Improving hand protection at Toxfree
Tasks performed by industrial waste staff include handling wire ropes, hoses, clips and high-pressure water equipment. While they had previously been wearing leather riggers’ gloves, the prevalence of injuries led the company to look at alternatives.
“Typical injuries that may be sustained include cuts, punctures from clean-up site steel chemical contact,” said Rodney Hall, Toxfree’s health safety and quality environment manager.
“Nationally, our people were experiencing 15–20 injuries annually, equating to one to two instances of injury per month at one of our locations throughout the country. Most injuries were flesh wounds and cuts which involved one or two stitches.”
An extensive glove trial program was therefore undertaken, involving the assessment of a variety of glove brands, sizes, fit and materials. It was found that Ansell HyFlex cut-resistant gloves possessed the right combination of protection and comfort across the styles selected. The company is now using HyFlex11-537, 11-539, 11-724 and 11-727.
Toxfree’s hand protection policy aims to specify a minimum of Cut Level 3 or 4; however, every task that workers perform is now risk assessed prior to commencement. Operators are issued with a job code in the morning and they select the style of glove needed for the task they are performing that day.
“From the time our hand protection policy was implemented, all staff were required to carry gloves and use them while performing their tasks. Operators are not permitted to remove gloves to carry out any tasks.
“All our people carry a compact, laminated Toxfree risk assessment guide that lets them carry out a risk assessment on the job and very quickly determine the type of glove they need for that job. The Toxfree risk matrix has really helped our people identify risks and to select the right type of protection,” said Hall.
Since implementing the glove policy in conjunction with new types of gloves, the company reports that the severity of injuries has dropped dramatically. According to Hall, the injuries sustained now are generally just minor cuts or compression injuries.
“The fact our new gloves are well fitted and comfortable has really encouraged compliance with our glove policy,” he said.
Phone: 03 9270 7270
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