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Does your hand protection meet the standards?

01 June 2011

As the UK health and safety industry maintains its battle against the recent influx of fake and counterfeit personal protective equipment (PPE), Polyco is continuing its fight against this unscrupulous behaviour

It is doing so by encouraging individuals to consider the potential problems that could arise as a result of not buying from a reputable supplier of hand protection.

For many, protecting our hands may not be on top of the list of priorities, however, statistics from the HSE show that although injuries to hands are not usually fatal, they can seriously affect a sufferer’s way of life and ability to work.

In 2009/10, 108 workers suffered from cuts on their hands from sharp or course material or machinery, or as a result of trapped fingers1. During the same period the HSE estimated that 22,000 people suffered ‘skin problems’ caused or made worse by work, with 1,735 of these diagnosed as contact dermatitis2. In many instances, this concerning number of injuries could have been prevented if the worker had been wearing suitable, high-performing gloves that met the required EN standards for hand protection.

To show its resolution against counterfeit and illegal products, Polyco became a founding member of the British Safety Industry Federation’s (BSIF) Registered Safety Suppliers Scheme in 2009. Following compliance with a strict set of criteria, Polyco is able to use the scheme shield to identify its organisation and products as ‘genuine and safe’.

The scheme is designed to assist buyers of PPE to find quality supply sources and offers assurance that the products supplied are genuine and properly tested and certificated. Additionally, with its onsite testing facility, Polyco is the only manufacturer of gloves in the UK that retests its gloves at the point of distribution, ensuring the highest level of quality control.

Sarah Bridge, Deputy Managing Director at BM Polyco, comments: “The HSE statistics indicate that despite there being a wide variety of quality hand protection on the market, there are still a worrying number of reported hand injuries occurring in the workplace. For many end users of PPE they are unable to differentiate between the sub standard materials used in these counterfeit and illegal items making identification of these fake products difficult.

“Therefore it is pivotal that PPE is purchased from ‘genuine and reputable’ sources. We are working hard to promote the importance of wearing quality, approved hand protection to the end user, in an attempt to help reduce the use of counterfeit products that can provide little or no protection.”

Sarah continues: “At Polyco we believe in the importance of product development and that PPE should be designed and created for the comfort and protection of the end user. We provide a huge range of gloves for a number of different applications and industries that are innovative, comfortable and most importantly offer quality protection against hazards such as chemicals and micro-organisms, mechanical, cold and thermal risks.

“PPE should protect wearers and not inhibit their daily duties. If end users and purchasers of this equipment are continually made aware of the dangers of illegal and counterfeit goods then we will be one step closer to helping stamp out this dangerous issue.”

Making sure hand protection is fit for purpose
As well as making sure that organisations and individuals buy hand protection from ‘genuine and reputable sources’ it is also pivotal that the glove is fit for purpose. The selection of appropriate hand protection is not as straight forward as some individuals believe it to be and for this reason it is imperative that a glove audit is carried out by a trusted professional.

The consultant carrying out the audit will help support and underpin the work carried out by the health and safety professional and will make individual recommendations for hand protection solutions based on an assessment of the company and job role/s. Free glove audits are provided by Polyco for companies looking to find the correct glove for the right application; thereby providing peace of mind for both the organisation and workforce.



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