26 July 2017

GLOVES HELP PROTECT YOUR WORKFORCE AND YOUR BUSINESS

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Trying to save money by not investing in the right type of gloves for your employees is a significant false economy. There have been several cases of companies being penalised for not giving their staff adequate protection from the potential hazards they face at work.

One city council was ordered to pay a significant sum by London’s Civil Appeal Court for not issuing a street cleaner with the right type of gloves for clearing rubbish.

Had the council provided its employee with a high-cut protection glove, this situation and cost might have been avoided.

In another case, a media services company was brought before a judge because it had not provided an employee with gloves for filling his work van with diesel and he ended up with skin contact dermatitis.

However, it is not just these big compensation claims that businesses need to worry about if they do not provide adequate hand protection. Further costs to businesses could include private medical care, or an increase in insurance premiums, litigation costs and a potential cost of from the HSE for their involvement. The Health and Safety Executive estimates that 3.1 million work days were lost to “lacerations and open wounds” in 2011/12, many of which would have been hand injuries.

Aside from the immediate impact of cuts, skin complaints such as dermatitis that can build up over time can involve costs greater than a business anticipates. Reporting by GPs suggests around 40,000 new cases of work-related skin disease are identified each year, many of which will result in time off work.

These are significant numbers that inflict a double whammy on the employer - they would be forced to pay sick leave to the employee while they recover and at the same time be a person down for the duration of their absence. Even if the employee does not take time off for their injury, their ability to work effectively could be reduced.

While this is bad news for any business, small and medium size enterprises are particularly hard hit, as one employee is a greater proportion of the workforce.

It is also worth considering the damage to your business’ reputation caused if you do not ensure workers have appropriate personal protective equipment. Prospective customers and employees are likely to look elsewhere if they feel a company’s safety standards and procedures are not sufficient.

In selecting the right glove, you must consider both the employee and the task they need to do. Some questions to think about include:

  • Do the gloves fit the worker?
  • What materials/substances might they be expected to handle?
  • For how long?

By not providing your employees with well fitting gloves suitable for the job at hand businesses are opening themselves up to unexpected costs, both financially and to their reputations. So, by protecting your employees’ hands, you are protecting your business.

If you would like any help in assessing the cut level safety gloves required to ensure your employees are safe, then please contact our Hand Protection Specialist team.