Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2013.
Human hands are unique. They grasp, hold, move and manipulate objects so that we can perform daily activities to live and work. Reports of hand and finger injuries have ranged from 25% up to 80% of all workplace accidents. Hence it is extremely important that workplaces provide safe and effective measures to reduce hand injuries. One of the easiest methods to protect hands is to wear gloves.
The first step employers can take to reduce hand injuries is to assess their operations and examine glove usage throughout their business processes. To assist in finding the “right glove to fit the job” many countries have occupational glove standards. The Australian/New Zealand glove standards AS/NZS 2161.1:2000 ensure improved hand, wrist and forearm safety in the work place. In the United States the ISEA developed the first American National Standard for glove selection criteria, ANSI/ISEA 105, and the Hand Protection Group is represented on other standards technical committees in the US and worldwide. There are also numerous glove manufacturers that provide guidelines on glove selection.
The following table shows some of the gloves types available for the different working environments.
|Glove Type||Working environment|
|Disposable||Used in any working environment to protect hands and the products being handled, e.g. food-handling, healthcare workers|
|Liquidproof protection||Used in work involving liquids with a low chemical aggression factor, e.g. abrasive cleaning agents|
|Chemical protection||Used when working with chemicals that may penetrate or degrade gloves|
|Thermal protection||Used to protect against prolonged contact with cold or hot objects, e.g. working with liquid nitrogen|
|Cutting and heavy duty work protection||Used for heavy duty mechanical work or jobs at risk of abrasion, cuts, tears and punctures|
|Critical environment protection||Used in controlled or confined environments with strict requirements for cleanliness, e.g. sterile surgical gloves|
Worker safety goes beyond selecting the right glove for the right job. Other factors to consider include:
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