Boost your bottom line and improve morale with a glove analysis.

In 1999*, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, reported 27,100 lost-workday injuries that resulted directly from burns. The good news is, in less than a decade, this number is down significantly from 1993's statistics, which totaled 37,700 lost-workday injuries. The bad news is, these burn injuries alone, which average $3,000 per incident, cost American industry $81.3 million that year.

Your employees work with temperatures up to and sometimes beyond 1,000oF (538oC). According to the standard that covers hand protection -- OSHA 29 CFR 1910.138 -- employers should base their selection of "appropriate hand protection" on the "performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the tasks, ?conditions, ?and hazards and potential hazards identified." Until 2000, the OSHA standard, which is somewhat vague, was the only one to go by.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Industrial Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) have developed a standard that clarifies which glove to choose for a given application. This standard, ANSI/ISEA 105-2000, helps to eliminate some of the confusion by creating standard definitions for various glove properties.

Even with the standardization, facilities must continuously assess their own operation's glove program. An effective way to do this is with a facility glove audit.

A complete facility analysis paints a comprehensive picture of a plant's existing use of protective gloves, according to Robert Gheesling, regional business manager at Wells Lamont Industry Group, Niles, Ill. He explains that it is an extensive, intensive, on-site visit by a glove professional who will walk through the entire plant and observe glove use (or lack thereof) in every area of the facility. The professional will evaluate actual and potential hazards and assess how effectively current glove usage prevents accidents. The auditor also will look at the facility's expenditures on hand protection and be alert for opportunities to consolidate purchasing efforts while raising the overall quality of protection at the same time.

Gheesling says that by honing in on potential risks through careful and complete analysis of a plant's environment, an auditor often finds that, in addition to a reduction in the number of costly accidents, actual savings are realized in terms of more efficient glove purchasing as well. He adds that companies that conduct a thorough glove survey find that the proactive measure has a positive impact on productivity and employee morale.

Assessment Benefits

Plant managers and safety directors know the value of an extra set of eyes when evaluating the effectiveness of a seemingly comprehensive safety program. Often an outsider will spot potential hazards immediately upon entering a facility. It is this educated third-party perspective that makes a facility glove survey so valuable.

Gheesling says that one reason for conducting a facility glove survey is to improve the profitability of the facility by saving on the cost of accidents, saving on the purchase of gloves, and making the facility more productive as a result of the correct specification and use of protective gloves.

A facility glove survey by a glove professional can offer real cost savings to a company. But the concern for workers' safety and ability to perform their jobs with confidence is where the real value lies. After all, workers' hands are a company's most important and valuable tools ?nd need to be protected.

For information about or to purchase the new ANSI/ISEA standard, visit www.safetycentral.org/isea or www.ansi.org. For more information about Wells Lamont's hand protection or facility glove analysis, visit www.wellslamont.com.

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