How prime contractors can improve subcontractor hand safety
Hand injuries are the number one preventable injury in the workplace. Despite plentiful PPE, injuries still occur at very high rates among industries where subcontractors are a key part of the workforce.
Watch this webinar to learn about Superior Glove Works’ free hand safety program and how their partner prime contractors are able to overcome the challenges of preventing hand injuries among their subcontractors.
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Maia: [00:00:14] Thank you to everyone joining us today. I’m Maia Foulis, Editor of Canadian Occupational Safety and I’m pleased to introduce today’s webinar, Reducing Subcontractor Hand Injuries: How prime contractors can improve subcontractor hand safety brought to you by Superior Glove.
So, hand injuries are the number one preventable injury in the workplace and despite access to PPE, these injuries still occur at high rates among industries where subcontractors are a key part of the workforce.
And so, this begs the question, as a prime contractor, how can you achieve the continuity of the compliance and accountability necessary to reduce these preventable industry injuries when your workforce is not exactly yours.
So, to answer all of your burning questions, it’s my pleasure to introduce our two speakers, Shane Nider and Mike de Jong. Shane is a Hand Safety Specialist for Superior Glove and has over 17 years of experience in the industrial safety market. Mike has almost 20 years of safety experience and is the BC Construction Division HS&E Manager at Ledcor. He is also a member of BCCSA Prime Contractors Technical Advisory Committee.
So, just a couple of notes before we get started. So, at the end of the presentation, we’ll be welcoming audiences’ questions so feel free to type any questions you have into the Q&A box within the webinar software. If you experience any technical difficulties or have any trouble hearing the audio, please use the chatbox next to the Q&A icon. And also, don’t forget to answer the poll questions during the presentation as well, and just to note, we will be sending out a recording as well as a copy of the slides to all attendees soon after the webinar.
So, with all that said, over to you, Shane.
Shane: [00:02:00] Yeah. Thanks, Maia. And good day, everyone. Thank you for attending today's webinar. As Maia mentioned, my name is Shane Nider, Hand Safety Specialist with Superior Glove. We're excited to spend the next hour with you discussing the topic of hand safety, and specifically how general contractors can help influence and improve hand safety with their trade partners or subcontractors.
This is often where we do see the gap. It's common for general contractors and site owners to have hand safety programs and policies. However, this information isn't always translated down to the subcontractors working on these sites. So, this opens up an opportunity for hand injuries and incidents.
And definitely in the construction industry, we do see a lot of hand injuries. We're honored to have a special guest joining us in today's webinar, Mike de Jong, HSE Manager with Ledcor Construction, a leading general contractor in the construction industry.
So ,Mike's gonna share some of Ledcor experiences working with Superior Glove in an effort to bridge the gap on hand safety with their trade partners in their hand safety program, and they have had leaps and bounds over the past 18 months.
So, it's been a quite exciting journey as partners together. I think it's also important to note that although we will be using construction as our example today, the information in today's session can be applied to industries outside of construction, where there's that contractor-subcontractor relationship. The oil and gas industry would be another good example of this.
So, just before we get into the main kind of the presentation, today, I just wanted to give you all a brief overview of Superior Glove and what we do if you don't already know us. But you've likely guessed by now from our name that we make gloves and we have been doing so collectively for over 100 years since about 1910.
So, Superior Glove is known for being a lead innovator in the hand protection category and we have an extensive in-house R&D team that is constantly looking for ways to improve safety gloves and protective sleeves, making them more comfortable yet offering higher performance levels of dexterity.
So, you know, we're lucky to have our own manufacturing facilities. We are obsessed with innovation, and you know, that's what we do. We work with our end-user partners to really identify those injuries and those challenges in the industry in the hand safety category, and we innovate products. And that's sort of an obsession with solving hand safety problems. So, we have quite a broad, you know, we have -- we pretty much have a glove for both just about every application you can think about no matter how unique or diverse or extreme.
So, here's some common hazards in construction. So, you probably recognize some of these if you're in the industry. So, if we look at these icons, pretty self-explanatory most cases, but you know, you think of things like impact, you know, mallets and hammers and other material coming in smacking forcefully down onto the hand. You know, if we look at punctures that could be you know, rebar, tie wire, nails, you know, screws coming out of the pouch. You know, cut is a very high one so that would be anything like a laceration across, you know, the palm of the hand. Utility nodes is a common culprit of that.
So, there's no shortage of hazards in the construction industry. It's something I'll talk a little bit later in the presentation, and I think most of us are familiar -- you know, it's very common as a manufacturer of PPE to assign performance standards. So, if we think about the impact for safety glasses, boots, hard hats, hearing protection, noise reduction ratings, it's the same thing with hand protection. We use these performance markings to identify what the benefit of the glove is gonna be and it's usually a graduating scale. So, the higher the number, traditionally, the more protection it's gonna offer.
Just some other challenges that you want to kind of be aware of if you are developing a hand safety program or refining one. We all have cellphones nowadays, well, you know, we're using tablets and other things on site. So, touchscreen compatibility is big, you know, need in today's workforce. So, definitely lots of options there, you know, having access to the PPE on-site so whether that's a vending machine, whether that's a tool crib, you know, that's very important to consider because the worker has to walk across the entire site to get a new pair of gloves. If that's not easy to access that may prevent them from doing so. And just a few other things here, obviously, just knowing the performance standards and making sure that you know, the gloves have that performance that they need.
