Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Touching on Trends in Hand Protection

Protecting hands with the right gloves ...

"What can employers and workers expect from hand protection in the near future?
Our hands are the second-most useful tool we have (the most useful tool being our brains). So, let’s use our brains and examine new trends and technologies in hand protection.

In 2005 – the most recent year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has published such data – more than 160,000 workers experienced hand or finger injuries requiring days away from work. Nearly 9,000 of these injuries were caused by exposure to harmful environments such as chemicals, while approximately 140,000 were caused by contact with objects such as equipment or knives.

Cherilyn Nelson, vice president, fiber and knitting technology, for Ansell Healthcare, notes that occupational hand protection requirements recently have been impacted by a number of factors, including industrial trends and changes in the work force. The shift in American industry from production to service has created a similar shift in worker needs for hand protection.

“Heavy, thick gloves – once considered a standard in hand protection – are being replaced by a variety of industry-specific products which offer hand protection while maintaining or improving worker productivity,” says Nelson.

It is just not enough that the gloves do the job and protect hands from chemicals, abrasive materials or sharp objects. They also must fit well and allow for finger and wrist movement.

Much of the basic technology surrounding chemical protection and cut protection has not changed much for years, says David Shutt, global product manager for Best Manufacturing Inc. However, “everybody is doing something to enhance the base polymer, doing something to enhance softness, to increase comfort, to reduce hand fatigue and to enhance chemical resistance,” he admits."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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