A snapshot of Queensland’s construction, manufacturing and mining industries, identified young males, aged between 15-34 as being the most “at risk” to workplace hand injuries, revealed a report that we commissioned last month.
What’s more, this segment accounted for over half of the 1182 total recorded hand injury cases. Most importantly, the construction industry accounted for 33.5% of the overall total number of recorded cases, for the documented period of July 2011 to June 2013.
The report produced by the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit at the Mater Health Service, collected injury data through participating emergency departments, which were spread across Queensland’s metropolitan (Brisbane), regional (Mackay and Moranbah Health Districts), tropical northern coast (Atherton, Mareeba, Tully and Innisfail) and remote (Mt Isa) areas.
Whilst some members of the industry may find these numbers alarming, Richard Donarski, the Health and Safety Team Leader from our independent certification body – SAI Global, feels that many Self-Employed Tradespeople may not always be aware of the actual requirements that PPE needs to comply with. This, in turn is what leaves workers open to injury.
“It’s a common misconception that all personal safety items are subject to and must meet mandatory standards,” observes Richard.
“The reality is, as many standards aren’t legislated, some manufacturers choose not to apply standards to their processes. The consequence is that the very products designed to keep you safe may not necessarily do their job as expected.
“This can have a very serious impact on the self-employed trades and their immediate family if suddenly they could no longer work due to injury”.
To this point, Anthony Elliott finishes that this report highlights the importance of remembering that the role of PPE – including gloves, is to provide the last line of defence against many workplace hazards, and is an effective tool when applied correctly to the hierarchy of controls and strategies implemented by workplaces to protect their workers – certification provides an additional layer of assurance to the wearer and their employer.
“Unfortunately your hands are one set of tools that don’t come with spare parts – you need to look after the set you have” added Anthony.
Therefore, in answer to this gap in the market, we have launched two collections of “Australian First” gloves over the past year – the G-Flex and Mec-Flex glove ranges. Both ranges being certified to AUS/NZS2161.3:2005 Occupational protective gloves and CE standards, which is European Standard, and are a part of our overall plan to try lift the glove safety standards in Australia through independent certification and education.
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Richard Donarski – Health & Safety Team Leader – SAI Global
Richard Donarski has been a leader in the development of health & safety product standards for over 20 years. Richard is a Committee Member of various Australian Standards Committees and he has also represented Australia on a range of International (ISO) Standards Committees and European (EN) Standards Committees. Richard has also received awards for his development of standards from the New South Wales Government and Australasian Fire & Emergency Services Authorities Council.