So, why are we not protecting our hands? So, there's a couple of barriers here. There's human factors as well that we'll talk about today. Mike will go into a bit more detail there but some of the physical barriers right off the top usually a comfort issue. Either they're too bulky, they're too heavy, they don't give that level of dexterity that's required. So, again, if you have to do a certain task, and you can't, you know, have that tactility, or that dexterity, you're likely gonna take that glove off and it's usually those short moments in time where incidents happen.
So, we don't want to overprotect, that's key. You want to have a glove that offers the minimum level of protection, but also, you know, allows the worker to do their work in a practical manner so that they don't have to take off the glove. If it's too hot, if it's itchy, if it's cumbersome, they don't get the performance dexterity, they will likely take that glove off.
Sizing is also something that's traditionally overlooked, but we do offer a broad range of sizes, you know, from like double extra small to triple extra-large, and it's very key to have that correct size when you know, implementing a program.
And then as I mentioned on the other side of the coin, that availability barrier. So, you know, if the gloves aren't being provided by the employer, and the employees are left to go and source those gloves, they may not have that knowledge of what the right type of gloves are available, what type is appropriate for the application. So typically, the cost is the only thing they'll consider. And sometimes if it's inconvenient, as I mentioned, if they've got to come, you know, walk across the site, or if it's not readily available and if they don't have that option to switch out different gloves for different applications, that can definitely be a barrier there.
So, when we look at how we go about hand safety, it's not just about PPE. As I mentioned, there is no shortage of options on the market. In fact, sometimes there can be too many options. So really, it's not just about PPE, the program involves so many things, and this is what led our co-owner, Joe Geng, here on the screen to research and a lot of research went into this rethinking had safety book. And so basically, it's a playbook for implementing whether you're just starting out with developing a program or whether you're looking to refine one, it really acts as that playbook. This book isn't about PPE, it's about those barriers, the human factors, and how we can navigate through a program and make it effective.
So, you know, as strange as this might sound for a manufacturer of PPE, we don't see gloves and sleeves as a silver bullet and there's a lot of things that go within a program that would make an effective program.
So, rethinking hand safety was a great start for us, and venturing into this journey with Ledco, it sort of became the springboard to really start peeling that back and understanding that hand safety goes much broader than just having a glove and you know, which glove to have.
So, with that, I'm going to turn it over to Mike de Jong and he's going to just share some of his experiences with partnering with Superior and where we've kind of, where we started and where we are now.
Mike: [00:10:26] Thanks, Shane. And good morning everybody, or good afternoon, I guess, depending on where you are. And thank you for allowing me to share our experiences and lessons learned regarding our Hand Safety Initiative.
First, I want to talk just a little bit about Ledcor, about who we are and what we believe in. This sort of help explains why we're engaged with Superior Gloves to enhance hand safety across our projects.
So, we're a diversified construction organization. We're made up of teams of people across all sorts of industries, working to design, build, transport, operate, and maintain projects across North America.
But we also believe that projects are more than just steel and concrete, they're more about the people and the power of partnerships. Partnerships with our employees, with our communities, our contractors, clients, and suppliers like Superior Gloves. It's one of Ledcor's safety commitments is that we work together to improve safety. This means we work with our fellow employees, our contractors and partners to share ideas and develop the next practices always going forward together.
So, our commitment this time was hand safety. Hand injuries have been one of our top reoccurring injuries. No various typical attempts to reduce hand injuries hadn't been working. And so, our hand's safety challenges were threefold.
One was to find a new way to engage our employees and trade partners and workers to work together to better understand, learn, and develop new practices to improve hand safety. Two, understand the human factors of why hands were being injured. And three, understand when gloves were being worn, why the gloves didn't actually protect our hands from injury.
So, this is why we partnered with Superior Gloves to assist us in our challenge. So why did we start the hand safety initiative? Well, Ledcor had recently updated our PPE policy, and it said Ledcor employees will wear hand protection appropriate for the hazards as prescribed for any prescribed tasks. So, what did this mean? So how can workers determine what is appropriate hand safety protection?
So, this is why. We had gloves in pocket policy for years, but can you see incidences of injuries where workers failed to keep their gloves in their pocket, meaning they didn't carry them with them or they even if they did have them with them, they just failed to wear them on.
So, we wanted to change the mandatory glove policy to be perceived more as an operational change, not a safety change. Now there's a big distinction between them. Safety supports operations. When workers perceive mandatory gloves as part of their job and not as an extra thing to do, they may think and feel differently about it and be more inclined to brace it which is why we're going through all this effort to review assessments, safer procedures, etc., to get the hand safety into the fabric of the work activity.
And so, despite other several large prime contractors paving the way, you know, for this mandatory glove use, we realize there'd be some challenges in making Ledcor, and contractors follow a mandatory glove policy just because we said so. We want to take an educative approach to help our contractors and workers see the value for themselves to wear gloves full time, and to brace this mandatory glove use as part of their own practice and culture. We wanted the choice of gloves not to be arbitrary. We wanted the gloves to be related to the hazards confronting the workers. We're going to talk a little bit more about how we did this later.
We also realized there's a lot of important information about glove design, performance, the frequency of injuries, the seriousness of injuries -- and sadly, we're going to talk about too that most people didn't know, and this led to the creation of the hand safety guide.
