Watch the gloves you wear

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  • Plant & Equipment

While hand injuries are not uncommon in the construction, manufacturing and mining industries, they often don’t stem from workers’ reluctance to wear gloves, but the standards to which the gloves are manufactured, says leading health and safety product standards expert Richard Donarski.

Watch the gloves you wear
Your safety gloves, or personal protective equipment (PPE) is more often than not the last line of defense against most workplace hazards.

His comment comes following the release of a Queensland hand injury report commissioned by Elliots Australia which found that young males aged between 18 to 34 are the most "at risk" to workplace hand injuries.

This particular age group accounted for over half of the 1182 total recorded hand injury cases, while the construction industry accounted for 33.5 per cent of the overall total number of recorded cases, for the documented period of July 2011 to June 2013.

The report, produced by the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit at the Mater Health Service, collected injury data through participating emergency departments, which were spread across Queensland’s metropolitan (Brisbane), regional (Mackay and Moranbah Health Districts), tropical northern coast (Atherton, Mareeba, Tully and Innisfail) and remote (Mt Isa) areas.

Donarski, who has been involved in the development of health & safety product standards for over 20 years and is currently health and safety team leader for Elliott’s independent certification body – SAI Global, says many self-employed trades people are not aware of the actual requirements personal protective equipment (PPE) need to comply with.

"It’s a common misconception that all personal safety items are subject to and must meet mandatory standards," he says.

"The reality is, as many standards aren’t legislated, some manufacturers choose not to apply standards to their processes. The consequence is that the very products designed to keep you safe may not necessarily do their job as expected."

"This can have a very serious impact on the self-employed trades and their immediate family if suddenly they could no longer work due to injury."

Elliotts Australia managing director Anthony Elliott says the report highlights the importance of PPE – including gloves, in providing the last line of defence against many workplace hazards.

"Unfortunately your hands are one set of tools that don’t come with spare parts – you need to look after the set you have," he says.

Elliots Australia launched two new safety glove ranges – the G-Flex and Mec-Flex earlier this year which complies with AUS/NZS2161.3:2005 Occupational protective gloves standards and European CE standards.

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