[Vision Creates Value is delighted to present Matt Reid's insightful interview.]
by Joe Geng
Matt Reid is a High Performance Textiles Manager at DSM Dyneema. He has 20 years experience in the glove industry and Hand Protection Authority.
1. Joe Geng (JG): When you walk through a facility, what are the biggest mistakes you see Safety Manager’s making with regard to their hand protection programs?
Mathiew Reid (MR): The biggest problem I see is overcompensation. Safety Manager’s have too much information coming at them, so when it comes to gloves they tend to go to the highest level of cut protection, ANSI level 5, even when it is not needed or even desirable. This is often not a good thing because cut level 5 gloves are often stiff and inflexible, so they are choosing a glove that people simply won’t wear. I actually saw this very recently in a facility that was handling sheet metal. The workers literally had the gloves in their pockets, and quickly put them on when they saw the Safety Manager, because they literally could not do their jobs with the gloves provided to them.
Safety Manager’s need to consider test results as one reference point in their decision, but not trust blindly in the test results alone. Choosing the right hand protection for a facility needs to more be than simply a ‘checking the box’ exercise.
The best way to solve this is simply put more emphasis on hand protection. Hand injuries are the #1 preventable hand injury in the work place. In our Zero Excuses campaign we stress that something is obviously missing if there are still millions of recordable hand injuries every year in this economy. Some of those injuries are traumatic and life altering. Often Safety Managers feel that there is PPE and gloves, but that is the wrong attitude. Gloves should be considered as important a safety item as fall protection or respiratory protection. Safety Managers don’t need to be glove experts but they should be knowledgeable enough to have a conversation with a manufacturer about gloves, test methods, and hand protection in general.
2. JG: What are the best practices you see with regard to hand protection?
MR: The facilities that have Safety Professionals that consider hand protection as important as other PPE items, and they get to know Hand Protection such as standards, products, technologies, and the manufacturer’s who are leading the way.
3. JG: Who is the best with regard to hand safety and what do they do?
MR: I think there is a lot of low hanging fruit here. Many industries as a whole are not using the optimal choice of hand protection, and leather is still the largest single type of glove style. Out of necessity the food processing industry has been using high performance products for years and relatively speaking they have some of the best control measures with “turn in a glove to get a glove” and internal launder, but vending and tracking are showing up more often in general industry and the controls are vastly improving. There is a lot of potential for vending programs to really improve hand protection. Facilities will be able to control safety costs by controlling misuse of PPE, and in turn provide better quality hand protection for their employees.
I guarantee 8 of 10 companies are not controlling usage the way they should. Then, one day they wake up and realize they are spending $300,000 on gloves.
4. JG: What are some of the worst practices you’ve observed?
MR: Double or even triple gloving, which I’ve witnessed in an automotive plant. Those workers couldn’t even bend their hands! This of course led to other issues, such as compliance. We (Perfect Fit) designed a Terry glove for them that had the same protection as 3 gloves combined and 4x the flexibility.
I’ve also seen facilities use the totally wrong material or fiber for the function. I once visited a food processing facility that was using a basic standard-weight spun aramid glove. The cut performance was not adequate, laundering the aramid based glove was difficult (not bleachable) and the durability was not good.
5. JG: If a manufacturer was going to pay you $ 1 million dollars to reduce their hand injuries to zero in one month, what would you do to get them there in a hurry?
MR: If there is no time to design a specific glove for the application then I think it comes down to putting the resources in place for intensive assessment, training, monitoring and incentivizing. Each position in the operation needs to be fully assessed from safety perspective such as what are potential sources of injury happen and what is the best product for the specific application. They would also need specific training for each function based on those assessments (ID the hazards, training needs to be often and repetitive and specific), regular monitoring of use (are they wearing… how is product working, what could be better) and then rewarding the team and individuals for adopting the program into everyday thinking. Really those are the basics of any good hand protection program, it would simply be a matter of executing the basics really well.
6. JG: What do you think hand protection will be like in 5-10 years?
MR: I think the current trend of higher performance that is lighter, more flexible, more comfortable will continue. I think you will see material technology increase with smart materials, like materials that harden on impact, inspired by Sea Cucumbers, or gloves that can repair themselves . Material science will drive hand protection design and improvements.
I also think you will see even more of a merger with performance hand protection and style, design, and more appealing look. Well deigned gloves help improve compliance and reduce injuries.
7. JG: What are your favorite instructional resources on safety?
MR: Zero Excuses website of course! www.zero-excuses-protection.com. I tend to look at the individual websites of the market leaders in the safety industry. There are unique differences that you can pick up on with each individual company. I also look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics which breaks down injuries in the US by category of injury or industry segment. My company is also part of several Safety Industry related association or groups that keeps me informed about standards, and general issues (ISEA, IGA, ANSI, EN388).
8. JG: What are your favorite gloves you had a hand (pun intended) in developing?
MR: We worked on extending the Junk Yard Dog line at Perfect Fit (now Honeywell Safety). That was fun because they are great gloves and had a strong brand name. I also really like the PF 570. At the time that glove was pushing the boundaries of cut protection and fit.
9. JG: If you could eliminate one glove from the face of the earth which glove would it be?
MR: Leather gloves. I’m just joking, sort of. Leather gloves have their place but they are used in a lot of applications where they really shouldn’t be. A lot of this is because of historical influence, “this is the glove my Dad wore when he worked here.” It also has a manly or mucho image associated with it. There are better options available today than leather gloves for most jobs.
Published with Permission.
Acton, ON Canada
Edited and updated: 20151114
First published on Superior Glove Blog (www.superiorglove.com) on 2015 August 04.
Article Link: http://www.superiorglove.com/pages/blog/qas-we-can-all-learn-from/