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Show Dates: MARCH 3 - APRIL 7 2021
Time: 09:00 to 17:00
Venue: Barsha Heights, United Arab Emirates

The Fire Safety Forum presented by the Institution of Fire Engineers, GCC UAE Branch announces revised dates. The CPD accredited Fire Safety Forum discusses technical insights and trends in the firefighting, building and fire protection industries. It launches an international industry dialogue through six virtual Best Practice Panels under the Forum’s theme ‘A Global Approach to Fire & Life Safety’.

Adjusting to the new realities of 2020 and building onto latest meeting and lead generating technology standards, the Forum is featured on a conference platform allowing one-on-one interaction, networking and exhibition.

Fire & Rescue Tactical Initiatives
● 3rd Mar: Safety & Skills
● 10th Mar: Hazardous Materials
●17th Hydrocarbon Fires

Fire Safety in the Built Environment

● 24th Mar: Testing & Certification
● 31st Mar: Active Fire Protection Systems
● 7th Apr: Passive Fire Protection
Be a part of Fire, Safety & Disaster Management Expo

Scheduled Dates during 13th -14th May 2021
Time: 09:00 to 17:00
Venue: Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

Reasons to participate in FSD EXPO :

- Meet and connect with prospective customers
- Strengthen your bond with existing customers
- Meet New Companies that Can help your Business
- Economic & Industrial Potential
- Established your Brand
- Learn what your competitors are doing right
- Speak directly to your target market
- Launch, Demonstrate & Promote your product in front of Target Audience
- Close deals with new companies during the show
An innovative national recycling scheme is celebrating more than 10,000 recycled hard hats.

Every year, the UK throws away several million end-of-life protective hats. The National Hard Hat Recycling Scheme is a user-friendly method for old hard hats to bypass traditional waste disposal routes, thereby ensuring end-of-life hats go directly into reprocessing. Three years ago, Yes Recycling built a bespoke recycling capability at its Buckingham shire facility specifically to recycle hard hats.

Although the company is no stranger to innovation when it comes to recycling everyday plastic items – it recycles plastic banknotes, crisp packets, coffee cups and shop hangers – the hard hat recycling presented some particular and unique challenges, not surprising considering hard hats are fundamentally designed to be difficult to destroy.

Nevertheless, engineers were able to overcome this: all hats are completely destroyed by being shred down into 10mm flakes. These flakes are then separated into their constituent polymer elements, washed, dried and then melted down and filtered. The pure molten polymer is then made back into brand new polymer pellets – which are the universal raw material format for all plastic item manufacturing. Thus your hats are fully recycled.

Since its inception, the scheme has seen more than 10,000 hard hats saved from landfill and the scheme now boasts about 50 members from a range of sectors and businesses, including construction, transport, utilities, defence, wildlife conservation, tree surgery and extreme sports.

Network Rail is one such company. Recycling its hard hats through Yes Recycling supports its environmental sustainability goals by reducing waste to landfill through the waste hierarchy. 'It is positive to see companies such as Yes Recycling investing in initiatives to support businesses in contributing to the circular economy,' said technical surveyor Sally Marquis. 'Maybe in the future, an old hard hat could be recycled into a new one and we fully support that process.'

Director of Yes Recycling, Omer Kutluoglu, has high hopes that this will happen. 'One day we hope that we can make this a fully circular process, where the recycled material from the hard hats is put back directly into new ones, but for now we are happy to assure all valuable raw material used in making hard hats is properly recovered and fully recycled back into British manufacturing at end-of-life.'


The CDC announced on Jan. 12 that air passengers who are entering the United States must provide a negative COVID-19 test before they can board their flight, according to NPR.

The rule will go into effect on Jan. 26. It arrives in the midst of another surge in coronavirus cases across the country—the death toll from the virus is expected to exceed 400,000 in the next few weeks.

“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield. “But when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports and at destinations.”

