Trends in ... hand protection
An industry insider shares his views
Cuts, chemical burns, broken fingers and amputations are some of the hand injuries that commonly occur on the job. In fact, 121,860 nonfatal hand injuries involving days away from work were recorded in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Safety+Health spoke via email with Sujo John, global product manager, mechanical gloves, for Charlotte, NC-based Honeywell, to discuss new innovations in hand protection and what workers need to know to prevent injuries.
Safety+Health: What are some new technologies being used in hand protection?
Sujo John: As the knitting technologies and capabilities have advanced in recent years, manufacturers can now produce gloves that are extremely dexterous and, at the same time, provide excellent cut resistance and a high degree of comfort to the wearer. Coating technology has improved substantially through the development of new materials and processes. Workers wearing the new generation of gloves can work for a longer period of time with reduced fatigue; the gloves require less gripping force to hold slippery objects compared with previous generation designs.
S+H: Are there common instances in which people misuse these products/technologies? How can this be corrected?
John: If the safety manager doesn’t know about the full range of options available in terms of cut-level rating, grip ease and durability, that safety manager may be inclined to select the wrong gloves for the application intended. Also, some users dispose of the gloves even when they are still quite serviceable, and this drives up the cost of safety. Users need to be educated on the different cut levels and grip options available on the market. They also should be made aware of different color options as well as sizes to choose from.
Manufacturers have the responsibility to make the selection simple by incorporating color codes for visual identification of cut levels.
S+H: What should be of the utmost importance to workers when it comes to hand protection?
John: The most important feature a worker looks for in a glove is the ability of the glove to allow him or her to perform the job with the same ease as if he or she were doing the task with bare hands. With bare hands, there is no limitation on dexterity or worry about sweating. When workers are exposed to cut hazards, they want the glove to protect their hand from all injuries that could happen on the job, as well as provide excellent grip and breathability. They want their gloves to help them handle objects efficiently with reduced injuries and improved productivity.
Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association
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