Did you know that 1 million workers are sent to the emergency room every year for hand injuries?
Let that sink in for a minute. That’s a 1 with 6 zeros after it. Every single one of those situations could potentially destroy that worker’s earning potential, health and emotional well-being, not to mention that productivity in your facility can drop dramatically. Don’t even get us started on workers’ comp and medical bills that can pile up after an occupational accident. The average cost of a hand injury comes in around $22 thousand!
It’s the employer’s job to make sure unnecessary hand injuries don’t happen, but statistics show quite a few slipped through the cracks. Chances are your safety program addresses the major safety hazards found in your worksite — hazards like slip and falls, falls from heights or risk of impact from flying debris.
But there may be quite a few hazards you’re overlooking, hazards that are right at your fingertips. When was the last time you took a look at your company’s safety glove requirements for cleaning and maintenance tasks?
Let’s take a look at a few good reasons facility employees should be donning hand protection during their next cleaning task.
1. Protect Against Contact Dermatitis
Problem: The last thing you want is a painful, itching and burning rash due to contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is caused by exposure to a variety of cleaning products, soaps or simply due to an allergy.
Solution: Choosing a good all-around reusable safety glove like these from Ansell that can help keep your hands safe and healthy. Or if you’re environmentally conscious but need a disposable glove, you’ll love these biodegradable safety gloves from SHOWA.
2. Protect Against Chemical Burns
Problem: Many cleaning products contain dangerous substances that can burn or irritate your skin. Substances like ammonia, bleach, lye, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, dangerous acids or petroleum distillates can not only burn but also create deadly fumes. Hint: This is exactly when a solid respiratory program is necessary for worker health (we can help with that too!).
Solution: Your best bet is to wear gloves that can protect against a wide range of chemicals like these safety gloves from Showa. As a bonus, they also absorb perspiration, a common complaint when using other types of chemical gloves.
3. Protect Against Communicable Diseases
Problem: Accidents and injuries happen in industrial facilities all the time. When they do, someone has to clean it up. Not only can the job be somewhat nauseating, but it can be dangerous. Bodily fluid can carry anything from the common cold virus to bloodborne pathogens and infectious diseases.
Solution: If you drew the short straw and are tasked with cleaning up blood or bodily fluids, you need to arm yourself with the right protective gear. These medical grade safety gloves from West Chester can help protect you from various communicable diseases and other high risk hazards. On the other hand, if your job is to handle food of any kind it’s important to wear food-safe gloves like these from Cordova.
4. Protect Against Sharp Objects
Problem: When doing any cleaning or maintenance work you need to consider risk factors you may run across when choosing a safety glove. Will workers be exposed to sharp edges, cutting surfaces, blades or needles?
Solution: If workers will be exposed to needles, broken glass, nails, splinters, wire or sharp tools, choose hand protection that is puncture-resistant and abrasion-resistant. But, not all safety gloves are created equal.
➤ Keep in mind the application your safety gloves will be used for. Will employees be working with oil, water, electricity or chemicals? If so, be sure to check the cut and abrasion levels of the glove and match the material requirements to the job at hand.
5. Protect Against Cold/Heat
Problem: Pay attention to the areas to be cleaned. Are there welding units, running machinery, open flames or high heat risks? Will workers be exposed to refrigeration elements, coolers or freezers?
Solution: If you’ve ever laid your hand on a scalding pipe or performed work in coolers and freezers, you’ll vouch for temperature-resistant gloves every time. Protective gloves should be matched to the work environment, otherwise you’re exposing your hands to unnecessary dangers. Don’t think it’s important? Try doing your job without those two valuable appendages. Fortunately, there’s heat-resistant and cold-resistant gloves that can be used in a variety of applications.
Improve your hand protection program with these simple steps:
- Perform Regular Job Hazard Analysis: Make sure to perform regular hazard assessments and walkthroughs. Identify and address all new hazards. The worst thing you can do is become complacent just because safety hasn’t been an issue in your facility...yet.
- Make Worker Training Mandatory: Don’t take hand protection lightly. Make sure your team understands the risks and how to protect themselves with the right PPE. This goes for veteran workers as well as greenhorns. Hold regular training and toolbox talks to make worker safety part of your company’s culture.
- Provide the Right Hand Protection: Make it easy for your workers to stay safe by keeping safety gloves and gear easily accessible. Train workers on how to properly use their safety equipment and reward those who follow the safety program.
Whatever hand protection you choose, be sure to review your company’s safety program before you buy. If you’d like more assistance on choosing the right hand protection for your workers, stop in to Rocky Mountain Industrial Supply, visit our website or give us a call at 307-472-5519. We’re here to help keep the American workforce safe everyday.