For welding companies, health and safety is an absolute priority. This particular company are specialists in architectural and structural metalwork, covering all aspects of metal fabrication and installation, and require high-quality PPE to keep their employees safe.
Sustainability is another key focus for this organisation. The business is committed to caring for the environment at both a local and a global level, employing the most environmentally efficient techniques and materials.
These factors meant the company had concerns over the gloves the team had been using, which would rapidly deteriorate.
“The gloves were ripping and tearing. They would break down on the thumb area and the rubber palms were always bubbling,” explains the company’s, Health & Safety Manager. “They were used for TIG welding and I really didn’t like seeing holes in the backs of the gloves. The team also said they made their hands sweat and they were never the right size. There was no consistency. You could buy a size nine one month and find they were actually size ten.”
The lack of longevity in the gloves also undermined the welding company’s desire to protect the planet. The company has implemented an Environmental Management System following the requirements of ISO 14001:2015 and was concerned at the number of gloves being sent to landfill each day.
“Our employees were going through one, maybe two, sometimes even three pairs of gloves in a day,” the Health & Safety Manager adds. “We want to do our bit for the environment. That’s why we want to do what we can to cut back on our environmental impact wherever we can by reducing waste.
PPE that fits like a glove
The original gloves were cheap and easy to purchase, but the concerns far outweighed the benefits. The company needed a solution that was better for people and planet. The Health & Safety Manager invited uvex to carry out a glove survey and provide samples of two different options.
The uvex Bamboo TwinFlex® D xg cut protection glove offers 18-gauge cut protection at level D. It is certified to EN 388:2016 (4 X 4 1 D) and to EN 407 (X 1 X X X X), making it suitable for contact warmth up to +100°C. It provides long-lasting comfort and high wearer acceptance thanks to the bamboo viscose, which delivers a smooth fit and high moisture absorption with a rapid action. It is also one of the only cut level D gloves made from 45% sustainable materials.
The uvex athletic lite ESD lightweight safety glove, meanwhile, is certified in line with Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 and is a particularly lightweight and sensitive safety glove intended for use during mechanical precision work. The matt, open-pore microfoam coating provides impressive breathability, high flexibility and good grip. It has been certified in accordance with DIN EN 16350, which makes it suitable for use in ESD applications and potentially explosive atmospheres.
“They were great quality gloves,” the Health & Safety Manager says. “On average, the team kept those gloves for three to four days without any bubbling of the palms or tearing. The environmental impact is phenomenal too because we’re not throwing as many gloves away. The gloves are also more comfortable and the wearers hands aren’t sweating, so we’re not using as much barrier cream. Our workers are happy to keep the gloves on. That’s the thing.”
Wearability meets functionality
Comfort is a key advantage. The Bamboo TwinFlex® D xg cut protection glove has a flexible fit that means it adapts precisely to fit the shape of the hand within three to five minutes of wearing.
“When they first put the gloves on, they thought, ‘Oh, they feel really tight,’ but I said, ‘Just leave them for a couple of minutes’ and then they adapted to the size of their hands,” the Health & Safety Manager says. “It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s like when you used to get in the bath with your jeans and they’d mould to the right shape and size.”
Both glove types are suitable for use with touchscreens, so there is no need to remove them while using tablets and phones. This not only improves worker safety but also efficiency.
“Some of our employees need to use phones, tablets and other devices to make calls and take pictures of what they’re doing,” he adds. “They don’t have to take them off and put them on again to do that, so it speeds up their process. They can write with them on as well.”
The glove designs feature stylish blue colours and the Health & Safety Manager found that this too was popular with the team.
“The gloves that we were using previously were all black,” he says. “The blue looks better and also, when they put them down, the team know where they’ve put them. Some of them have started writing their initials on them so they know whose are whose.”
Gloves that don't cost the earth
The upfront cost of the uvex gloves was higher than the previous products, but Sanders said their durability means this balances out over the long term – especially in light of the additional benefits it provides.
“I have this real philosophy: If you buy cheap, you buy twice,” he says. “Yes, the uvex products are a little more expensive, but they last three or four days so it’s more cost-effective as far as I’m concerned. It’s also a time in motion study. Our employees don’t have to keep running to the stores to get more gloves and they’re staying on the job longer.”
The future looks bright
The welding company also tested samples of the uvex pheos cx2 safety spectacles with the CBR65 lens coating, which offer optimum eye protection and the innovative injection moulded uvex X-tended Eyeshield adapts perfectly to the wearer’s face for maximum fit and comfort while the soft component connected directly with the lens offers reliable protection against dust and water.
The uvex CBR65 tint with 65% transmission enables high-contrast vision and protects against harmful blue light from computers and other electronic devices. The innovative uvex coatings also provide permanent anti-fog performance on the inside and extremely high levels of scratch resistance and chemical resistance on the outside.
“The safety glasses had great reviews from the workers that tried them out,” the Health & Safety Manager says. “Because of the blue light protection, we gave them to those who use computers most of the time and they said they prefer them to ones they were using previously. We also have to wear safety glasses on site at all times. I and many others have found that the previous safety glasses we had weren’t like normal glasses. They’d make you feel a bit spaced out and the lens felt very plasticky.”
The uvex pheos cx2 safety spectacles solved the problem while providing excellent wearer comfort and protection.
“We loved everything about them,” the Health & Safety Manager says. “The fit, the lightness – the actual way the glasses felt when wearing them. Dealing directly with the manufacturer has meant that we get better onsite support. It also means our employees get products that ensures they are fully protected against the hazards. The other benefit is that they got to try on and select comfortable PPE that’s better quality. It’s also had an impact on morale.
The welding company is an award-winning company that was founded more than 40 years ago. It has a very low turnover of staff which has allowed them to establish a highly trained workforce of around 80 whose skills have been enhanced by cumulative years of experience.
The Health & Safety Manager stresses that looking after those workers is in the company’s DNA.
“Health and safety is an absolute,” he says. “It’s very easy for me to sit behind my desk as a health and safety person, but we have to look after the people who make this business what it is. We’ve got to do what is best for them.”
With uvex gloves and safety spectacles now in use, the welding company can continue to put its employees first.