A worker’s hands are arguably his or her most important tools. So protecting those meat hooks from the assorted daily calamities they face at work is critical for a jobsite’s efficiency and performance.
But picking the right glove isn’t always an easy choice. Do a Job Hazard Analysis to determine which gloves can capably defend your digits. It’s a systematic breakdown of a particular task’s steps and the hazards associated with each step. For tasks that involve the hands coming into direct contact with a hazardous surface, substance, or condition, work gloves are crucial safety tools. But what is the most effective way to make sure the correct gloves are in use?
Avoid Option Overwhelming
- Don’t overwhelm workers with too many options.
- Offer three to four quality choices.
- Let your workers pick.
For example, if a task requires a standard cut-and-sew trade glove, but has no other hazards, you could give workers a choice between a reinforced pair, a high dexterity pair or a leather pair. Other variables could include closure type (gauntlet or hook & loop), material on the dorsal (back of the hand) side, size, and color.
Unless the task is very specific and safety-sensitive, you don’t need to require a specific glove. When it comes to maximizing safety, comfort is often as important as the glove’s characteristics and is generally a matter of personal preference.
Rule with an Iron Fist
However, if the job and the hazard do require a specific type of glove, then you must insist upon their use and have a reasonable explanation for that insistence.
Such situations might include:
- High-cut hazards
- Prolonged exposure to vibration and impact
In these situations, gloves may need to meet a certain standard for mechanical risks or comply with a requirement imposed by a regulatory body and/or company management.
Keep the Suggestion Box Open
Who better than your workers to provide real-time feedback on safety wear? If you have a workplace safety committee, make use of it. If you don’t, create one! Canvass your workers and talk to your vendor about providing samples to test. This will allow workers to get a feel for different styles, materials, and fits. User manuals, data sheets, and stats can tell you a lot, but they’re most useful when combined with workers’ opinions.
This is especially valuable if you’ve had past compliance issues with glove regulations. When workers can pick their safety equipment, they are more likely to actually wear it. And ultimately, isn’t that the point?
Follow these tips to get jobsite safety under your thumb.