Travelers will have to be tested for coronavirus within three days of their departure to the U.S. It is also recommended that passengers get another test administered between three to five days after they arrive in the country.


Washington — Critics of the Environmental Protection Agency are renewing their call for a complete ban on asbestos after the agency’s release of Part 1 of a final risk evaluation that concludes that the substance – a known human carcinogen – presents an unreasonable health risk to workers under certain conditions.

Used in chlor-alkali production, consumer products, coatings and compounds, plastics, roofing products, and other applications, asbestos is among the first 10 chemicals under evaluation for potential health and environmental risks under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

Released Dec. 30 and announced via a notice published in the Jan. 4 Federal Register, Part 1 of the final evaluation centers on chrysotile asbestos and states the substance poses unreasonable risk to workers involved in numerous operations, including:

● Processing and industrial use of asbestos diaphragms in the chlor-alkali industry
● Processing and industrial use of asbestos-containing sheet gaskets in chemical production
● Industrial use and disposal of asbestos-containing brake blocks in the oil industry
● Commercial use and disposal of aftermarket automotive asbestos-containing brakes/lining, other vehicle friction products and other asbestos-containing gaskets

As required under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which the Lautenberg Act amended, EPA must address risks by proposing within one year regulatory actions such as training, certification, restricted access and/or ban of commercial use, and then accept public comment on any proposals.

EPA states that Part 2 of the final risk evaluation is in development, and anticipates releasing a draft scope around the middle of the year. Part 2 will focus on legacy uses and disposals of asbestos, which the agency defines as “conditions of use for which manufacture (including import), processing and distribution of commerce no longer occur, but where use and disposal are still known, intended or reasonably foreseen to occur (e.g., asbestos in older buildings).”

In a press release, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization asserts the two-part approach is incomplete, noting that the agency omits five other types of asbestos fiber beyond chrysotile in Part 1 while failing to address known health effects related to asbestos, including asbestosis and ovarian cancer. Additionally, Part 1 “is based on grossly incomplete information about current asbestos exposure and use,” the nonprofit organization contends.

“EPA’s final risk evaluation ignores the numerous recommendations of its own scientific advisors and other independent experts by claiming that these deficiencies will be addressed in a future Part 2 evaluation,” ADAO President and co-founder Linda Reinstein said in the release. “Based on this sleight-of-hand maneuver, the agency has issued a piecemeal and dangerously incomplete evaluation that overlooks numerous sources of asbestos exposure and risk, and understates the enormous toll of disease and death for which asbestos is responsible.”

The House on Sept. 29 was slated to vote on the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act, a bill that calls for a federal ban of asbestos. The legislation is named for Reinstein’s late husband, who died from mesothelioma in 2006.

However, the bill, which passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee by a 47-1 vote in November 2019, ultimately stalled and was removed from the suspension calendar without a vote, as House Democrats chastised their Republican counterparts for withdrawing their support.

According to an Oct. 1 report published in The Hill, the controversy centered on a provision that guarantees the bill wouldn’t impact ongoing litigation concerning injuries related to the use of talcum powder.

In a joint statement released Oct. 1, Committee Chair Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chair Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) said: “Everyone should be able to support a ban on this known carcinogen, which has no place in our consumer products or processes.”

The group added: “Republicans walked away from this opportunity to ban asbestos merely over language that prevents shutting the courtroom door. This raises serious questions about the sincerity of their intentions.”

Committee Ranking Member Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) offered a rebuttal in an Oct. 1 statement: “Saying we walked away is simply untrue. All Democrats have to do is drop the language added to the bill by trial lawyers and bring the bill to the floor that every one of their members voted for when it was considered by our committee. If anyone’s intentions should be questioned, we can assure you it’s not ours.”


What exactly are key performance indicators (KPIs)? And how can they help you and your management team to set realistic goals and enhance performance? These are questions that many organizations are facing in 2020.

These indicators are necessary in any industry – including occupational health and safety. It can be confusing for organizations to navigate, as there are different types of indicators, for example leading and lagging indicators…

So what exactly are leading indicators vs. lagging indicators? Lagging indicators can measure an organization’s current performance and current or long-term trends.

