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Wear Testing PPE

Testing a glove in your environment can give you crucial information about grip, comfort and other factors. Image courtesy of Magid.

A simple path to solving safety issues.

By: M.B. Sutherland, Contributor

If it seems like all the PPE companies are making the same claims, it’s because they often are. But everyone can’t possibly be offering the best protection, the most comfortable PPE, the best value. Implementing a comprehensive wear testing program allows you to pit one item against another to find out which one really is the best overall or at least the best in your environment.

At Magid, we encourage this type of testing so customers know from the beginning that their safety needs will be met. Wear testing can increase compliance and save you money with the added benefits of strengthening your safety culture, improving employee morale, and reducing waste.

THE SECRET TO COMPLIANCE — WORKER BUY-IN

Gloves with the highest levels of cut and impact resistance are thinner and lighter, with better coatings and more flexibility than ever before, and breakthroughs in glove materials and designs mean workers can stay cooler and more comfortable on the job. But even with these incredible new offerings, it can still be frustratingly difficult to get workers to believe they need to keep those gloves on their hands.

Beyond comfort, the biggest key to compliance is getting workers bought in to the PPE you’re asking them to wear. That means not only ensuring that they’re properly trained and that they fully understand the hazards inherent in the job, but also involving them in deciding what gloves you purchase. Once you’ve done your research and consulted a safety expert about your application and what protections your workers need, you can narrow your glove choices down to a handful of options. Then you’re ready to wear-test in your environment.

  • Have a meeting with your work team to show them the glove choices. Explain the pros and cons of each glove, how it protects from various hazards, and what features are designed to keep the wearer comfortable. Be sure to mention features like thinness and tactile sensitivity since gloves that feel almost like bare hands keep workers protected without getting in the way of the job. You might even have a few tools or items that they’ll need to manipulate on the job so they can compare different gloves.
  • Encourage them to try on all the gloves and pick their favorites to test.
  • Set expectations for how long you expect the gloves to last and that you’ll ask them to provide written feedback at the end of the trial.
  • Encourage them to give you informal feedback throughout the trial and to feel free to switch to another glove if they find that their first choice isn’t working for them.
  • Make it easy for workers to give their opinions. Long, complicated forms to fill out can discourage participation. A simple form[1] with space for comments will give you their yea or nay without overly inconveniencing them.

Workers who must handle small objects should test gloves for tactile sensitivity. Image courtesy of Magid.

THE SECRET TO SAVING MONEY — SMARTER PPE CHOICES

How you choose what PPE to buy can be just as important as what you buy. Wear testing can save you money in a few ways.

  • Fewer Styles — narrowing down the glove styles you
    purchase can allow you to buy in bulk, saving money overall.
  • Less Waste — workers who feel ownership of their PPE are more likely to use it, making it less likely you’ll end up with gloves that sit in the tool crib gathering dust.
  • Better Value — testing in your environment also gives you crucial information about how long a glove will last. Features like new technologies in palm coatings can provide an added advantage in durability and use-life that markedly increases your value. Knowing that one glove will last much longer than another can also help you avoid the trap of going with what looks like a cheaper option but turns out not to make it through a full day’s work.

A good example we like to share is that of a construction company that got what they thought was a deal on low-priced gloves at $2.61 a pair. But when they did some testing and crunched the numbers, it was no deal at all.

Glove 1 Glove 2
Cost per Pair $2.61/pair $7.75/pair
Wear Time on the Job 4.1 hours 63.87 hours
Cost per Hour 64 cents 12 cents
Annual Cost Total $13,050 $2,487

While the per-pair cost of $7.75 seemed like a bigger budget hit at first glance, that glove had a wear-life that blew away the supposedly cheaper option, saving 81% on total cost through the year. It’s also important to remember that a more durable glove with superior materials and coatings may keep your people safer — saving you the monetary cost and the heartache that come with recordable injuries. Finally, PPE that lasts 64 hours instead of 4 hours, offers the added benefits of less downtime to get new PPE and fewer gloves headed to the landfill, providing better sustainability results.

Safety managers we’ve spoken to have reported as much as an 85% reduction in cuts and lacerations following implementation of a quality wear-testing program. So, whether you’re trying to solve a cost problem, a compliance problem, an injury problem, or some combination of them all, give wear testing a try! WMHS

M.B. Sutherland has been writing for business and news outlets for over 20 years. She is currently the Sr. Safety Writer at Magid — proud U.S. innovator, manufacturer and distributor of head-to-toe PPE since 1946. For more information about Magid’s safety products and expertise, visit www.magidglove.com or call 800-867-1083.

[1]https://tinyurl.com/2p9dbk6b

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