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Superior Glove recently had the pleasure of hosting two of the automotive industry’s finest experts: Derek Coughlin of Superior Glove and Alex Blair of DuPont™ Kevlar® for our webinar, “How One Decision Reduced an Auto Plant’s Hand Injuries by 50%.” It focused on a case study where Superior teamed up with DuPont™ to help one plant reduce their glove usage, costs and hand injuries. Below are the five big takeaways from our automotive and steel webinar, in case you missed it.
When the ANSI cut standard increased the levels last year from 5 to 9, a lot of end-users began asking for gloves that were rated for cut level 8 or 9. This level of protection is needed for applications like metal stamping. But these higher levels of cut protection aren’t needed for most applications. According to Derek, cut level A4 (on the new standard) is becoming the preferred level of cut resistance in a lot of situations. Instead of looking for the highest cut resistance, Derek suggested finding gloves that provide cut protection but also that employees find comfortable.
Implementing a laundering program is a simple and effective way to increase the lifespan of your gloves. Washing a load of gloves is more cost effective than replacing gloves on a single-use basis.
But be sure to follow proper laundering instructions as provided by the manufacturer. As Derek explained, “you can potentially get another 3 to 4 washes out of a glove that is laundered properly rather than just hit with a lot of heat.”
When Derek visits plants, he notices employees will grab 10 to 15 pairs of gloves at a time, and used gloves will be strewn across the floor. He suggests pairing laundering with a “get-a-glove-give-a-glove” program to reduce the amount of gloves being used.
In the case study, management’s main goal was to look at why they had such high glove usage and why their hand injuries were so high.
Superior and DuPont™ coordinated a wear trial with the onsite distributor and laundering company and took the following steps:
“The company is now completely converted to this product now as a result of our findings,” Alex said, “so it was a very good scenario for everyone.” This was only possible by bringing everyone into the conversation. Superior and DuPont™ considered the variables, listened to the concerns from all parties and that helped to successfully eliminate concerns and improve the plant’s situation.
When it comes to hand and arm protection, people tend to focus on the level of cut resistance that the PPE provides. But a product’s level of abrasion resistance should also be considered.
“A lot of companies are going cheaper, cheaper, cheaper, but then are also trying to wash their gloves but that doesn’t really work,” said Derek. “The reason why is that the glove wears out prematurely.”
In this case study, the automotive plant was purchasing a less expensive glove based on the bottom line. But because employees had to swap the glove out two to three times per shift, it became more expensive in the long run. The wear trial proved that the company could save money on a higher-end glove as long as they had a longer wear life.
“Gloves made for the automotive industry should not be treated as a one-and-done,” Alex said, “they are designed to be reused.”
Consolidation is another option for saving costs. It’s part of the strategy that Alex and Derek look to when visiting a plant. The benefit that Derek highlights is that rather than having 10 different gloves that perform similar tasks, “you can consolidate [your gloves] to two or three… it’s much more effective.”
It’s beneficial for the purchasing department, who are watching the bottom line; it clears up the clutter of stocking several different styles, and makes it easier for employees to select the proper glove for the task.
Having a good relationship with your distributor and glove manufacturer helps to keep safety at the forefront and keep costs down. With programs like our Advocate Hand Protection Program, hand safety specialists like Derek and engineered-yarn experts like Alex are always willing to come visit your plant, make suggestions and help keep workers safe.
(Want to try the glove that reduced one automotive plant’s injuries by 50 percent? Click the button below to get your FREE sample!)
You might also be interest in these related articles,
[Interview] Derek Coughlin Automotive Specialist on Glove Innovation
Automotive Safety: An Interview with Alex Blair (DuPont™ Kevlar®)
Discover Why this Magna Division Loves our Kevlar® Gloves
Or this related Infographic,
Guide to Choosing the Best Automotive Industry Gloves
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Hand Injury Rates are Reduced by 60% when using the right gloves.