“Most safety professionals are used to the traditional lagging indicators (rear view mirror perspective) like injury rates, claims, etc. However, as important as these are, they don’t give us the fullest picture of what is in front of us (front windshield) and what to do about it.” Says Adrian Bartha, CEO of eCompliance.

“This paper introduces examples of leading indicators organizations can use to measure risk reduction. It also includes a sample safety maturity program assessment using leading indicators. While no leading indicator is perfect, a small set of leading indicators that fit for your workforce, type of work and culture can not only better communicate the true level of risk, but help rally your workforce around behaviours you want to reinforce and focus on.” Says Bartha.

Leading indicators however focus on an organization’s future health and safety performance, and aim to push for continuous improvement. Leading indicators are proactive, whilst lagging indicators are simply reactive.

“One simple leading indicator may be the number of corrective or preventative actions (CAPA) opened vs. the number closed over a period of time relatively to previous period. In general, the level or growth of CAPA would show that risks are being flagged and that they are being closed.” Says Bartha.

“The ratio between open/closed would show the velocity at which risk reduction is taking place. However, other aspects may be important to evaluate as well,” he says. “For example, how many supervisors created or completed a CAPA in the last month, to evaluate whether a broader section of the workforce is involved – vs. one person.”

Before coming up with a plan, organizations also need to understand their current level of maturity. This is where eCompliance’s leading indicators guide to success steps in. eCompliance has established three levels and has put together over 50 leading indicator ideas to match your organization’s level of safety program maturity.

Organizations also need to review their maturity levels, and review leading indicators, so as to keep them relevant to the company.

“2020 has thrown many of our businesses off and forcing us to recalibrate what success means and how to get there. In a year where health and safety has risen to the forefront and top priority topic for executives and owners it’s an opportunity to redefine how we measure progress in safety and risk reduction overall in our organizations.” Says Bartha. “Revisiting what indicators of performance we measure, evaluate and communicate is critical to a strong start in 2021. By setting the right expectations, right measure, and goal posts, we can be more effective as safety leaders and ensure this is understood up, down and across the organization.”


A safety program can’t be everything to everyone, but that should still be the goal.

In most organizations, a safety program has many masters. Each silo and function have safety needs that should be addressed. Management wants results that enable the organization to compete and/or benchmark favorably. Legal wants specific rules and procedures to limit liability if serious injuries or damage occur. HR wants clear guidelines for hiring and onboarding new employees, and fair disciplinary policies for violators of safety rules. The safety professional or department wants support from leaders and cooperation from supervisors to reinforce the desired safety behaviors.

Supervisors want clear roles and responsibilities for their contribution to safety and clarity on the priority of safety in relation to productivity. Workers want sufficient training, clear expectations and available assistance in safety when needed. Many organizations have other groups with special needs and wants.

It is difficult for a safety program to be everything to everyone, but that should be the goal. A common complication to achieving this goal is that safety program modifications made for one part of the organization have negative impacts on other parts. These changes are often done with good intentions and the negative impact is not anticipated or addressed.

To avoid such complications, it is necessary to strategically design safety to anticipate how each change will impact other parts of the organization.


The most common problem leaders make for others centers around giving priority to production over safety. A major oil company had 34 production charts and one safety chart posted at locations, yet leaders regularly stated that safety was the number one priority. The charts disagreed with the dialogue.
Another manager decided he should demonstrate his dedication to safety, and one of his chosen actions was to call everyone who had an accident or near miss into his office and discuss the event and look for lessons learned. In the manager’s mind this would send a message that safety had management support and he thought he was being successful as the number of events decreased. The reality was that workers were fearful to report accidents as they viewed the interview as being “called on the carpet” and was to be avoided at all costs.