So, how do we get corporate executive bias? Always a question to be asked. So, when we presented our data analytic findings to our hand safety initiative, we invited -- we wanted to invite Superior Gloves to come to visit our projects and meet with our contractors to conduct our hand safety assessments and share this information. We wanted to demonstrate this was not a Ledcor-ism. We want to support the initiative because it's aligned with the safety culture that we focus on prevention.
So, data analytics. I'll talk more about this in the next slide. Cost benefits. Cost savings from reducing injury and downtime, and sadly, again, the pain is suffering. I'm going to provide a real-life example of this later on in the presentation. And again, a unique proposal. So, this is a different way to try to do the same thing we've done in the past and Ledcor’s’ culture to be industry leaders.
So, how did we evaluate hand safety? Well, we use several different sources to gain insight into the cost of hand injuries, why injuries were occurring, and to support our hand safety initiative. But I must remind us that as we talk about the following hand data, these numbers actually represent workers' pain and suffering. And the purpose of investigating the data here is to reduce and prevent hand injuries.
So, the cost of hand injuries. While we understand that the cost of the analysis can be somewhat subjective, is important to attempt to quantify the cost of a hand injury not only to the worker-employer but also to the prime contractor. So, we included the injury time, the first aid equipment, and the investigation time for the cost of the injury.
And so, one of the things we figured out is the cost of a hand injury. This is just the first aid -- this is where the worker goes to first aid and he goes back to work at around $270.
The cost of the medical aid. This is where a worker sees the first aid has to go to medical aid to get looked at and then stays at work, meaning they come back to work that day. The average cost was around $550, which is about an average of eight days of modified duties. Just a clarification here, this did not include the cost of the in-hospital medical costs.
What does an appropriate performance base glove cost? Yeah, $15 to $20.
So our data analysis from investigations, inspections, first aid reports, interviews with workers, we reviewed the hand safety information and observations, the investigator, the contractor, and the workers or not conducting quality, hazard, and risk assessments --there we go sorry, conducting hands safety risk assessments either before or after the incident happened.
Reviewing workflow procedures, so the line of fire. Procedures would identify the potential for injury outcomes. So, for example, things like cuts or pinch points or lacerations, but did not identify the source of that hazard. The procedures were often rushed to PP, saying, “Wear gloves”, rather than identifying, eliminating, or using engineering controls to eliminate it.
And the availability of the right type of glove for the task. Procedures all had a genericism to them about gloves’ safety. Gloves were purchased based on availability or durability or cost-effectiveness. You know, for example, bulk purchasing one or two types. And there was a mixture between workers purchasing their own gloves and employers purchasing gloves.
There was little to no evaluation of the glove selections. So during the evaluation process, the contractor like I said, would rush towards PPE control with little or no emphasis on the performance of the glove protection if it was even suitable for the task. And so, we had to learn to approach hand safety differently.
So, this slide presents some examples of some of the inspections that were done in Vancouver in 2020. And so, in 2020, PPE was the third most inspected item. Over on the left-hand column, these are the actual excerpts from the inspections that were done about how our inspectors were looking out. Out of the 130 hand safety and glove inspections in general, the inspectors have only observed for the presence of gloves or the lack thereof, neither wearing them nor they weren't. Investigations similarly determined that if gloves were even used or not, and in most cases, they made no mention whether the glove's performance was effective to the job that they were using.
In some cases, the investigation didn’t even mention whether they were wearing gloves at all. So, the human factors of why workers were choosing not to wear gloves, or why gloves were not providing the proper level of protection was not even explored.
So, during this data evaluation process, we recognized that there was very little industry information regarding how to evaluate hand safety or specific glove performance and also the workers' and contractors' knowledge around hand safety and glove selection is very limited. Glove purchases, like I said before, decisions were often based on the premise of one glove fits all situations. So, this is why this hand safety guide was created, so it can be used across the industry, by contractors, by workers, inspectors, investigators beyond Ledcor.
Shane: [00:19:57] Thanks, Mike. That was a great recap of the project and it's just been so impressive to see all the work that Ledcor has done with their hands' safety program. So, when we talk about some of those human factors, you know, why is hand safety so challenging with subcontractors?
I think the one, you know, the big ones is you know, hand injuries are just the nature of the job. You know, it's just an expectation, it's a more of an aggressive trade, or it's just a rite of passage, and injuries are sort of overlooked. You get a cut to you just sort of put a Band-Aid on you go back to work. So, I think, you know, that's definitely one thing.
I think it can also be, you know, at times intimidating for prime contractors to standardize and influence safety. And even by the time they do roll out a program, often that contractor is off to a different site and a different, you know, scope of work. So, you know, it can be a little bit intimidating to do those things.
And so, you know, there's a lack of awareness, like Mike said. You know, it's either were you wearing a glove or not and I think that training is a big part of understanding that there are a lot of different options. There's, you know, a lot of different performance in a glove and so really trying to understand that, you know, is critical.
But I think just the, you know, having that awareness and that training is key, and having a program that's specific and it actually identifies the specifics -- and we'll talk about that in a minute here.
So, I think most safety managers are familiar with this approach, so the hierarchy of safety controls. And so, we’ll sort of talk to go from the top down.
So, of course, you know, want to eliminate that hazard if we can, that's first and foremost. You know, if we can, can we reduce risk, reduce exposure, and you know, engineering controls. And then you know, you get down to the bottom there we always hear the PPEs, the last line of defense. And it is and that makes sense but at the end of the day, you know, PPE is gonna be used. It's very uncommon that you would go to a construction site and not see gloves being worn.
