and finger injuries avoidable, but OSHA also states that employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) when the risk assessment merits it?
You may find out what types of gloves will best meet your employees’ needs and safeguard against each job’s hazards by employing proper gloves, employee input, and accident records.
But don’t forget to select good quality gloves for your employees, perhaps ask for samples from an authentic protective gloves manufacturer so you can assess the best quality before you place a bulk order.