Every year, hand accidents continue to increase. Among the 1.4 million accidents reported, almost 500,000 are work-related; 27% of them result in sick leave. 1.6% of hand accidents result in physical disability. The human and economic consequences are catastrophic. Safety at work requires maximum prevention and protection. Protecting the hands of employees is a major challenge.
Hand protection: a major challenge.
Hands are the primary tool, both essential and fragile, of the everyday worker. A great sensory organ, the hand is made up of nearly 2000 touch receptors at the tip of each finger, making it a precious human machine that offers an incomparable sense of touch, great precision, and dexterity in movement, as well as a flexible grip. Agile and resistant, the hand is an essential working tool. But along with the wrists and forearms, it is one of the most exposed areas of the body because it is often used in the front line in many fields of activity: food industry, construction, transport, handling, etc. The risks that hands face are particularly dangerous: abrasion, cuts, burns, punctures, splashes of molten metal or chemical liquids. They can cause major injuries with more or less serious consequences: bone fractures, dislocations, sprains, wounds, burns, infections, violent shocks. Some tragic situations result in the traumatic amputation of a hand or finger. Facing this reality, anticipating the risks and providing effective hand protection is vital. Wearing work gloves is a guarantee of protection against risks.
How to prevent risks and ensure good hand protection?
Every workplace presents risks to the upper limbs of the human body. This is proven by the large number of hand-related accidents at work. It is therefore important for employers to correctly identify the causes of these accidents to better prevent them. For instance, machines with moving parts are the source of dangerous situations that are not always properly considered beforehand. Cold or hot tools, with sharp or cutting edges, generate risks of frostbite, burns and cuts. The handling of chemical substances, which are particularly toxic to the skin of the hands, causes irreversible damage to the skin. Every company should therefore make an accurate record of all types of hand accidents to provide its employees with personal protective equipment appropriate to the risks. It is imperative that employees undergo a parallel training program on the correct use of hand protection gloves and the safety procedures in place. Raising awareness and informing workers about the level of danger at their workstation reduces exposure to mechanical, thermal, and chemical hazards. As well as teaching them to wear their personal protective equipment properly and to use it safely. Putting on protective, insulating and resistant gloves is an essential first step.
Choosing the right gloves for optimal hand protection
Safety gloves are regulated by European standards which provide different levels of protection depending on the risks involved. It is therefore important to choose the right pair of hand protection gloves: a cut-resistant glove will not have the same characteristics as a glove that protects against cold or heat. The materials (polyester, nylon, mesh, acrylic) and finishes (seamless, reinforced, coated) differ. It is important to refer to the glove standards and the level of reinforcement for optimal hand protection.
The size of the gloves is also a crucial point; if the glove is too small, it does not provide a good grip because it is too tight on the back and the palm of the hand. If they are uncomfortable, they do not encourage you to wear them. If they are too big, the worker risks losing them during handling or getting them stuck in a machine, taking the hand with them. A good hand protection glove should feel like a second skin all the way to the fingertips for good dexterity, comfort and safety.