So, you know, employers should be evaluating their work. Hazards against the hierarchy of controls, that should be part of your hazard assessment. And as PPE, you know, manufacturer of PPE, we definitely love to sell gloves, but we definitely understand PPE is not a silver bullet on its own, there are many things that make up an effective hand safety program.
So, how did we bridge the information gap? And I talked a little bit about these. We've talked a little bit about these resources but we really took that three-prong approach. So really the first, when we worked with Ledcor, you know, we created a program that used the behavioral guidance from the Rethinking Hand Safety Book, and again, that book operates as a playbook. So, that was really that first step.
Through our site assessments, you know, visiting the 30 something sites that we visited, and engaging with all those workers, and understanding their roles. I mean, they're the ones doing the job day in, and day out. You know, their feedback is critical when building a program.
Through that, we created a construction hand safety guide. We wanted it to be the information to be readily available, easy to ask, access, have very specific information by trade, and that was all developed by working on those sites with those contractors.
So, we always, you know, have a saying we use, “For the trades by the trades”, you know, we didn't want to come in and say, “Okay, this is what glove you should be using.” That information came from the site assessments because we wanted it to be practical, we wanted it to be relevant. So, this is a very in-depth guide to hand safety by trade and I'll cover off a little bit more information in a moment here.
And then again, those one-on-one with a hand safety specialist. So, sometimes when you can bring in a third party, when you can bring in the manufacturer, sometimes it's received a little bit better. Sometimes the workers are more open and willing to talk and share their reasons, why they may not be wearing the gloves. Is it because it's an access thing, is you know, a practical thing where it's not the right glove for their job? So really, when you have that third party, you know, come in a lot of times you can get different viewpoints and different, you know, progress.
So, that's a big part of what we do as a manufacturer, are we work with our end-user partners and customers on just that. You know, helping them understand where the gaps and challenges are and then developing a program.
So, the hand safety guide, as mentioned, is an in-depth trade guide, about in-depth, hand safety guide by trade. There's also a lot of other specific resources that you can access at the tip of your fingers. We made the guide, you know, basically electronic. And so you know, anybody who has a phone on-site can quickly pull up the information. There are live links to help you quickly navigate through, you can email individual pages.
So, if you're trying to prepare for maybe a toolbox talk and you want to talk about maintenance or you want to talk about the different POM coatings, or why are there different gauges of gloves, you have that information at the tip of your fingers.
And again, it's making that information accessible to everybody who's involved with hand safety on site. And again, it's available in different types of formats, whether you want it on your phone or your desktop. There's a QR code that can be accessed to quickly download it. So, we wanted to make it as easy and as readily available as possible.
So, when we look at like the trade profile pages -- and hopefully you can see that. It is by trade. So whether, you know, you don't have to go into each page. If you're only drywall, if you're only electricians, roofers, framers, working mainly with glazier, you can click on that individual section and it will take you to those -- to that information. It's very in-depth. We'll just jump to the next slide.
So, if you look at understanding the trade pages, it's not, again, just about PPE. When we worked with some of the contractors and Ledcor trade partners, we, you know, we wanted to really get an understanding of where these injuries were stemming from. You know, why were they happening? So, you know, a lot of times we would get a lot of great information from that. So, we wanted to put as much as much of that information in and PPE again, being the last line of defense.
So, you know, an example of that was one of the glaziers got a really bad laceration across his hand requiring several stitches. And when we investigated a little bit further, we found out that the glass had a chip in it. It was dusty and it whacked and it slipped. And I think they posited, “They weren’t wearing a glove.”
But again, so when we put these maintenance recommendations in, you know, there's a note, you know, make sure you inspect that glass before, you know, you handle it. So that's just an example of going -- we wanted to go above and beyond just putting the gloves in a catalog, so to speak.
So, there are primary tasks. There's just a bunch of information. So again, here's just an example. There's just, you know, sizing charts, there's, you know, glove selection guides, maintenance and a little bit of training, an ROI calculator, laundering. So again, there's a chemical chart. If you're trying to identify what type of materials may be appropriate for different chemicals on site of working with maybe concrete.
So again, if you are looking to continue that conversation with your employees around hand safety, a lot of great information in here. There's a guide to the ANSI standard ratings. A lot of people don't know that there's different ratings for different performance levels and we can see an example of that in a moment.
And we usually will support that with glove selection, you know, a lot of people are visual, especially on-site. So, you know, if you have a tool crib or there's an area where gloves are being distributed or part of training, you know, we usually support that with selection boards. I'm sure most of you have seen something like this, if you're going to shop or if you're on a site, you'll see the board with different gloves and what different applications they're recommended for. So, this is all trying to provide as much content as possible to make glove selection and education as easy as possible. So over to you, Mike.
Mike: [00:28:49] Excellent. All right. Thank you, Shane.
So, we're going to briefly talk about -- sorry, I'm a little distracted at the moment. I just talked about a site incident that happened to further illustrate what we're talking about here. So, I'm going to walk you through a hand injury that happened to a roofing contractor.
And so, we're going to talk about a couple of things. One is the performance of the gloves. We need to look beyond whether workers are simply wearing the gloves or not, look at the mental and the financial and physical impacts resulting from a hand injury, and it's not as uncommon as we think.
