With up to 40% of all workplace accidents involving hands to some degree, we understand the need for an effective hand safety programme. Reducing hand accidents will not only save many workers from the trauma of injury but also prevent lost man hours and spare you huge costs.
Keep reading to find out the first basic steps in creating an effective hand protection programme to keep yourself and others safe.
The first step of any hand safety program is to collect incident and injury data and analyse it to identify trends. The health and safety department or professional should keep the following questions in mind:
• 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 the analysis has been completed, it will give the health and safety professional a thorough understanding of the exact types of hand injuries employees are having and what they're doing when they happen. It then becomes possible to pin down specific hand injury hazards and any underperforming PPE.
In terms of PPE, workers should always be supplied with gloves which provide appropriate levels of protection for the tasks in hand. Where hand protection fails this should be investigated further, including contacting safety glove suppliers to discuss different, and more suitable options.
The next stage should focus on training the workforce on the guidelines of the hand protection programme, including an explanation of why the program is needed in the first place. Clear instructions should be given on the application of the programme including:
• Which safety gloves should be worn for particular job duties?
• The proper use, care, and maintenance of 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 a range of collateral such as posters or leaflets, in addition to verbal reminders to reinforce the message.
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.
Using these steps as a basic starting point, your health and safety department or professional will be well on the way to developing an effective hand safety programme for your workforce - just remember to keep promoting positive behaviour along the way!