As a health and safety professional, or anyone involved in the procurement of PPE, you won’t need convincing that hand protection is vital. But is it really necessary to implement a whole hand protection programme?

The short answer is yes - many smart organisations are beginning to realise that a hand protection programme is as important as the gloves themselves. And here’s why.

1. How else do you know which gloves minimise risks for every worker in every environment?

If your employees need hand protection for a variety of roles, how can you be sure they’re wearing the gloves that will provide the best protection from chemicals, punctures, burns or cuts from different sorts of instruments or blades? How do you know which gloves are least likely to cause your product to slip out of the employee’s hands and onto the floor, a foot, or another batch of products? And how do you find gloves that reduce the likelihood of hand fatigue, or are the most durable when used for a particular activity? After all, continuous glove replacement is an unnecessary cost and inconvenience.

It’s not an easy job. You’ve got enough on your plate without having to search and compare thousands of pairs of gloves and their specifications. But it's important to get it right because the wrong gloves can actually increase accidents and injuries. That’s why a good hand protection programme makes a difference. Experts come to your business and assess the working environment of each of your employees. They know everything about regulations, risk factors, materials and coatings, and will research products across multiple brands before recommending the best gloves available for your staff members and their roles. This better planning up front results in fewer injuries and significant cost savings for your business.

2. How else do you know whether your new gloves do what they’re supposed to?

Some companies will buy a large supply of gloves, only to realise that they’re not fit for purpose. Or worse, people start to get hurt. It’s imperative you have the chance to properly test the gloves first before you make a commitment. Not only does the glove need to perform to your expectations, but also, your employees need to feel comfortable wearing it.

Your hand protection programme gives you an opportunity to assess the recommended products in real working environments to make sure they do the job right. With guidance from experts, your workers also try them for fit and comfort. An ill-fitting glove is not only a hazard but your employees might be tempted to take them off and work without them. These are all good reasons why a hand protection programme is a sensible route to a safer working environment.

3. How else can you be sure your workforce accepts the change?

Changing from one product to another is rarely straightforward. Your workers may not understand why the change is necessary and may be less inclined to accept it. And it's difficult to communicate to a large organisation of individuals how a decision affects them. New rules about the need for different gloves for different activities, for example, can cause confusion and lead to mistakes.

The success of any culture change relies on the right communication. A good hand protection programme works with your business from start to finish. It helps you gain acceptance of all changes through carefully devised and placed visual information such as signs, posters showing glove features,and boards displaying an activity matrix showing the correct hand protection for every task. Toolbox talks, training and operator handbooks should also be available, to ensure employees and their managers understand what level of protection they need for each job.

Anchor Safety’s Hand Protection Programme uses professional workplace assessments and trials to offer expert advice on all aspects of hand protection. We help you identify the right glove for every worker, ease the culture change, and help you achieve a consistent supply. Call us on 0800 328 5028 for more information on how we can help you set up a hand protection programme that drives down injuries.