With up to 40% of all workplace accidents involving hands to some degree, the need for an effective hand safety programme can't be emphasized enough. Reduced hand accidents will not only save many workers from the trauma of injury but also prevent lost man hours and replacement cover costs; a wise investment indeed!
In this blog, we'll provide the first basic steps to developing a hand protection programme to keep workforces safe.
The foundation of any hand safety program is to collate incident and injury data and analyze it to detect 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 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 TraffiGlove our advice is free)!
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. 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
- Any monitoring methods and procedures
After training has been conducted, it's highly recommended to begin an internal safety awareness campaign to emphasize the importance of the hand safety programme. This can include posters, flyers, banners and newsletters 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 a robust hand safety programme for your workforce - just remember to keep promoting positive behaviour along the way!