Polyco: hand protection assessment
Polyco launched the UK’s first and only accredited hand protection assessment course in April. Nick Warburton went along on the first day to see what it offers and how it can better inform decisions on hand protection.
Workers use hand and arm protection in practically every industrial setting. Whether it’s sorting through tonnes of recyclable and non-recyclable materials at a material recovery facility, handling hot objects in a small manufacturing plant or managing toxic chemicals in a hazardous environment, the importance in selecting the most appropriate gloves to help safeguard employees cannot be overstated.
But with a plethora of hand protection products on the market, selecting the hand and arm protection that provides the best defence against injury can be challenging for businesses. Not only that but ensuring employees will actually use the personal protective equipment provided when carrying out their work can be an equally onerous task.
Accredited by IOSH and launched in April, Polyco’s new one-day hand protection assessment course has been designed to help companies select the most appropriate hand protection for different work scenarios.
Presented by health and safety consultant Gerard Hand and Polyco’s technical director Bernard Garvey, attendees work their way through a series of theoretical and practical exercises, and also undertake a tour of Polyco’s north London facilities, before sitting a final assessment that tests their comprehension of the course content.
The morning sessions begin by covering the PPE Directive, the legal requirements for employers and CE markings. Attendees are introduced to the three risk categories, which have been designed to enable safety personnel to select the appropriate PPE to match the hazards and risks identified during health and safety audits.
The sessions also look at the associated EN standards that affect hand protection against a range of hazards. By helping attendees to recognise EN standards, symbols and glove markings, and knowing how to use them when identifying gloves, safety personnel should be better placed to make the right hand protection selection.
To conclude these morning sessions, participants are shown the different EN standards and their symbols and are then required to carry out a team exercise to match the symbols with their relevant standard.
The next part of the course focuses on the manufacturing process and the materials used in glove manufacture. As part of this session, attendees participate in a grip test, which has been designed to demonstrate the different grip characteristics between similar glove types.
After looking at the common materials used in glove manufacture, and identifying the features and benefits of the materials, attendees then learn about glove type terminology and common grip types and dip finishes. They also watch a video that shows the manufacturing process for disposable and reusable gloves.
Following the tour of Polyco’s UKAS accredited testing facilities, attendees start to put all of the theory in to practice by undertaking a hand protection assessment. Working in teams, they are presented with various scenarios in which they have to assess the hazards, tasks, users and working environments to identify the most appropriate hand protection issues. As part of this process, each team has to assess which combinations of materials and construction techniques provide protection against different types of hazards.
Having evaluated the considerations, each group presents its recommendations and rationale to the other groups and receives feedback from the course tutors. The key learning point is that glove selection is fallible unless a ‘best practice methodology’ is applied to the selection process.
The penultimate session looks at hand protection assessment survey (HPAS) methodology and why it’s important. This considers hand protection specification but also outlines when safety personnel should seek specialist advice and guidance. The final session focuses on good practice in hand protection policy and then goes on to identify the core components of a glove policy and how to integrate this with health and safety policy.
Polyco will be at stand Q2300 where visitors can find out more about the hand protection assessment course and other products.