A Helping Hand

Feb. 27, 2003
Large companies generally have the resources to conduct an extensive hazard analysis to determine types of hazards, how they can be eliminated and what personal protective equipment (PPE) might be necessary to protect employees. But what can small employers do?

They might not have the expertise or personnel to conduct hazard assessments or risk analysis, and might be missing out on some PPE choices.

There is help available for smaller companies who have employees who are experiencing hand injuries. Ray Morris of Ansell Occupational Healthcare, which manufactures gloves for a number of applications, says his company offers to conduct hand protection loss control analysis for customers. The analysis examines recordable and non-recordable hand and finger injuries and the costs of those injuries to the employer. Other glove manufacturers offer similar services.

"Non-recordable injuries cost, on average, $100 per occurrence," says Morris. "If a company has 400 non-recordable hand injuries a year, we show them how much more product they have to manufacture to pay for the cost of those injuries."

Ansell also conducts hazard assessments at facilities to help customers find the best gloves for their applications. Representatives from Ansell tour the facility with the plant safety manager and safety team leaders and look for hazards such as sharp edges, oil, grip, chemicals, heat, snag and abrasive surfaces. They try to match up the best glove with the protection needs of the workers.

"Often, we come up with a solution offering increased dexterity and increased protection, which means a shorter time to assemble the product and higher production rates. If we don't have a glove to fit their needs, we tell them," says Morris.

So, check with your local safety equipment distributor or the manufacturer that provides your gloves and ask if they do hazard evaluations or loss control analysis or if they can help you develop an effective hand protection program.

For more information, visit Ansell Occupational Healthcare's Web site at www.ansellpro.com.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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