In reviewing 2021, and looking ahead at 2022, it got me thinking about injury reporting and statistics in Health & Safety. January is the time that the performance markers are reset, new goals are in place, but what is it that is going to make the difference this year?
Working closely with many organisations last year, particularly in the Construction sector, hand injuries continued to be the single most common form of on-the-job injury – anywhere between 30% – 60% of total injuries, and this is a trend we’ve seen year on year.
I’m a firm believer in ‘if we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always got.’ Unfortunately, mandating 5-point PPE is not solving the problem; something needs to change to break through the status quo of just accepting these statistics. It needs a new approach to make a positive impact on the trend.
So, what needs to change? I believe there are 2 key contributing factors:
1. Making hand protection as simple as possible
Ironically for some, standardisation in hand protection can still mean 30+ types of gloves, with the selection process down to the operative based on their own risk assessment. Why is this flawed?
Firstly, those carrying out risk assessments are not specialists in hand protection, therefore it’s likely that the equipment selected does not relate to the risk assessment.
Secondly, risk assessments have some mileage in seen risks and hazards, but what about the unseen? Who would have thought that a tape measure could spring back and damage a tendon in a finger when selecting their hand protection?
This year, by embracing latest technologies and innovations, we can eliminate the risk of poor selection. There’s no longer a need to compromise comfort for protection and vice versa, because these are gloves operatives want to wear.
2. Change of mindsets and behaviours
In tandem with creating gloves that operatives want to wear, we need to develop an awareness and appreciation for their most valuable tools (hands). Driven by the fact that 70% of hand injuries occur when gloves are not on hands, we cannot sit back and think that gloves alone will be the sole solution.
It takes a continual building up of awareness and education around the value of hands to bring a deeper meaning to wearing gloves. We need to get operatives to think about protecting their hands at all times, it’s not worth the gamble!
In addressing these 2 key factors this year, I believe this year can be different; it can be the start of a journey to making hand injuries history.
At STALSEN, we are fuelled by a desire to incite change within the industry, and so personally, I am always looking to hear from and share best practices with other like-minded professionals in the industry. Please reach out at any point – I’d be very glad to hear from you.
All the best for 2022,
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