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Hand injuries cost over $2,000 on average. If reading our newsletter helps you prevent even one injury, isn't that worth it?

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Cutting Corners Doesn’t Pay: How Quality Work Gloves Save You Money

by Derek on August 25, 2017

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According to the latest numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 39.1% of hand injuries are from cuts and lacerations. Thirty-nine percent.

Feel free to stop reading this post if that number doesn’t scare you, if it doesn’t apply to your company and you’ve perfected your PPE program. Enjoy the rest of your day, safety leader, because this article is not for you. You’re doing a fantastic job and we’re proud of you. But so you don’t feel like you wasted your click, here’s a photo of The Rock wearing a fanny pack.

dwayne the rock johnson

“via “Huffington Post”

For the rest of you, let’s dive a little deeper into this number — two out of every five accidents that are happening on a work site can easily be prevented with the right pair of work gloves.

But, figuring out which is the right pair can be challenging.

The glove that you — as a safety professional — think is right for the job, isn’t what your purchasing department thinks is the right pair.

That’s because you have differing perspectives of what is ‘right.’ Your number one goal is to make sure that everyone leaves safe at the end of the day, your purchasing department’s number one goal is to make sure that the books are balanced at the end of the day.
conflict in the workplace

But before a big ol’ blame game breaks out in the lunch room, let’s cut to the chase: neither department is wrong.

Both of your departments have been tasked with specific goals and sometimes those goals don’t obviously align. My goal for this blog is to help meet BOTH of your goals!

(Yes, life can be this good).


1. Low-Quality Gloves are Uncomfortable to Wear:

Your hand is made up of 27 bones, 34 muscles and 123 ligaments — it’s a seemingly simple yet incredibly complex part of your body.

It has curvatures that you might not even notice.

Look at your hand, did you ever notice that the webbed area between your fingers isn’t in the same spot between each finger? It’s lower between your pinky and ring finger than it is between your pointer and middle finger.

Guess what? The people who make low-quality work gloves also didn’t notice that.

These cookie cutter gloves don’t take the intricacies of your hand into account, meaning the glove won’t fit right and people won’t wear it.

A survey of 119 EHS professionals by Kimberly-Clark Professional revealed that 89 percent of safety professional saw workers not wearing PPE when it was needed.

If a glove is uncomfortable, too hot, fits badly or just doesn’t look good then it won’t be worn.

And that leads to the second reason you shouldn’t focus only on the price tag of your gloves.


2. Low-Cost Gloves Add Up:

Let’s take this scenario: You find a pair of gloves that cost three dollars. The gloves are pretty thin, but you think “they only cost three dollars so who cares how long they last?” Chances are you’re going to get two, maybe three days’ work out of those gloves before the seams split, the coating rubs off and you’re back at the store buying another pair. You’ve been returning to that store three times a week but all along you’re thinking “they’re cheap, and that makes our purchasing department happy.”

But here’s the rub of it: Those three dollar gloves don’t give a whole lot of protection, and two out of five hand injuries are from cuts and lacerations. How well do you think the three dollar gloves are going to hold up against cuts?

Then a worker gets hurt: The glove didn’t hold up well enough to sharp metal and an employee is going to the hospital. Now you have to factor in the price for worker’s compensation, insurance hikes, shutdown time for an investigation, hospital time, etc. Suddenly the cost has skyrocketed from a few bucks a week to an average of $22,384 for a single injury.

The cynics reading this will say “I’ve been working for twenty years without gloves and I’ve never had an accident… I don’t need gloves.” Well I’ve been driving for thirty years and I’ve never had an accident, but the first thing I do when I get behind the wheel is put on my seat belt because my past successes don’t dictate my future risk.

Proper glove selection is no different.

buckle up fasten your seatbelts


3. Wrong Gloves for the Job:

Like we covered in The 5 Telltale Signs That You Need a New Glove Manufacturer, a quality glove manufacturer should do the work for you and make it easy to understand how much protection a piece of PPE offers.

Gloves are 99% of what Superior Glove manufactures; we stake our reputation on making high-quality gloves that will protect you.

We use industry leading technology to create gloves out of the strongest materials on earth and we have quality control measures in place to make sure that the gloves we make meet the protection values they state.

Can the same be said for the three dollar pair of “cut proof” gloves that are missing a brand name?


4. OSHA Fines:

By now you and your purchasing manager are hopefully sitting together, contemplating and appreciating why the cheapest glove is not the best option.

But I want to make sure we’ve identified this argument from every angle.

So let’s consider the cost of a violation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the governing body in the United States and part of their job involves visiting work sites to make sure that workers are in compliance and that sites are free from violations.

The base cost for an OSHA penalty in 2017 is $12,675 per violation. Add that to the $22,384 for the average hand injury and you’re looking at a price that exceeds many mid-sized companies’ safety budgets.


5. Wash Your Gloves For Longer Lives:

At this point, I’m guessing that you and the head of purchasing are furiously reading this blog and cheering about all the money you’ll be saving.

coworkers celebrating their successes

So I want to let you in on the best part of spending a few extra dollars on your gloves:

You’ll save money by washing them!

Highly engineered work gloves are designed to have better abrasion resistance, which is crucial for getting a longer life cycle out of them.

You would be amazed by how many gloves are thrown out because they’re dirty when they could easily be washed and reused.

In wear trials, we’ve seen our gloves outlast the competition by 300%. Their glove lasted two wash cycles, our lasted eight, and that translated to an annual savings of $207,000.

The solution is simple:

  1. If you don’t have a glove washing program — get a glove washing program
  2. If you do have a glove washing program but it isn’t saving you money — you need better gloves
  3. If you do have a glove washing program but it is saving you money — check out the photo at the top of this blog because you’re doing great!

Your Big Takeaway:

Spending money to save money seems counter-intuitive, so much so that the prefrontal cortex of your brain — the part that predicts outcomes — gets all wonky trying to rationalize it. But we have a proven track-record of helping companies reduce their glove spending AND hand injuries.

So if you and your purchasing manager are ready to meet your goals together, click the button below and get involved with our free Advocate Partnership Program. We will work with you to make sure you’re getting the best products to suit your need and your budget.
advocate partnership program

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