Safety, on hand
One of the key factors required to create a safety-conscious workplace, which incurs the absolute minimum of injuries, is to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) that workers want to wear consistently and correctly.
Hazards exist in every workplace so strategies to protect workers are essential. “The priority should be the elimination and control of risks at their source or along the path between the source and the worker,” explains Gary Singh, business manager at Occupational Health and Safety Training (OHST) – a fully accredited Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) institute.
“Many methods are available, and those most appropriate to the specific situation should be used.” He adds that risk control at its source should be the first choice. “This method will eliminate risk from the workplace altogether or isolate it from the worker,” says Singh.
When the hazard cannot be removed or controlled adequately, however, PPE must be used if the work process is to continue. “PPE should be considered as the last level of protection when all other methods are not available or possible,” Singh points out.
Stephen Burrow, sales director at HSE Solutions – a South African supplier of high-performance PPE – adds: “Notwithstanding the importance of thoughtful company regulations and safety awareness programmes, it is often the individual workers who will decide whether or not they always wear their PPE as prescribed.”
He continues: “It is with this in mind that a vast amount of research and development has gone into producing PPE that is comfortable, ergonomically designed, attractive and custom-engineered for specific applications. Safety gloves are no exception.”
Honeywell Safety Products, exclusively represented in South Africa by HSE Solutions, has followed these steps to produce its Perfect Cutting range of cut- and puncture-resistant hand protection.
Its Dyneema Diamond/lycra knitted glove, which has black polyurethane coating on the palm and tips of fingers, including an elastic wrist, offers various benefits. “The knitting technique helps to obtain a glove that conforms snugly to the hand, with good dexterity,” notes Burrow. “The polyurethane coating at the palm and fingertips provides outstanding abrasion resistance,” he adds.
“With the rapid development of new technologies, it is hard to forecast what the next breakthrough in hand protection will be, but sustainability will definitely be a factor, as the push towards green products and processes gathers momentum.”