Hand Protection: Are You Odds or Evens?
According to the latest statistics from the HSE (1) – UK non-fatal injury levels have reached a plateau showing no real sign of reducing since 2011, seemingly flat lining following several years of positive reduction.
Of the reported injuries to employees and self-employed reported in 2015/2016 - 20% (122,000 cases) were as a result of handling, lifting or carrying. This was the second highest cause of injury after falls from height and a greater hazard than slips, trips and falls.
Accounting for 27% of over 7-day injuries, the average time taken off work as a result of a single handling, lifting or carrying injury is 7.6 days.
And when it comes to specific injuries to the hands, there were 7952 reported injuries to one or more fingers/thumbs, 5017 hand injuries and 5154 wrist injuries in the same reporting period. Collectively leading to in excess of 127, 400 absence days.
So what is causing this flat line and why, it seems, are safety managers finding it hard to break through this injury prevention barrier?
No Hand Protection Fix All
Given the complexity and diversity of UK industry, there is no single hand protection ‘fix all’ that can be parachuted in to help keep driving hand injury levels down.
But with the vast majority of injuries still very much largely preventable there are practical steps that can be taken.
One of the most effective is to regularly re-invigorate established hand protection policies.
This approach of undertaking regular hand protection policy reviews need not be as onerous as it may first sound. Select a year milestone – decide on an odd or even year – and use it as the basis for scheduling the review process thereafter.
The benefits of this approach may not only be felt on a safety level, but potentially across wider areas of the business.
Complacency is the enemy when it comes to hand protection. If you do what you’ve always done, very little is likely to change.
Human nature often dictates that change won’t arise unless a problem does. But just because a hand protection problem hasn’t arisen doesn’t mean you have the best solution to hand.
Continued technical advances means new and improved solutions to traditional hazards are ever evolving, thanks mainly to the development of high performance technical fibres.
You may feel you have an effective hand protection solution in place that has served you well over several years, so why change?
The reality is you may not need to. But unless you find out you won’t know, because it’s all too easy to miss out on the potential rewards delivered by new technology.
So decide if you are an ‘odd or even’ and start to establish a minimum 2-year rolling hand protection review, assessing the needs of workers in your organisation and the latest solutions available.
What are the Benefits of a Regular Hand Protection Review?
Companies like Globus and its partner SHOWA continually invest in R&D, creating the next generation of protective gloves – whether chemical, mechanical, thermal or electrical (or combinations thereof).
Closer collaboration with the End User of the gloves has resulted in product development driven by customer involvement and ‘needs’ rather than just glove production capability.
The way people work and their interaction and relationships with the hazards they encounter are now at the forefront of the R&D process.
This has helped create multi-hazard solutions – high performance hybridized gloves combining, for example, chemical and mechanical protection with impact protection and high level grip.
The result - more effective hand protection solutions able to be used across a wider range of industrial applications.
Greater Technology – Greater Flexibility
Technology has not only improved protection but also delivered greater comfort, greater flexibility, and greater dexterity. An example is fibre that can wick moisture away from the surface of the hands allowing gloves to be used for longer periods without the need to be changed or removed due to discomfort or hand fatigue.
Increased worker productivity and, given the increased durability and longevity of latest gloves the potential for real and measurable cost savings too.
Examples of the Benefits of Developing Hand Protection Technology include:
SHOWA 381 – combining two technologies using a revolutionary SHOWA engineered fibre, the SHOWA 381 has been created as an ideal multi-purpose glove offering high resistance to abrasion whilst giving the wearer high levels of dexterity, finger sensitivity and comfort.
The combination of microporous nitrile coating with the specialist micro
SHOWA S-TEX 376 - made using SHOWA’s Hagane Coil® technology the S-TEX 376 offers Level 4 (EN388:2003) and 22.4N (ISO 13997) blade cut resistance to help users work safely and comfortably when handling objects with sharp edges and slippery surfaces.
Using a unique coiling technique, the polyester yarn is twisted around the patented Hagane Coil® stainless steel core, protecting the steel when the hand bends and flexes and the hands when in contact with sharp edges.
Wider Protection – Streamlined Solutions
Further benefits offered by technical solutions can be a simplification and streamlining of the range of glove varieties required within the organisation. Why? More gloves today can offer safety against a wider range of hazards which can lead to cost savings and reduced management time.
You only have to look how far protective glove technology has come in the last 10 years to see the value that regular hand protection policy reviews can have.
And we aren’t just talking about the positive impact on hand injury levels. The wider benefits can be seen and felt way beyond injury levels – with cost and time savings not to mention workers that are more engaged and supportive of the hand protection compliance policies.
Whilst the hands remain one of the most important tools in many businesses there are some major benefits to be had when undertaking regular hand protection reviews.
Don’t gamble or leave it to chance – decide whether you’re odds or evens.
To find out more about how Globus can help with your safety glove solution, contact +44 (0)161 877 4747 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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