When you are trying to optimise the safety of those working in your business, if you are in a more manual field having the right personal protective equipment is essential when your employees are exposed to hazards. As our hands are essential in the work that we normally do, these are often the parts of a workers body that is put most in harm’s way. The only other body part that is put more at risk is the back, with excess heavy lifting the leading cause of damage.
Here are some of the ways that you can use PPE to protect your employees from hand injuries in the workplace.
How PPE can be used to help prevent hand injuries
1. Perform an adequate risk assessment to work out the hazards
If you are looking into the type of PPE to safeguard your employees with, a proper risk assessment is essential when it comes to making the right choice. Be sure to look at all areas of the workplace activities as this will help you build up a complete picture of the type of equipment that you will need. For example, if the risk assessment identifies that there is a spike in the number of handling hazards present during a certain time, this could indicate that more hand PPE is needed to help keep workers safe.
2. Identify the right type of protective equipment you need for the relevant hazards
Identifying the right type of protective equipment will help you prioritise the type of protection that your employees need. PPE not only helps with ‘accident’ hazards such as electrocution and heat, but germs are also a danger that the right protective equiptment can prevent.
The prevention of bacteria spreading is crucial in medical fields where sanitised gloves are often worn. Additionally encouraging employees in other fields to wash hands and use the right PPE when performing ‘dirty’ jobs can help with the prevention of illness. Food poisoning is a big issue for many who work in catering for example.
PPE also needs to be considered in more engineering-based roles. Arc Flash PPE is very important when it comes to safeguarding employees when they are carrying out electrical work and it acts as a good from of defence against potentially serious injuries.
3. Educate your staff on the proper ways to wear and use the new PPE
A lot of the time if the PPE is not properly worn, it can do little to prevent the occurrence of hazards. Properly educating your staff on how to put on PPE will overcome this and help them stay safe in their working duties. For example, protective gloves should be worn over the cuff to help prevent hazards from reaching the skin.
4. Measure and record the effectiveness of the PPE (and learn from it)
If you have access to data prior to the implementation of PPE, this can be very useful when it comes to measuring the effectiveness. It must be stated that most experts recommend PPE as a ‘last resort’. Steps should be taken to minimise the exposure of the hazards in the first place. This is where measuring the effectiveness of PPE is important as some studies suggest that the use of PPE causes a more casual attitude to the exposure of the hazard, putting the PPE user more at risk.