Hand injuries, including injury to fingernails and fingers, are often written off as first-aid usage and near-misses. Many workers consider the use of gloves hard to comply with and unnecessary. Yet, more varieties of gloves for broader purposes exist than ever before – cut-resistant, chemical protective, electrically-rated, infection control, just to name a few. Carefully identifying the need, then selecting a glove with the appropriate performance parameters can prevent many injuries.
Back in the ‘old days’ when I worked on my own vehicle, I never considered wearing gloves to keep a better grip on tools, prevent knuckle busters and burns, or just keep my hands clean. In my teens and twenties, I would have been laughed at and called a sissy for wearing gloves. Now watching shows like Orange County Chopper, Monster Garage, and Pimp My Ride you see these master mechanics wearing gloves.
Gloves can make your job easier and safer. Choosing the correct glove for the job is a critical decision in preventing injuries while maintaining a grip on the situation. Identify the hazard and then evaluate the required characteristics for a glove. Hazards can range from heat, flames, sparks, sharp object electrical energy, and chemicals.
Identify the hazards that could injure hands in this week’s discussion. List the characteristics required in each case and check your inventory to see if you have the proper gloves. Gloves are considered PPE and are the last line of defense in preventing injuries. Wear them every time. Remember that prevention is the key to a workplace where Nobody Gets Hurt.
General requirements. Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees’ 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.
Selection. Employers shall base the selection of the appropriate hand protection on an evaluation of the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the task(s) to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.