A continually evolving hand protection campaign by world-leading gas turbine maintenance, repair and overhaul specialist RWG has seen worker hand injuries across its sites reduce by 85%.
The Aberdeen-based company provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services for industrial aero-derivative gas generators and power turbines used in the power generation, oil and gas and marine propulsion industries globally.
Having identified hand hazards as a major safety risk to around 300 of its workers as a result of the manual engineering tasks undertaken, RWG devised and launched its Handsafe campaign.
Designed to continually educate and inform workers about the range of hand hazards on site backed up through training, support and a range of flexible and developing hand protection solutions delivered by the team at Globus, Handsafe has been instrumental in both reducing injury levels and increasing worker awareness.
“When we looked we consistently saw around 60-70% of the injuries at RWG involved our employees’ hands and arms, so we developed Handsafe to really address this,” said Jenny Shorrocks, QHSE Co-ordinator, Operations Integrity Group, at RWG.
“From the outset the intention was to engage the workforce fully in hand, arm protection but keep things fun and interesting to ensure continual involvement and participation.
“Globus has not only improved the quality of the gloves on offer but dramatically streamlined our glove offering to make it easier for employees to make an ‘informed’ selection.”
“There are many ‘short term’ Health & Safety initiatives out there, but we really wanted Handsafe to run continually due to how important our hands are and the role they play in all operations at RWG.
“We hoped that over time, involvement from the whole workforce in Handsafe would reduce injuries and of course encourage learning across the business, introducing new ‘best practice’ and further improve our safety culture, and have been delighted with the results to date,” added Jenny.
To help effectively deliver Handsafe, RWG created a ‘bottom up’ approach to the campaign rather than a ’top down’, delivered through champions, appointed to really drive the campaign, allowing them to make differences where they wanted to make differences, fully supported by the Management team.
The Handsafe Champions play a vital role, their enthusiasm key to its success, helping create an environment where everyone is working together to help drive down hand and arm injuries.
The team at Globus has also been integral in helping RWG deliver Handsafe, supporting the company in a number of ways including:
- Organising glove trials across all RWG sites to ensure the right gloves for all tasks were selected
- Providing on site training to introduce selected gloves for the tasks carried out
- Creation of posters providing performance information of the selected gloves featured
- Creation of a glove sizing poster
- Creation of a hand protection glove roll holding all selected gloves used on site
- Regular updating of the glove roll solutions in line with developing glove technologies
- Attending many Handsafe meetings to provide ongoing support and advice
“Handsafe has not only improved the gloves on offer, but educated employees regarding hand and arm safety, the importance of our hands and arms, the impact of hand and arm injuries (on the individual, their family, social life and working life) and how to protect them both at home and at work, and Globus have been integral to this,” said Jenny.
As a result, the 300 glove wearers on RWG sites now use a range of Globus gloves including:
- Mechanical engineering work - SKYTEC Beta 1, SKYTEC Ninja Lite and SHOWA 541
- Manual handling and outdoor work - SHOWA 541, SKYTEC Argon and SKYTEC NINJA Knight
- Chemical work - SHOWA 720, SHOWA NSK26, SHOWA 281 Temres, SKYTEC Teal and SKYTEC IRIS
All of the gloves were chosen by RWG employees through extensive trials organised by Globus.
This integrated approach has seen hand and arm injuries on site reduce from a high of 81 in 2009 to just 11 minor injuries in 2016 all of which required only local first aid treatment.
“Globus has not only improved the quality of the gloves on offer but dramatically streamlined our glove offering to make it easier for employees to make an ‘informed’ selection. I use the word ‘informed’ as I feel that employees are making more of an educated decision on which gloves they should use for the process.
“They are now thinking about the importance of selecting the most appropriate glove. It goes beyond selecting the glove with the highest ‘cut level’; instead they now make a selection considering issues such as fit, dexterity and comfort as they now understand that an ill-fitting glove, or one that offers little dexterity can impact on safety and quality,” added Jenny.
As a result of their approach to worker safety, RWG has received a ‘Safety Recognition Award – For Excellence in the Field of Worker Protection’ from Globus – only the third ever to be handed out by the company.
According to Michael Easton, Sales and Marketing Director for Globus, RWG’s dedicated approach to involving staff at every level to help create a positive safety culture, combined with embracing the need to continually evolve and innovate its approach to hand protection was the driving force behind the award.
“Our award for safety excellence was created to recognise truly exceptional worker safety initiatives and that has certainly been the case with RWG. The company recognised as far back as 2008 the need to address hand and arm protection, given the physical impact of the work carried out on site and devised and launched Handsafe as a result, and we are delighted to be playing a positive role in helping them deliver that,” said Michael.