Hand Safety 101: Considerations for Hand Protection Safety Programs
March 23, 2023
Injuries to the fingers, hand and wrist are the second-most common workplace injury.1 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43% of hand injuries occur in the manufacturing, mining and agriculture / forestry / fishing industries, though hand hazards are prevalent in many different types of work, from assembling electrical vehicles to maintaining wind turbines.2
And many of these hand injuries are preventable. Did you know that 70.9% of hand and arm injuries could have been prevented with personal protective equipment (PPE)3?
Hand protection is a critical part of an effective hand safety program. For on-the-job safety programs to work, the whole company must be committed to safety, starting at the top! Management teams drive this culture, and it needs to begin with leadership like HSE directors and CEOs; everyone from the C-suite to the subcontractors should consider safety their top priority.
Elements of an effective safety program
To establish and maintain a safety minded environment, it starts with a team’s commitment. Not getting the whole team on board with safety, not investing in thorough training or not trialing and selecting PPE that is comfortable and effective are all top roadblocks to creating a true culture of safety.
Storytelling is a way to make safety messages more relatable and impactful. Storytelling offers real-life examples coming from personal experience or other people’s stories. Storytelling can be more effective than a statistic because it creates a more personal touch that is relatable and tangible. Having real-life examples from a coworker’s experience helps create a community of safety for everyone.
Appropriate glove selection process
While creating a safety minded environment is crucial, another component to hand safety is selecting the appropriate glove: more than 30% of hand and arm injuries occurred because the worker wasn’t wearing the right kind of glove.4 However, selecting the appropriate PPE can be a challenge; that is where a hand protection hazard assessment comes into play. The hand protection assessment looks at all processes in the company and provides guidance based on your specific jobsite risks.
Job sites often have different tasks being performed, from general handling to repair work; these tasks may require different hand protection. It is important to take note of all different tasks performed and select the appropriate hand protection for each task, as one glove often does not fit all applications.
For example, in a tool manufacturing plant, there are many different processes such as hot metal handling, tool refinement (fettling) and even packaging. These processes require different gloves. Hot tool handling would require a thermal insulating glove, while fettling needs something that has a firm wet grip, cut protection and sometimes chemical protection. Packaging occurs at the same site, yet it would require something entirely different than these processes (most likely a general-purpose glove).
Hand hazard assessments evaluate all of the different processes at your job sites and make recommendations based on those jobs; this helps select the correct PPE and helps to ensure your employees go home safely.
Honeywell’s commitment to safety
Honeywell has a long-standing commitment to worker safety; we not only offer a wide range of safety gloves, from cut- to chemical-resistant gloves, but we also offer hand hazard assessments to ensure the proper protective-yet-comfortable glove is selected. To learn more about the products and services we offer, visit our website, or contact us today.
1 – https://ohsonline.com/articles/2019/09/06/getting-a-grip-on-hand-impact-injuries.aspx
2 – https://www.bls.gov/iif/home.htm
3 and 4 - https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2020/02/01/A-New-Year-of-Hand-Safety.aspx?Page=1