Taking Responsibility For Choosing Personal Protective
But the trouble is that there are now so many different varieties of work glove available that it can be hard to know for certain that the right type have been chosen for the right job. Legally it is the duty of the employer to ensure that the correct personal protective equipment has been supplied, and that it has been implemented in the right way. Additionally it is the employer's responsibility to make sure that all staff are suitably trained in the use of the safety equipment, and understand how to verify that it is in suitable condition, and know what to do in cases where safety equipment such as work gloves appear damaged, worn or unsuitable.
However, the day to day implementation of these rules, regulations and duties still lies with the employee, and of course it goes without saying that whereas the employer may be liable to prosecution and a fine if the safety regulations are broken, employees could lose fingers or their hand if unsuitable or inappropriate work gloves or other PPE equipment is supplied.
One of the first things to appreciate as an employee is that safety isn't necessarily all about thicker gloves. It used to be the case that the only real type of safety glove available was a leather gauntlet, and that this would be worn in any circumstances where sharp blades, saws or other dangerous machinery or equipment was being used. But it was realised some time ago that thicker gloves don't always mean more protection.
In fact in some cases the thick gloves gave a false sense of security, leading employees to take risks they wouldn't otherwise do had they not been wearing such apparently thick protection. It's only when that protection reveals itself to be woefully insufficient that the truth is realised. The other problem with thick gauntlets is that often the extra material or the reduced dexterity are themselves adding to or creating new risks, making the whole situation more dangerous and risky than it was. Replacing one form of risk or danger with another one is certainly not what personal protective equipment is all about.
There are now different work gloves for different types of danger, such as cutting, abrasion, punching and temperature. A safety glove designed to protect against abrasion will be of no use in cases where equipment that's sharp is used, and safety gloves designed to guard against cold may feel thick, but in fact offer no protection against other issues such as cutting, punching or abrasion. There are also cases where there may be two separate needs.
For example, you may need to protect against abrasion on the inside of the hand, such as the palm and finger tips, but offer protection against cutting across the back of the hand and wrist. These gloves have rubberised pads across the inside of the hand and a special protective material across the back which protects against cutting. If such gloves need to be worn for long periods of time then comfort must also be considered, and so often you'll find thin cotton gloves provided which have special protective panels across key locations, This offers protection but without the price tag of inconvenience or discomfort.
So when it comes to choosing the right personal protective equipment for you, such as work gloves, make sure that you don't simply accept what feels safe, but analyse the risks and compare that to the type of glove you're supplied with. If in doubt, raise a query with the employer. It's in his interests after all to make sure that he is fully compliant with current safety legislation and advice.
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