Happy Monday! Did you know that our hands are the most often injured and chemical-exposed parts of our bodies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 100,000 lost-time hand injuries each year. Arbill’s focus is on keeping you safe by offering some tips on avoiding workplace accidents. Our blog this week is on workplace safety and hand protection.
Did you also know that it is the responsibility of an employer to ensure that employees use appropriate hand protection and other protective clothing where there is exposure to hazards? We will talk more about that responsibility in our next blog. Hand injuries can be virtually eliminated when appropriate hand protection is used.
With so many types of gloves available today to protect against a wide variety of hazards, it is important to understand the nature of the hazard and the operation involved. It is essential that employees use gloves specifically designed for the hazards and tasks found in their workplace because gloves designed for one function may not protect against a different function even though they may appear to be an appropriate protective device.
The following are examples of some factors that may influence the selection of protective gloves for your workplace. When in doubt, you can contact Arbill for a thorough safety assessment:
- Type of chemicals handled.
- Nature of contact (total immersion, splash, etc.).
- Duration of contact.
- Area requiring protection (hand only, forearm, arm).
- Grip requirements (dry, wet, oily).
- Thermal protection.
- Size and comfort.
- Abrasion/resistance requirements.
Gloves made from a wide variety of materials are designed for many types of workplace hazards. In general, gloves fall into four groups:
- Gloves made of leather, canvas or metal mesh;
- Fabric and coated fabric gloves;
- Chemical- and liquid-resistant gloves;
- Insulating rubber gloves.
Care of Protective Gloves
- Protective gloves should be inspected before each use to ensure that they are not torn, punctured or made ineffective in any way.
- A visual inspection will help detect cuts or tears but a more thorough inspection by filling the gloves with water and tightly rolling the cuff towards the fingers will help reveal any pinhole leaks.
- Gloves that are discolored or stiff may also indicate deficiencies caused by excessive use or degradation from chemical exposure. Any gloves with impaired protective ability should be discarded and replaced.
- Reuse of chemical-resistant gloves should be evaluated carefully, taking into consideration the absorptive qualities of the gloves. A decision to reuse chemically-exposed gloves should take into consideration the toxicity of the chemicals involved and factors such as duration of exposure, storage and temperature.
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