Cut Resistant Clothing Can Help Protect Glass Workers
Flat glass production and processing facilities, as well as glaziers have long been in need for CutPRO® Cut Resistant Clothing
Designed to replace standard work wear, this great new pioneering brand of protective clothing has become a real conversation piece between health and safatey professionals in these industries.
Several globally respected organisations have recently highlighted the severe risk of cut injuries within the glass industry and urged companies to take greater responsibility and further improve personal safety.
The International Labour Organization Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety stated very recently that the main risks for professionals working in the glass manufacturing sector are lacerations and cuts.
According to the U.S. Department of Labour, glass manufacturers have a total incidence rate of occupational injuries of 13.2% of all full-time employees.
In addition, the International Labour Organization published their thoughts on this subject matter when stating that glass manufacturers have a total lost workday incidence rate of 6.5% per year. 93% of the lost workdays are the direct result of cut injuries with the glass industry.
Cut resistant clothing can help mitigate risks when handling glass
Especially the manual handling of flat glass involves the risk of serious cut injury. The prime locations for such injuries are factories where flat or laminated glass is being produced or processed. Serious accidents happen particularly in factories or facilities where glass is subsequently handled manually.
Routinely handling large sheets of glass involves the risk of being struck by falling glass. The loading of glass sheets onto the vehicles equally represents a realistic risk, especially when the load can fall sideways.
Even though the glass might shatter into smaller pieces, the fragments can still cause lacerations. If the cuts are deep, they can be very damaging to internal organs, muscles, ligaments and tendons alike. The cutting of a main artery can lead to rapid blood loss, shock and even fatalities.
Most senior health and safety professionals advice that cut resistant clothing should be worn wherever glass is handled manually.
The potential legal repercussions for not issuing cut resistant clothing
British company Nicholls & Clarke Glass Limited was prosecuted back in 2009 and ultimately found guilty in 2009 for braking health and safety laws. They had failed to ensure the personal safety of their workers, after an employee suffered severe cuts and lacerations.
- Ian S. was working in the toughening section of the firm’s glass factory in Bedfordshire, UK.
- On that day he picked up a big piece of glass, which cracked and smashed into pieces.
- A large glass splinter cut his right arm and severed an artery, muscle and nerve.
- His injury required immediate medical attention, surgery and 250 stitches.
- The PPE (cut resistant clothing) provided by Nicholls & Clarke Glass Limited was insufficient.
- During the legal proceedings it became known that the company had failed to report a comparable event which had seriously injured another worker back in June 2008.
- The company was ultimately found guilty of not having done everything in their power to ensure the safety of the employees.
Cut injuries within the glass industry come with a price. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lacerations and cuts, which are not immediately and correctly treated can subsequently become infected and can cost in excess of $6,000 USD (£4,500 GBP) in associated medical expenses, such as lost employee time as well as potential healthcare claims.
As previously stated, accidents will always happen, usually and simply due human errors. However, while accidents will always occur, the related costs don’t necessarily have to. Insurers, physicians and business owners will all agree, appropriate cut resistant clothing, PPE and First Aid training can help reduce the financial repercussions of any incidents.
What can we do?
Providing satisfactory data, material and training on safety precautions and the handling of glass is simply crucial in order to create a safe system of work, which ultimately is a legal requirement in most countries.
Nevertheless, we must also accept that the risk of injuries will always be a part of reality because human error occurs. We humans are not perfect, we forget, we suffer from lack of sleep, we become ill, we become negligent, especially when doing the very same day every single day we are at work.
Following well published accidents at work, the legal consequences for employers, the cut injuries themselves and even the loss of life, many glass producers and other firms dealing with the processing of flat glass and other types of glass have now issued their workers with suitable and operationally sound cut resistant clothing.
Please read our CEO’s rather informative article: “Cut Resistant Clothing In The Glass Industry“