OHS Canada Magazine

How to get workers to wear safety gloves and prevent hand injuries


Every year, millions of workers are injured on the job with a significant number of reported occupational injuries being hand related. Many of these injuries occur because workers either remove their safety gloves or are not wearing any hand protection at all.

If you want your workers to wear gloves and mitigate the risk of injury, you need to pay attention to the two most often overlooked factors: the hassle factor and the discomfort factor.

Hassle factor

When gloves become too inconvenient to access, workers will more often choose to work without them, leading to injuries. Instead of relying on workers to go out of their way in search of gloves, consider eliminating the hassle altogether. There are several ways to achieve this:

  • Placing a box of gloves or a glove vending machine in an easily accessible area closer to the work site
  • Hanging specialized gloves on glove boards, labeled by task, so workers can choose the correct gloves for the tasks at hand
  • Providing clips for workers to keep their gloves hanging from their belts for easy access when gloves are not being used

Discomfort factor

If the safety gloves are not comfortable, your workers will not wear them! If you see your workers taking their gloves off to perform tasks, it’s important to understand why by asking questions such as:

    • Are workers too hot wearing them?
    • Are the gloves too bulky and limiting their range of motion?
    • Are they the incorrect size?

Often, workers don’t even realize their actions—removing their gloves can be an involuntary response to wearing uncomfortable gloves. Every safety manager must consider testing gloves with their workers before buying them in bulk. Comfortable gloves are gloves that aren’t too bulky or too hot for the climate. They’re gloves that are replaced or laundered regularly and provide an appropriate level of protection instead of being overkill “just to be on the safe side.”

Advertisement

Simply put, if gloves aren’t worn, they will not protect your workers! When supplying gloves, you want to ensure the gloves offer adequate protection against hazards, but it is equally important to ensure that the gloves are easy to access and comfortable to wear. If your workers aren’t wearing their gloves, safety managers should talk to them, reassess their situation, and take appropriate actions.

Next steps

To learn more on how to help keep your workers safe, including implementing effective safe work practices that reduce the risk of hand injuries, check out REThinking Hand Safety by author and Vice President of Superior Glove, Joe Geng. REThinking Hand Safety offers useful and effective techniques to improve your hand safety program—techniques that come with years of experience and expertise that can be applied immediately for results.

Get your free copy of REThinking Hand Safety HERE.