I’d like to focus on hand protection today. The number of reported hand injuries and amputated fingers vary depending on the source. Reason being that many injuries go unreported when left up to the employee or the employer to submit detailed reports.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that hand injuries send more than one million workers to the emergency room each year. They also report that 70 percent of workers who experienced hand injuries were not wearing gloves… and those injured who did wear gloves were probably wearing inadequate gloves.
It’s been reported that the average hand injury claim has exceeded $6,000, with individual workers’ compensation claims reaching nearly $7,500, according to BLS and National Safety Council. It’s also reported that the average hand injury results in six days of missed work. That is significant cost for any company.
There are employers who invest in the best hand protection available. There are also employers who have cut corners on hand protection and have actually paid a lot more in the end due to costs associated with medical treatment, lost hours and production interruptions. Some organizations ignore the fact that glove wearing is one of the most effective hand protection safety programs a company can have. Wearing safety gloves reduces the risk of hand injury by 27 percent, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA guidelines, rules and regulations prescribe the appropriate hand protection for employees whose “hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.”
As a manufacturer of safety gloves and other safety products, we strive to not only provide the right type of safety glove for the right situation, but to help employers and their employees minimize the risk of safety injuries. When it comes to choosing a safety glove, there is much to consider. There are gloves designed to resist chemicals, protect from cuts, guard against electric shock and other hazards. There are gloves to protect from the cold and the heat. There are gloves that are coated, dipped and reinforced. If leather is preferred, there are choices of cowhide, deerskin, elkskin, goatskin, pigskin, and more – each with its own unique capabilities. There are string gloves, canvas loves, jersey gloves and general purpose gloves as well.
Of course, gloves have different linings and a variety of cuffs – pinked, rolled, straight and unlined to name a few. Each safety glove is designed with a select number of features to keep the users safe for the specific workplace tasks at hand.
For those who multi-task, they may require multiple forms of hand protection. Sometimes, those employees may need double or even triple glove wearing for protection. And if these workers have an issue with the glove they are told to wear, they may be using the wrong glove. That’s why it is so important to have experts assess the right glove for the right situation. The worker wearing the wrong glove is at risk of injury.
When it comes to safety, educating your employees is so important. All employees should have access to educational tools. Employers should supply their workers with the resources necessary, whether it is online training offered to workers at one or multiple sites… or having a skilled trainer come in to work with teams of employees.
Regardless of the method of training, it’s important that it be continuous. This is an investment in employees, but safety training is also an investment in overall savings. Reducing the risk of injuries reduces operation risk for employees and well as the company.
“Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.” Clint Eastwood
For those workers that use gloves on the job, are they using the right glove? Can the glove be improved for more protection, better grip, more dexterity…? If you are in a position to make sure your employees’ hands are protected, I encourage you to take things into your own hands. Assess the gloves your workers are using. Can injuries be reduced? Can comfort be added? If the exact glove that you need does not exist, can a glove be created specifically for your workers?
Arbill is sometimes asked to improve a glove for a specific task. Our efforts in this area have led to improved products, happier workers and reduced injuries. There’s no reason why hand safety can’t be comfortable and protective. Gloves today feature lighter coatings, greater dexterity, touch sensitivity, and oil absorbency for grip. We, like many manufacturers, have made it difficult for employees to go gloveless. Gone are the old excuses to remove gloves because they make the task more difficult.
Hand injuries, like most accidents, are 100% preventable through ongoing safety training efforts and using the proper protective equipment (PPE). When you take the time to follow through on providing training and equipment you greatly improve the well-being of your workers and protect your company from incurring expensive workers’ compensation costs.
To learn more about signing up your workers for ongoing safety training, call 800-523-5367 or click on the following link to speak with a workplace safety advisor at Arbill.
Have a safe day!