A chemical company recently had three serious injuries within six weeks. The legal department pressed the leadership team to take immediate and strong action to prevent any more serious injuries. The leaders put together a team with members from safety and legal, which decided to make rules and procedures more specific. The idea was to create clarity, but the result was just the opposite. One- and two-page procedures with common terminology were replaced with 20-40-page procedures with legal and technical terminology. The rewriting of procedures was not limited to the ones that had failed, but even the most effective procedures which had prevented injuries for years were replaced with the new, more complex procedures.

When workers in the field requested help to understand the new procedures, they were told there were not enough team members who had written the procedures to get to all the business units in a timely manner. When they then requested a one-page synopsis of each of these longer procedures, legal refused to provide them because they feared such a document could undo the protection from exposure that the longer document provided.


The VP of HR at the company with the three serious injuries decided that their contribution should be to focus on increasing the negative consequences for rule and procedure violations. They issued a communication that anyone caught in the second serious safety violation would be terminated. They thought this would put workers on guard to always be on their best behavior. Workers who were disciplined for their first violation called their experience as “being half fired.” They began to view the longer procedures as a tool to catch workers in violations rather than a tool to improve safety. Workers also ceased to view the safety department as the safety cops whose goal was to punish violators.


The safety professionals at this company had worked hard to convince workers they were friends and not foes. They learned a model for coaching performance and focusing workers on specific improvements. They had begun to build relationships and trust. The new procedures and discipline policies shattered their efforts. They set goals to regain their former progress but had little success in overcoming the impact of the other actions. The safety department implored management to moderate their efforts to address the accidents but found themselves blamed and their suggestions ignored.


Workers viewed the three serious accidents as a lack of on boarding training for new employees and didn’t think managers, legal, or HR took any responsibility for that. From a review of the accident investigations, they were right in at least two of the three cases. They also felt that they were being blamed for the accidents and their own safe performance was totally unrecognized and unappreciated. Long-tenured employees who had felt great allegiance to the company were looking for jobs at a competing company down the road and sharing information on open positions.

None of these negative impacts was deliberate but the actions that produced them were positively reinforced. Knee-jerk reactions to serious injuries can create more problems than solutions. This is especially true when leaders do not create an overarching strategy to direct the efforts. A part of such strategy development should always include an analysis of how each action can potentially impact other parts of the organization.

When managers react without thoroughly analyzing causation and influences on accidents, they can take actions that fail to address the root causes and don’t improve safety. When legal focuses on exposure versus worker usability of procedures, they can damage worker competence and performance. When HR changes disciplinary policies, they can create a culture of fear versus improvement. When an organization plans a change, they should play devil’s advocate and make sure they are not positively reinforcing something that will produce negative results.


But CDC’s critical infrastructure worker guidance is seen limiting infected employees’ return to work.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reduced the amount of time it recommends for employees to stay away from work after they have become exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Up until the CDC’s Dec. 2 announcement, the agency had advised that employers impose a blanket 14-day quarantine for those individuals who came into close contact with other individuals who tested positive or were presumed-positive.

While the agency continues to hold that the original 14-day quarantine period is best after a close contact, the revised guidelines now allow for quarantine periods it deems acceptable, if the individual remains symptom-free.

The new periods are: 10 days after close contact with the positive person; and seven days following close contact if the returning employee has a negative result for a test within 48 hours of the final day of the seven-day quarantine (that is, at least five days following close contact).

For both the 10- and seven-day alternatives, the CDC calls for daily symptom monitoring and mitigation strategies, including correct and consistent mask use, social distancing, hand and cough hygiene, environmental cleaning and disinfection, avoidance of crowds, and adequate indoor ventilation.

The CDC also says the seven-day alternative should be available only when the use of tests to discontinue a quarantine will not have an impact on community diagnostic testing. It also makes the point of emphasizing that testing for infection-evaluation should be the priority.

According to the CDC, if an individual develops symptoms during either the 14-, 10- or seven-day quarantine period, the person should be treated as a positive/presumed-positive, isolated and be subject to the associated guidelines, says Stephen R. Woods, an attorney with the law firm of Ogletree Deakins.