So, this is a roofing contractor putting down a monolithic membrane application. So, for those that are not familiar with this process over on the left-hand side of the screen, a hot liquid membrane application of monolithic product is being poured onto the concrete proximately three millimeters thick with a reinforcing fabric membrane that's going over the top and then another layer of hot liquid product on top of that. The product is heated in the middle picture there is a double jacketed melter or kettle to the appropriate application temperature of around 180 to 109 degrees Celsius or 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when the products becomes liquefied and it's able to be poured into a bucket as you notice on the left-hand side and it's being transported by the worker to the application location.
So, in the photos that you see above on the left-hand side, you see the worker carrying the two buckets. One in either hand, walking to and from the project, or to and from the kettle to the work application. As the worker transits from the kettle to the work application, the worker trips. The investigation concluded there were no findings on the tripping. There were no housekeeping issues. The boots that the worker was wearing were fine. There was nothing there, the worker tripped and fell.
As the worker starts to fall, they all place their hands out in front of them, and put their hands to brace their fall. And you notice here with the gloves that they're wearing, the thick membrane doesn't run like water, it stays a nice real thick product and he sticks his hand into the product and membrane pours into the glove.
So, there are some potential mental health distractors that potentially were involved in this. The worker had a new baby coming in a couple of days just after the incident. The incident happened towards the end of the shift after many, many trips back and forth back and forth, and this was the worker's job just to go between the kettle and the work application so becomes very repetitive and monotony.
So, just before we switch to the next slides, I just want to warn you the next slide contains some graphic content so if you're not interested, please turn away.
So, the picture on the left shows the amount of hot liquid membrane that leaked passed that two and a half-inch open gauntlet glove, this was a general-purpose thin leather glove and onto the palm of the worker's hand. The middle picture are sort of the descriptors of the gloves. Over on the right-hand side, you'll notice this is a general-purpose glove and it's not rated for this heat rating. As Shane, talked about earlier, there's ANSI standards.
The employer did not conduct a glove evaluation to determine the required glove performance. And procedures did state that the gloves were required. However, as I said earlier, did not specify the performance or the type of glove to be used.
In a few minutes, we're gonna discuss how Ledcor, Superior Gloves, and this particular contractor conducted a hand safety evaluation to determine the most appropriate type of glove required for this task.
So, you will notice here on the left-hand side, again, a picture of the glove. This is the day of the incident after the hand was cooled. The middle picture there is showing five weeks, and the picture on the right is nine weeks. So, I just want to talk about this for a moment.
You'll notice that the middle finger has got a crook in it. My understanding is that is a result of the heat causing damage to the tendon and it's going to take many, many, many months of therapy to make that finger go straight.
So, there are some personal suffering. What did this cost us? For the worker, lifelong scarring, had a new baby at home and now has to contend with the pain of recovery and supporting a mom and a new baby. The mental health of just simply dealing with the trauma of having to recover from this, months of rehab, 10 weeks of lost wages, and the worker quit the industry. From a company's perspective, company hiding their employer insurance costs increase. Cost of the investigation, downtime, research, new equipment, new PPE, training workers in the revised procedures, replacement of a new worker since this worker left, the morale of the team, and a company brand. And the PPE costs? So, what did it cost? So, the general purpose glove, generally S2 to $3.
What an appropriate ?We're going to talk about it in the coming slides here. For the right type of Kevlar gloves and a HighVis shirt with a Kevlar sleeve, we're going to talk about that 15 to $25. Sadly, this incident demonstrates the necessity and the importance for employers to conduct an effective PPE performance evaluation. And we're gonna discuss this further, in further details in slides coming up.
Also, during our investigation, we spoke with other roofing contractors who shared their stories of pain. Disappointingly, this was not an isolated incident and it further our resolve to improve our hands' safety on a project with the contractors.
So, on the next slide, or on this slide here, Shane is gonna talk about how we conducted that evaluation with our contractor. Also, but I want you to please note that use these examples that I'm demonstrating with you now/ Don't wait for a hand injury to happen before using this construction safety guide to help assist you in evaluating your workers' tasks, looking at the hand hazards, and gulf performance for the required tasks. Shane?
Shane: [00:35:14] Thanks, Mike. And so yeah, to Mike's point, like when we partner with our customers, you know, doing those site assessments is a big part of what we do. And we formalized it. Here's an example. It is, I think, a bit hard to see on the screen there but here's just an example of a consultation record that we used to capture that information.
So, we meet with our partners, we go to the site, we overview the applications, we ensure -- we engage with the employees doing the tasks and we capture all on this document that now that allows us to make those assessments and ultimately make recommendations.
And so, when we looked at that roofing company, we were able to go back and after the fact as unfortunate as that incident was and use this approach to, “Okay, assess the incident. What happened? What were the contributing factors,” captured it into a document and then make those recommendations.
And again, as the manufacturer of the product, that's the site assessments are something that we do, no charge. It's just a part of what we do. So, we were engaging with all of you know, prime contractors and subcontractors and using this document to navigate through those recommendations.
And it doesn't just cover, you know, the task, it covers like other things that may be overlooked, you know, in terms of those other challenges like, do they need touchscreen? Can the gloves get wet? You know, there's a lot of challenges that can come up when making a recommendation.
And so, this is what I was saying before about the performance standards. So again, it's very common for manufacturers of PPE to have performance standards. This is universal, so it's not you know, just Superior Glove. These ANSI performance standards are universal. So, if it's a glove, and it's been tested appropriately, it's going to have these markings, the markings need to be on the product. And so, you'll see these markings clearly indicated.
