Cheap disposable gloves often seem like a good choice. Good for the budget is good for the business, right? As Civil Eats illustrates, workers often face difficult situations every day due to these business decisions.
Not all food processing circumstances are as dire as the one described in this article, but many workers suffer in various ways due to using cheap or ill-fitting disposable gloves, due to the quality of raw material used during production.
3 Ways Workers Can Be Affected by Cheap & Ill-Fitting Gloves
- Restricted hand mobility, leading to musculoskeletal fatigue, cramping and injury to hands and arms
- Occupational skin disease, from continued exposure to chemicals and toxins in gloves
- Reduced dexterity, causing health and safety issues
Restricted Hand Mobility = Musculoskeletal injury
Poor quality raw materials used in glove manufacturing produces a poorly fitting glove - increasing glove resistance, bulkiness and reducing flexibility. The glove wearer is required to use a stronger muscle force to stretch the glove when moving their hand or wrist, resulting in repetitive fatigue and trauma to the fingers, hand and upper limb.
The compounding affects day after day of restricted hand mobility results in the work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDS), which currently account for one-third to one-half of all occupational injuries and illnesses and $15-20 billion in workers’ compensation costs each year. $90 million in indirect costs (hiring, training, overtime and administrative costs) are incurred annually in the US for these MSDS.
Food companies can experience major costs and significant productivity losses due to injuries related to glove use.
Exposure to chemicals = Occupational Skin Disease
Studies show that occupational skin diseases (OSD) are the most common non-trauma related occupational illness. The hand was the most common site affected by OSD, with protective gloves found to be the most common primary cause. Chemicals and toxic components often found in cheap disposable gloves can cause allergic contact and irritant dermatitis and chemical toxicity to the skin.
Contact dermatitis is the most frequent type of occupational skin disease (type IV allergy). More than 2,800 substances have been identified as Type IV contact sensitizers or chemical allergens, with studies showing that food and healthcare workers have been sensitized by use of plasticizers found in PVC gloves.
It is estimated that 1.87 million American workers suffer from OSD each year at a total annual cost of up to $2 billion. The conditions to which the workers’ skin is exposed can be improved by using good quality disposable gloves which meet improved standards for low chemical and toxic exposure.
Reduced Dexterity = Safety Hazards
Imagine wearing an oversized glove and picking up objects or wearing a tight glove and performing fine motor skills - fighting the glove for the range of motion needed. In both scenarios it’s easier to make a mistake, creating safety hazards for workers.
Data shows that safe and confident workers with good fitting and functioning hand protection have higher rates of job satisfaction and lower rates of absenteeism and turnover. Safety incentive programs related to PPE (personal protective equipment) and safe use have been found to pay back from 2:1 to 10:1 for every dollar invested. Implementation of new gloving policies and products to match workers needs often results in improved productivity, job satisfaction and morale.
Safety incentive programs related to PPE & safe use have been found to pay back from 2:1 to 10:1 for every dollar invested.
Simply put, larger hands need larger gloves to move unrestricted and work efficiently. Slightly smaller hands need smaller gloves to ensure safety and efficiency. ALL hands deserve a good quality glove for an optimal working efficiency and to prevent OSD.
At Eagle, we believe that every worker should wear disposable gloves that keeps them both safe and fit appropriately. Good quality disposable gloves are important both for your employees and your business - read more the false economy of cheap disposable gloves.
Talk to an Eagle Team member to ensure your employees are using a better quality, better fitting disposable glove, for better working conditions.
** Full details and references for all the information included here are taken from the Glove Hazard Analysis & Mitigation Strategies Research Study conducted by Barry Michaels. White Papers of this study are available upon request.