Before we begin, we feel it is important to share some alarming statistics which suggest why having an effective hand safety programme is crucial. It has been reported that up to 40% of all workplace accidents involve hands to some degree and 70% of hand injuries occur after safety gloves have been removed! With this in mind, we have put together the first basic steps to developing a hand protection programme to keep your workforce safe. So let’s get started…
Step one: ANALYSIS
The foundation of any hand safety programme is to collate incident and injury data and analyse it to detect trends. The Health and Safety department or professional should look to answer the following questions:
- What are the most common hand injuries? Are they cuts, burns or fractures etc.?
- How did the injuries happen? Were they related to handling tools and equipment? Are they the result of chemical exposure?
- In what conditions did the injuries occur? Was it wet or icy?
Once a thorough analysis of hand accidents in the workplace is complete, it will give the Health and Safety professional a comprehensive understanding of the exact types of hand injuries employees are having and what they're doing when they happen. With this data, it becomes possible to pin down specific hand injury hazards and any underperforming PPE or practices which require attention.
In terms of PPE, workers should always be supplied with gloves which provide appropriate levels of protection for their duties. Any failing hand protection should be investigated further, including contacting safety glove suppliers to discuss different - and more suitable - options (here at Traffi our advice is free)!
Step two: ACTION
The next stage should focus on training the workforce on the guidelines of the hand protection programme, including an explanation of why the programme is needed in the first place. Additionally, clear instructions should be given on the implementation of the programme including:
- Which safety gloves should be worn for particular job duties
- The proper use, care and maintenance of safety gloves (Read our blog on how to care for your safety gloves)
- Any monitoring methods and procedures
After training has been conducted, it's highly recommended to begin an internal safety awareness campaign to emphasise the importance of the hand safety programme. This can include posters, flyers, banners and newsletters in addition to verbal reminders to reinforce the message.
Step Three: CHECK IN
Once the programme has been fully launched, the last step is to ensure workers are adhering to the new safety guidelines and monitor results. This can be achieved by using hand safety requirement checklists, performing regular safety audits, providing easy ways for workers to report safety hazards and having managers reinforce hand protection awareness. The aim is to ensure workers fully understand the need for hand protection and the procedures put in place to improve safety for all.
If you follow these tips as a basic starting point, you should be on your way to implementing a great hand safety programme for your workforce! If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch, we are happy to help.