Protecting employees from workplace cut hazards
Stihl, a producer of heavy-duty power chain saws, develops equipment that makes cuts when and where they are needed. During a recent review of safety gloves for employees at the company’s manufacturing plant in Wil, Switzerland, it was determined gloves meeting EN 388 cut level 3 offered the required protection to protect its employees’ hands from accidental cuts during manufacturing operations.
“We sought a safety glove that would significantly improve the cut protection for our employees as well as their willingness to wear them,” explained Roland Zürcher, safety expert at Stihl Kettenwerk GmbH & Co.
After extensive testing of a total of 13 different gloves, Stihl selected the HyFlex 11-518 cut-resistant safety glove made by Ansell as it meets the requirements of cut level 3 according to EN 388 and yet it is relatively thin for maximum dexterity. The glove is also breathable, abrasion resistant and has a thin polyurethane coating on the palm side for optimum tactility.
“The gloves we used previously were either too thick and heavy or didn’t offer enough protection,” said Zürcher. “This was particularly true for the handling of smaller parts, such as the razor-sharp cutting teeth for the chains of our power saws.”
The HyFlex 11-518 glove was developed in close collaboration with the fibre specialists at DSM Dyneema and is based on Dyneema Diamond Technology. This technology delivers a yarn with about half the weight and thickness of those used in traditional HMPE gloves. This makes it possible to create a finer knitting structure, resulting in higher flexibility and improved grip, without any compromises in cut, tear and abrasion resistance. The fibre also has good heat conductivity for a ‘cool feel’ - making gloves easier to work with when compared to heavier, stiffer gloves.
“Despite their high cut resistance, these gloves leave our employees with a safe feel for the parts. And when everything is under control at the first grip, work also has a much smoother and more productive flow,” said Zürcher.
The HyFlex safety gloves have been successfully in use for over 12 months. The gloves are said to have met with a high level of acceptance among Stihl’s employees and it has been reported that there have been fewer hand injuries coupled with a positive effect on the costs of occupational safety insurance.
“We see a growing demand for thin, yet extremely cut-resistant, safety gloves in various markets,” said Werner Schwarzberger, senior regional sales manager industrial and specialty markets at Ansell. “The Dyneema Diamond Technology used in the HyFlex 11-518 results in a glove that meets cut level 3 while at the same time providing the fingertip sensitivity of bare hands.”
Gloves based on this technology can also be washed and re-used multiple times, depending on their use and wear, without losing their cut-protection properties.
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