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The Basics of Hand Safety

by Joe Geng on October 6, 2014

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The goal of all safety departments is to prevent injury. Hands are the first thing that get exposed to potential injury. They should be the first thing that is on the minds of safety engineers and workers.

So where do you start with hand safety? Here are some basic steps that should be implemented in any hand safety program.


Engineering and Work Practices:

The first place to start is to do a job hazard analysis. Sometimes the best way to prevent an injury is to eliminate the potential for injury from the beginning. Start with engineering analysis of the job to see where the potential hazards might be.

Once any problem areas have been identified, look for ways to eliminate the hazards by:

  • Modifying the machinery used
  • Install guards or buffers to prevent hands from being put in harm’s way
  • Isolate hazards
  • Look for alternate materials that will eliminate the danger


Proper Gloves and Hand Protection:

It may be possible to eliminate many of the hazards on the job. When you cannot eliminate them all, care must be taken to protect the hands as much as possible from exposure to hazards.

Gloves are the hands’ first line of defense against injury. Safety engineers must be careful to select the proper gloves based upon the job hazards. Improper selection could prove more dangerous than the actual hazard itself.

An example of this would be a case where gloves provide electrical safety but are not rated for heat. In a case where an electrical overload causes extreme temperatures, gloves not capable of handling that could end up melting and causing more severe burns than the electrical heat to begin with.

Knowing what protections a glove offer can help selection of the proper hand protection. Gloves are grouped into four general categories:

  • Work Gloves
  • Fabric/Coated Gloves
  • Chemical and Liquid resistant
  • Insulating Gloves

Your job hazard analysis will help you select the proper gloves for the job.

Proper Training:

Once the job hazards have been identified and hand protection selected, users must be trained on proper procedures to prevent injuries. Training should focus on equipment use and limitations, as well as proper usage of the gloves.

Make sure training focuses on what the gloves are capable of protecting against as well as what they are not. Make sure users know when a glove is damaged and needs to be replaced.


Worker Awareness:

While performing the job, workers must be alert and present at the job site. Work that seems routine can sometimes be the most dangerous. Workers become complacent and are not as aware of hazards as they should be. Being aware of hands, arms, wrists and loose clothing are key to preventing injury.


Proper Handling and Care of Gloves:

Gloves that are stored improperly, cleaned improperly or even put away damaged can be potential sources of injury. Make sure workers are aware of what proper equipment looks like, as well as what to do with their hand protection when they are finished with it.

These basic steps can get you on your way to developing a comprehensive hand safety program. Consider Superior Glove for our wide selection of PPE for all of your safety needs.

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