Generally, symptomatic individuals are able to return to work (discontinue home isolation) only after the following have occurred:
• Ten days have passed since the onset of symptoms.

• COVID-19 symptoms have ceased (except for the loss of taste or smell, which may last for some time and should not preclude the end of isolation/return to work).

• The individual is fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.

Isolation periods may be longer for individuals who are severely immuno-compromised, as determined by medical providers, Woods points out.

“Given the CDC’s continued emphasis that a 14-day quarantine period is best, employers may decide to leave that quarantine time period in place,” he suggests. “Other employers needing or desiring more operational and staffing flexibility may opt to use the 10- or seven-day quarantine periods, taking into account the availability of testing for end-of-quarantine purposes in their communities.”

As is usual when it comes to these kinds of COVID-19 recommendations, employers should watch for agency guidance, state and local public health, which can vary significantly.

Critical Worker Changes

Just before Thanksgiving the CDC issued a separate guidance dealing with when critical infrastructure workers should return to their workplaces after they have experienced symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, which the agency says should only be done as a last resort and in limited circumstances.

In contrast with the above guidance, which deals with being exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, this one applies to workers who instead have tested positive or suffered from the disease.

“Bringing exposed workers back should not be the first or most appropriate option to pursue in managing critical work tasks,” the CDC said in its latest guidance. “Quarantine for 14 days is still the safest approach to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the chance of an outbreak among the workforce.”

The agency guidance added that “reintegrating exposed critical infrastructure workers who are not experiencing any symptoms and have not tested positive back into onsite operations should be used as a last resort and only in limited circumstances, such as when cessation of operation of a facility may cause serious harm or danger to public health or safety.”

Recent news reports have said that the CDC is considering reducing its quarantine time limit for those who return to work after being exposed to the virus as well as having suffered from symptoms of the disease, but so far no official statement has been issued.

Much of the CDC’s previous guidance addressing returning critical employees back to work after a bout with the disease remains unchanged since it was issued last spring. Employers are still expected to implement the following mitigation precautions for returning workers:

• Encourage employees to screen for symptoms prior to reporting to work.

• Symptom screen employees, including temperature checks, upon their arrival at work.

• Regularly monitor employees for symptoms while at work.

• Require employees to wear face coverings while at work.

• As job duties permit, require employees to maintain social distance while at work.

• Routinely clean and disinfect the areas accessed by employees.

The recent change discouraging routine return to work for those who have been infected was based on research that has been conducted since the previous guidance, the CDC explains. This includes increased evidence that infected people pose a transmission risk when they don’t exhibit symptoms or before the onset of recognized symptoms.

The new guidance states, “Reintegrating exposed workers who are not experiencing any symptoms and who have not tested positive back into onsite operations carries considerable risk to other workers because many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic but can still spread disease, and tests are imperfect.”

Taking note of the ongoing community transmission in many parts of the country which has led to surging infection rates, the CDC officials said that a continued need exists for communicating effectively to the general public and for a continued focus on reducing transmission through social distancing and personal prevention strategies.

State and Local Policies Vary

The new guidance also encourages all critical infrastructure employers to work with local health officials on any reintegration of exposed workers and reiterates the additional risk mitigation precautions required, including pre-screening, on-site screening with temperature checks, ongoing health monitoring, cleaning and disinfecting, social distancing, and ensuring all employees wear cloth masks.

“This new guidance follows a trend we have seen in some states,” note attorneys Francis Alvarez, Cressinda Schlag and Tara Burke of the Jackson Lewis law firm. “Since the initial CDC critical infrastructure worker guidance was issued in April, several states have adopted rules narrowing the circumstances under which critical infrastructure employers can allow asymptomatic exposed employees to continue to work.”

Examples include:

New York: Employees who are exposed to COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic can continue to work if deemed essential and critical for the operation or safety of the workplace, upon a documented determination by their supervisor and a human resources representative in consultation with appropriate state and local health authorities.

