An engineer’s hands are capable of great things…doesn’t it make sense to protect them?

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Published: 12 October 2015


By Steve Shale, Marketing Manager, Globus, a specialist provider of hand protection solutions

If asked, all engineers, and their employers, would probably agree that hand protection is vital. From as far back as prehistoric times, man has recognised the need to protect his hands.

Thankfully we have moved on a bit from using animal skin mittens but have you really considered just how important hand protection is and how damaging it could be if you don’t play by the rules? 

Gloves, in all forms, are now used across many industries. In fact, glove wearing is one of the most effective industrial injury prevention programmes; statistically, wearing gloves reduces the risk of injury by 60 per cent. Yet despite the leap forward in terms of innovation with the use of advanced fabrics enabling workers to undertake the most delicate of tasks, a single issue still remains - how do you ensure workers wear the right gloves in the first place and also keep their gloves on?

Getting it right – why bother?

​It might sound simple but it’s vitally important that gloves fit properly.  A glove’s shape should follow the hand's natural contours to reduce stress against the thumb and fingers. If they’re too small, blood-flow can be restricted and if they’re too large, they can create folds which can also affect work. 

If the correct gloves are worn for the task, they will allow better performance and increased output. If an engineer feels restricted or unable to do the job properly they are, perhaps understandably, going to remove them, putting themselves at risk of injury. 

There are many different types of hand protection and there is no single glove that will work for every type of hazard so it is essential to match the correct glove type to both the task as well as the individual to get the protection right. Gloves can protect against cuts, punctures, impact, chemicals, vibration, temperature extremes, prolonged immersion in water and other hazards. You need to understand the risks and then select your hand protection accordingly. 

The bottom line

​Despite being a highly effective way of avoiding the risk of injury, gloves have been demoted to ‘consumables’ and, therefore, price can often be the deciding factor. Although, in the long-run ‘cheap’ doesn’t mean cost effective as selecting gloves made from high quality materials and ones that are anatomically designed can also add to their cost-effectiveness. They will last longer meaning fewer pairs are consumed and worker acceptance is greatly increased.  This also further impacts productivity as fewer glove changes mean more work gets done! 

Data supports the fact that considerable workplace risk can be averted through safe working practices and properly-protected employees. Employers not only have a duty to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but it also makes sound business sense as this can reduce the number of days off work due to illness or injury. 

What needs to be considered?

Showa 541 Gloves - ACR Journal
When selecting hand protection you need to consider what you are protecting your workers from. An engineer might well need good grip, control and mechanical resistance to help prevent cuts and grazes when handling materials with sharp edges.
 
For instance, the lightweight Showa 541 is particularly well suited to heating, refrigeration and air conditioning engineers. As well as being a comfortable and well-fitting glove, it has a breathable PU palm coating and offers valuable protection against cuts and grazes. It is especially suitable for when dealing with pressed metal parts, housings, cable trunking, duct work and similar ancillary components. This glove has a cut-resistant performance level of 3 (out of a maximum of 5) within the EN388:2003 Standard and is widely considered as the benchmark glove of its type.
 
It’s not just protection from injuries that needs to be considered, hands also require protection from occupational health problems, such as dermatitis, irritation or other skin conditions. Contact dermatitis is inflammation of the skin that can arise from contact with a range of materials and it can be very painful for workers when carrying out everyday tasks. 

​Help is at hand!

There is a wide range of gloves designed to protect engineers for specific tasks across the HVAC sector. Globus have expert knowledge when it comes to hand protection solutions and can help customers choose gloves for specific applications. In fact we can provide a complete solution to help companies implement a robust hand protection policy for all the tasks their employees perform.
 
Your engineer’s hands have a vital role to play – why not protect them properly?
 
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