So, just a couple of examples, and as I said, you know, it's usually a graduating scale. So, the higher the number, usually the more protection you're gonna get. So, you know, big ones in construction, definitely cut resistance, definitely impact, you see that the hammer smashing down on the hand so it's pretty self-explanatory. And then again, when we do those assessments and we're evaluating the risk, we can sort of use these performance standards to assign the appropriate performance. It’s a guide, but it's helpful.
And so, when we went back -- so here's just an excerpt from the roofing page. S,o as mentioned, there are individual trade profile pages. So, if we take a look at the roofing section, there's information in here that is directly related to that incident. So you know, it's information like that. Was a high heat glove available? Where would you need a high-heat glove? What application would you use a high heat glove? And so again, the construction hand safety guide by profile pages kind of goes from, you know, top-down and navigating you through proper performance and selection.
So, here's just an example. I'll talk about the PPE quickly. So again, we looked at it and you know, there is that exposure, both at the kettle. And potentially, if a worker was to trip, there was a very wide opening on that glove, there wasn't a lot of wrists and arm protection or any type of any real additional protection outside of the hands.
And so, when we met with the client, we were able to learn a bit more about the application, ultimately recommended this solution. So, you've got the leather glove, it's still a leather glove but it's got that arm and wrist protection. And then we've got a HighVis shirt with permanently attached cut-resistant sleeves.
So, now there's that total coverage. And so, they adopted it and the feedback has been great so far. So, that’s just an example of how we worked directly with that end-user. After that incident. We’ve learned a little bit more, made the recommendation and they've adopted it. So, hopefully, something like that doesn't happen again.
Mike: [00:39:42] And Shane, I just want to add, you'll notice that picture on the right-hand side, and a bunch of you are thinking, “Wait a minute, you're just talking about PPE. Didn't you talk about the hierarchy of controls earlier?” Yes, yes, we did.
And so, part of this was to create a dolly for the worker to transport these hot materials from the location of the kettle to the work location. They didn't have to carry it anymore. So, we're hoping that worked out well and the feedback has been fantastic from the workers both on the dolly and from the safety book.
So as we talked about before, managing human factors. So, what can we do? So, when we're out there, and we're looking and we're observing the workers, there's some observable issues that we can address.
One, is the worker not wearing gloves or wearing the incorrect gloves for the task? Are they altering the gloves to suit the task? So typically, you'd see like carpenters, for example, would cut the tips of the fingers off, so they can grab the nails.
Workers working wearing gloves beyond its usable life, like those old pair of jeans, they're just comfortable but all of a sudden, now the protection isn't there anymore.
Placing hands in the line of fire. People get comfortable doing the job that they doing and, “I can beat it.” And sure enough, that's part of the problem. Using incorrect or damaged tools and equipment for tasks. So, using the wrong tool for the job.
So, there's some personal factors here too, that we have to discuss and explore. One, the accepted rite of passage. I always go back to a story that a concrete person explained to me and he had -- we talked about wearing gloves and he had these great big meaty hands. And his hands were just full of calluses, and he was saying, “I don't need gloves. My hands are my gloves?” And he was doing this. And then we asked him, “Well, can you write with a pen?” He was like, “No because he can't close his hands because he's got his hands been dealing calluses for so many years. So, it shouldn't be accepted as a rite of passage.
And injuries are part of the job. So, when we talk to people in the roofing they were very proud to show up, “Yeah, I've been burned with this stuff before.” That’s not acceptable. Or we get the other extreme of the workers who says, “I’m careful. And it won't happen to me.” How many times have we heard that?
Or part of the three rights is the lack of knowledge regarding how to protect workers' hands. So, what type of PPE? Are we using engineering controls? Are we looking at the performance standards for the gloves or do you come up with the personal purchasing option, meaning that the employer has to purchase or the worker pass to purchase the gloves, right?
Are the employers supplying them? So, if the employer is supplying them, they're just both buying potentially so it's an avenue to have to explore. And exercising the right to refuse unsafe work. So, if you're not given the right type of protection, you don't have to do the work.
So how did we start to change people to go back to the hands' safety initiative? We took a multi-pronged approach. The most important thing we can do to make a lasting impression and change besides causing lifelong injuries is to change how people think about what we're doing. And this isn't done through a single safety talk or an email directive. It is required in getting our project hand safety champions, our contractors, and our management to have a constant and purposeful discussion and interactions over time. This is repeated to work through questions, develop a common understanding, and a shared vision.
We use a multimedia approach, a series of communications to reinforce and deliver a reoccurring message over a period of time. We had a book club using the hand safety book. Every week, Ledcor executives, the superintendent, safety, and four persons or champions from across Canada, we would meet virtually – of course, this is during COVID, to review and discuss the next chapter in the book and share relevant experiences and stories, and thoughts and ideas. These hour-long discussions were conducted as a community of discussion rather than a lecture where I'm going to tell you what I know about it. And these sessions were also recorded because we can do that now to rewatch the discussions later.
So, this information helped us to reinforce why we were doing what we're doing. And these book clubs and meetings fostered critical thinking and improved our analytical skills in our partners. If we had just simply instructed the participants or the contractors to “Read the book,” we would have definitely differing viewpoints, understandings of the materials, and commitment to help change the safety culture would have been all over the map. This interactive process allowed us to gauge into more intensely and solidified our collective understanding.
