Hands On Safety
The BCMEA is now supplying high-quality hand protection on behalf of our customer members as part of a larger initiative to reduce injuries on the waterfront.
Hand injuries can be painful and debilitating, and in some sectors account for a large proportion of lost time injuries. Container lashers experience crush, pinch and cuts to the hands, and logs and breakbulk workers suffer puncture injuries from steel wire jaggers in addition to pinching and crushing.
The Hexarmor Rig Lizard gloves selected come in a range of six sizes, provide impact protection on the back of the hands and fingers, and provide cut and puncture protection. This glove was originally identified by GCT Deltaport, in conjunction with their workplace safety committee, who found the Rig Lizard to be the most durable, protective and comfortable for lashers. Coincidentally, this year DP World Prince Rupert was also evaluating lashing gloves.
The BCMEA expanded the evaluation, distributing RigLizard gloves to union locals and terminals, who provided written feedback over two months. Users were asked to rate the gloves on a scale from 1 (not suitable) to 5 (very good) regarding overall impression, comfort, fit, break-in, durability, hand protection, weather and suitability for the job. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Ratings fell into the 4-5 range with the occasional lower ratings for “weather” when the gloves get wet, as the proprietary Kevlar palm tends to retain water.
The positive results prompted the BCMEA to recommend these gloves be supplied to workers in the Container and Breakbulk sectors, with the expectation of a significant reduction in the rate and severity of hand injuries. The BCMEA negotiated a price based on a large volume and funds 50% of the cost, with employers sharing the other 50% based on their percentage of industry hours. Every longshoreman working as a labourer in steel, logs or lashing operations is offered two pairs of gloves. To address the concern of wet hands, each pair is distributed with a separate lightweight liner.
Worn gloves will be replaced, marked and returned for use as a spare pair. To date, 2773 pairs of gloves have been issued to workers in the lower mainland, Vancouver Island and Prince Rupert and distribution is on-going.