none

Workers at risk

18-10-2011
by 
in 

The absence of independent certification is exposing workers to gloves that may not be safe, according to industry leader Ansell.

Ansell Vice President Mark Nicholls says the Australian/NZ Standards (AS/NZS) for hand protection mirror the European Union’s EN glove standards with one key difference – independent testing is not mandatory.

“The Australian Standards organisation does not have the resources to police importers for compliance with the EN-based Australian Standards, says Mr Nicholls. “And critically, there is no process that assures workers that gloves have been independently certified for the stated level of protection.”

Mr Nicholls says Australia is importing protective gloves with EN ratings that may not have been validated by an EU-approved Notified Body.

“EN standards are considered state-of-the-art and are used by the Notified Bodies to ensure presumption of conformity to the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) legislation,” says Mr Nicholls.

In Europe, it is mandatory to market protective gloves in compliance with the PPE 89/686 Directive. This means companies must market gloves that are safe.

They should not use azo dyes, pH acidity that is close to neutral and have no sharp edges on the inside of the liner that could cause skin issues.

“The PPE 89/686 Directive also requires that gloves are safe for their stated use, says Mr Nicholls.

“For example, if a glove is claimed to offer high cut resistance in the liner it must be proven, via an independent, accredited laboratory, that it does indeed provide the high level of cut protection claimed,” he says.

If the highest level of cut protection is claimed an independent test must confirm this.

“They cannot sell the glove in Europe with that claim if it doesn’t, says Mr Nicholls.

“Many industrial safety gloves being imported into Australia carry an EN pictogram; however without credible independent testing workers and their companies cannot be confident that these gloves will perform at their claimed levels in critical safety dimensions such as abrasion and cut resistance, not to mention chemical protection.”

Mr Nicholls says safety officers charged with establishing a work environment where ‘duty of care’ is taken seriously may be unaware of this key difference between the EU’s EN standards and the Australian standards.

“This could mean that safety officers, as well as unions and management may be unwittingly exposing workers to risk, Mr Nicholls says.

“It must be a priority for industry to regard the certification issue as a major concern, and an opportunity to both improve workplace safety for Australian workers, and reduce the pain and costs associated with workplace injury.

“Safe Work Australia, the Federal statutory agency, should be looking at this closely.”

Safe Work Australia is a statutory agency, jointly funded by the federal and state governments. It manages the harmonization of workplace safety across Australia.

For more information on the EN standards visit: http://ansell.com.au/industry-standards

Related news & editorials

  1. 16.03.2018
    16.03.2018
    by      In
    In the 1960s, as much as a quarter of Australia’s workforce was employed in the manufacturing sector, and the industry fuelled 25% of the nation’s economy, according to the Productivity Commission. Half a century on, the closure of Toyota, Ford and then General Motors in October 2017 seemed to... Read More
  2. 24.01.2018
    24.01.2018
    by      In
    According to Southern Cross CEO, Mark Ferguson, if Australian industry really wants to get serious about saving energy then it needs to take a close look at ‘two-stage’, air compressor technology. As energy costs continue to outstrip other business input expenses it is critical, more than ever... Read More
  3. Martin Chappell
    03.11.2017
    03.11.2017
    by      In
    With Australia’s manufacturing industry strengthening, leaders and heads of IT are weighing up which new technologies they should implement to gain a competitive edge. Martin Chappell from Motorola Solutions explains how a simpler and more focused use of data can be the best approach.
    Australia’s... Read More
  4. Sahara Force India F1
    29.08.2017
    29.08.2017
    by      In
    The pace of Formula One (F1) development is rivalled only by the speeds achieved on the racetrack. Each time the Sahara Force India F1 Team brings its car to a circuit, it represents the team’s top engineering; every time the team leaves, the car is just a baseline. Between races it must be... Read More