I'm going off-script. So, before I get into the rest of the story, I want to show you this. So again, you have posters up on the job sites. And we've all seen a million posters. And we thought about if we got a hand safety poster, why not have a hand as a poster?
And so, on here, you'll notice that there's the QR codes and the different languages that are here. So, Ledcor also provided, like I said, these visual tools to help our communication plan. We engage with our contractors in the preparation of the posters by taking lots of photos. And you'll notice over on the right-hand side, we have all these different posters that we had. And so, our users would have to go out to take these photos so we can put them into the hand safety posters.
They also had links to our various safety talks and to the Ledcor commitments that we've been referring to throughout this presentation.
And the poster also had an additional benefit. The project champions were asked to go and take these photos of workers doing various tests. Now, this required, the champion and whoever was taking the photo, to inspect and closely evaluate the hand and glove, and the task for the photo op to verify was compliant with our newfound expectations. And this also added a secret benefit is to improve the photography skills. Shane?
Shane: [00:45:57] Thank you, Mike. So, next steps, so following today's webinar, you'll receive an email with access to these free resources or contact us at any time through [email protected], or [email protected] rather. But this is all gonna be available to you. So, you can also download a free copy of the Rethinking Hand Safety Book from our website, superiorglove.com.
Again, as the manufacturer we have a ton of hand safety resources directly on our website, you can download the Rethinking Hand Safety Book. You can get a hardcopy for purchase on Amazon if that's more your thing. You'll get a copy of the Construction Hand Safety Guide download, and again at any time, those free one-on-one hand safety consultations are available to you.
We do get a lot of interest in requests in our site assessments and our hands' safety program. So really If you're looking, you know, getting -- looking to get an understanding of what that looks like. We've got representation in every region across Canada. And so that usually starts with a discovery meeting with one of our hand safety specialists. We identify your hand safety initiatives, and we help you navigate through that program.
And again, it's free of charge. So, if those site assessments or a hand safety program, no matter sort of where you are on your journey, that is definitely something that we can help support.
So, again, you know, specific to Ledcor, basically, you know, we met with Ledcor. We met with the key champions and stakeholders, and we went and walked around each of the sites, we met with the contractors. I think you need really all hands-on deck to have an effective hand safety program. You need to get buying from the top like Mike said.
But also, the interaction with the employees, you know, we can kind of call it the IKEA effect. You know, when they're part of building something, they take a sense of ownership, they take a sense of pride, it's much more effective. So, we always recommend that you know, definitely, that employee engagement is key.
So again, we can do these virtual now with sort of everything that's going on with continued health concerns, but there's a lot of options in this area. Again, no matter where you are on your hand safety journey.
And so, what can you do for hand safety? As I said, I think it's so important to do a hazard assessment. You know, conduct a tour of your facility, and really try to understand those applications, those tasks, some of those human factors, those barriers, getting that employee feedback, using the ANSI performance guide, as a guide. You know, a lot of times you can look at something and say, “Okay, that's a moderate impact,” or “That's an extreme impact,” that scenario or situation and using those performance levels as a guide.
Have a PPE policy that's specific and that was built with the employees rather than just must wear a glove. It's always a good idea to go back and review those hazard assessments and also those investigation reports. Where are those incidents stemming from and then have those in engagements with the workers.
So, definitely, education and training, learn about the different glove standards, learn about the different types of gloves. You know, we have a few hundred different styles of gloves and that's just because there's so many applications, so many unique challenges. It's really hard to have a one-glove solution.
And purchasing, and again, availability and access to the PPE when it's needed.
So again, rely on us as your hands' safety partner, we manufacture the products so we can be your resident experts, so to speak. So that's gonna bring us to the end of the presentation today, but we will open it up for questions now if there's any in the chat there?
Maia: [00:50:19] Okay, well, big thanks to Shane and Mike for a great presentation. So as Shane said, we're going to turn to the audience for questions now. So, thanks to everyone who's already sent a question. And as a reminder, if you would like to ask a question, just go into the Q&A tab and you can ask it there. And then, it is the question we often get and so just as a reminder, we will be sending out a recording as well as a copy of the slides to all attendees soon after the webinar.
So, jumping in with the first question, I think referring to one of your slides there just a few minutes ago. What is involved in the one-on-one with a safety specialist that you described?
Shane: [00:51:01] Yeah, so I'll just reiterate that basically, we do have hand safety specialists in every region across Canada. So, we would just get you in touch with the local hand safety specialists. That would start with a discovery meeting, you know, trying to best understand what your hand safety initiatives are, how far along you are in your journey, timelines which you're hoping to achieve, and basically navigate through that way. And that would be the best way to kick that off is getting in touch with your local Superior Glove representative. We can do virtual Congress consultations. It is much more effective to be on-site, you know, reviewing those applications firsthand, interviewing the workers, getting them involved, but we can also do that virtual given your comfort level.
Maia: [00:51:56] Okay, perfect. Mike, not sure if he had anything to add to that?
Mike: [00:52:03] Just the last part was exactly what Shane talked about. The workers are the resident experts of their hands. They know what's working and what's not working.
So, when we had that incident like I talked about earlier, we brought in the workers, we brought in the contractor, we brought in the prime contractor, we brought in Superior Gloves. And we sat down, we worked our way through the work activity that they were doing. We went through all the hazards to help determine the right type of glove to choose. And the worker and the contractor really didn't know. And so, it required this effort together to be able to determine the right type of gloves to wear. So, thank you.
Maia: [00:52:39] Okay. Perfect. Great. Going in with another question then. We've got some minutes left, and as a reminder, please use the Q&A tab for any questions you have.
So, second question. I have no control over what sub-contractors wear, how can I have an impact?
Shane: [00:53:05] Yeah, so you know, first I want to understand, you know, if that is, you know if there is an official policy in place. So, it is going to be very hard to mandate specific requirements for your trade partners if you yourself don't have a specific glove program.
And I think the other thing that's really important is to work with the contractors. You know, most companies now do have a safety department, they are usually we're responsible for that. So working with the company before work has taken place. And so you can involve the manufacturer like Superior Glove, we can work directly with those companies. But definitely having a program that is in place specific. And in often cases, if it's your worksite, mandating specific glove policies isn't a bad idea as long as it's practical and it's available, and everybody's aware of what that is. Mike, do you have anything you want to add to that?
Mike: [00:54:09] Yeah, I think, you know, it's a great question. A lot of workers, a lot of contractors will have their own safe work procedures. They will have their own health and safety program. And they're all following the sort of the same set of regulatory rules, regardless of where you are following that hierarchy of control.
So, although we don't necessarily have to mandate it from the top-down, but you can work with the contractors, “Okay, what's your hierarchy of control? How do you go from elimination, and work your way down?” And when you get to the point of PPE, you can send start talking about the performance standards. “Okay. Now you're going to wear a pair of gloves and how it's going to protect you?”
And like in the poll earlier, we asked the question about how, you know, if you've been wearing gloves, have you or someone that you've known been injured while wearing a glove? And there came back quite a few people getting cuts and punctures.
So, it goes to demonstrate that even if the procedure says, “Wear a glove”, and like I said earlier, it is to sitting down now and going, “Okay, well, are we choosing the right type of glove?”
So it's all part of that hierarchy of control. So that's probably the best way to explain it to the contractors, and to the supervisors about how to choose and to follow that standard.
Maia: [00:55:18] Okay, wonderful. So, another question here. So, how do I know what gloves should be worn for what tasks and then how do I know what standards to put in place?
Shane: [00:55:24] So, definitely a hazard assessment is step one. We definitely want to assess the situation, cover all factors, both human factors, different barriers, definitely establishing a minimum performance level. We talked about the ANSI standards, they're universal. So, like I said before, you don't want to overprotect, but having some sort of formal minimum level performance requirement for that specified task would definitely be beneficial because then again, it's that guesswork.
So, definitely a hazard assessment. You can definitely consult the manufacture, if you sort of haven't done a hand safety assessment before, and we can certainly help you navigate through that. And we can help you navigate building a program, basically, A to Z, depending again where you might be currently. But yeah, definitely having formal minimum level requirements and making sure the employees know what those are and they understand them and that's usually done through training.
Maya: [00:56:34] Mike, would you like to add to that?
Mike: [00:56:39] Yeah, I'll just add to that, Shane, is the same thing is on the glove performance, for example, you would have these different levels of puncture resistance or cut resistance. So going back and doing that evaluation to your work activity to figure out exactly how, how much protection are you going to need or what's the activity that you're doing, and the standards provided are pretty clear on what your level needs to be. And then from there, you can go and decide on the type of glove that you're going to need
Shane: [00:57:06] Because some companies do that, they will say, “Well, we’ll just go to the highest level of the spectrum and then recover it.” But the problem is, you run into there as the glove is probably going to be maybe too bulky for that application. They're not going to get the dexterity, it might be too hot. And at the end of the day, that's just gonna undermine because the first thing that the worker will do is take the glove off if they can't perform their tasks.
So, we always say the best glove is one that's providing, you know, adequate performance protection but also allowing the worker to do their work in a practical manner. So that's why the employee engagement is so critical because they're the ones wearing the gloves. So, to have their voice is critical. They'll usually be able to tell you what they would likely need in a glove.
Maia: [00:57:54] Okay. Interesting. Thank you so much.
Mike: [00:57:54] And Shane, I just want to add to that. If you remember when we did the hand safety guide and we're going around and we were showing the workers the different types of glove opportunities that were available to them, it was pretty hard to get those gloves back because once they found the gloves that work for them, they weren’t gonna give that sample back.
So, go ahead. It’s so important, like Shane said, to have those workers participating in this program.
Shane: [00:58:18] Yeah. Field testing and field trial is a key part of any hand safety program. So, once we’ve assessed the situation, we always do a lot of trials because you know, we want those gloves to be tried for the application by the employees. That feedback was provided.
And you know, the gloves are getting better and better every day. The innovation is always improving. Sometimes now, you can have a higher performance glove and it doesn’t have to be bulky and can be breathable.
And so, yeah. There’s a lot of options out there so just really knowing what’s available. And again, that’s usually determined through a hazard assessment and site assessments.
Maia: [00:59:00] Okay. Well, I think that wraps up our Q&A. So, thank you for the audience for joining us today, and thank you for Shane and Mike as well for sharing their insights. And you know, do keep an eye out for upcoming webinars. And yeah, thank you everyone, for joining us today and enjoy the rest of your day.
Mike: [00:59:20] Thank you.
Shane: [00:59:20] Thank you.