California: Critical infrastructure employers have been instructed to contact local health departments to determine if exposed asymptomatic workers can be allowed to continue working.

Wisconsin: The state Department of Health has not endorsed exposed, asymptomatic workers returning to work before a 14-day quarantine period. However, local health departments in Wisconsin are allowed to grant case-by-case exceptions.

New Mexico: If an essential business would be forced to cease operations due to the quarantine of exposed, asymptomatic workers, then such workers may continue working if they test negative for COVID-19 and certain safety measures are met. This option should be used as a last resort and only in limited circumstances, such as when cessation of operation of a facility may cause serious harm or danger to public health or safety, the CDC stresses.

In light of the new CDC guidance, critical infrastructure employers should consider reviewing their policies and procedures for returning asymptomatic exposed employees back to work, the lawyers urge. At the same time, they should keep in mind that state and local orders, and guidance from state, tribal, local and territorial health departments and safety agencies, may impose different and more restrictive requirements.

Among other things, the Jackson Lewis attorneys recommend that employers consider:

• Articulating and documenting the impact on operations such as how and why business operations might cease and, if applicable, the potential impact on health and safety if exposed, asymptomatic employees are held out of work for a 14-day quarantine period.

• Consulting with the local health departments on the reintegration of exposed workers.

• Developing plans and protocols to implement additional safety precautions, including pre-screening, health monitoring, and preventive measures.

They emphasize, “As always, employers must also continue to comply with all applicable federal OSHA and state OSHA equivalent workplace safety requirements.”

Attorney Michael Oliver Eckard of the Ogletree Deakins law firm added, “Because there may be a delay between the time a person is exposed to the virus and the time that virus can be detected by testing, early testing after exposure at a single time point may miss many infections. Thus, employers may wish to consider conducting serial testing (i.e., repeated tests at different points in time) to detect infections among exposed workers more accurately.”


Gloves have been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

A recent article from National Geographic reports that utilitarian gloves have been around since Ancient Greece. Indeed, Homer mentions characters wearing gloves to protect from brambles in his epic The Odyssey. National Geographic states that gloves became more common in Medieval times and were certainly worn by workers, with knights and warriors wearing metal gauntlets or chain-mail for battle or blacksmiths wearing leather gloves for smithing.

Gloves have been a constant throughout history, from factory workers in the Industrial Revolution to doctors and surgeons in the late 19th century.

And that’s probably for the best because, in the workplace, hands are among the body parts most at risk of injury. Indeed, workers’ hands face a number of hazards: cuts, abrasions, heat injuries, chemical burns, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.

According to 2019 statistics from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), the most common workplace injury in Ontario is to multiple body parts. (From 2007 to 2016, the most commonly injured part of the body was the lower back.)

In 2019, injuries to body parts made up 15 per cent of allowed lost-time claims (followed by the lower back at 13 per cent).

This same report indicates that sprains and strains are the most common injury for all parts of the body.

Looking at earlier reports from Statistics Canada, in 2003, the hand was the body part most frequently injured on the job, with more than one quarter (28 per cent) of work injuries being to the hand. This was followed by lower back injuries (16 per cent).

According to the 2003 data, the most frequent type of occupational injury to the hand is sprain or strain, followed by cuts and then fractures.

Looking at more recent data from Statistics Canada, the most common types of injuries sustained at work are sprains and strains (49.9 per cent), followed by cuts, punctures or bites (19.2 per cent) and broken or fractured bones (8.7 per cent).

The 2018 data from the National Work Injury/Disease Statistics Program (NWISP), shared by the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), shows that the trunk (which would include the lower back) accounts for 91,415 lost time claims in Canada, followed by the upper extremities (which would include the hands), which account for 54,075 lost time claims in Canada.

While the data may be slightly confusing, it is evident that hands are among the most injured body parts in Canada.

As we can see, most occupations are affected by hand-related hazards and, as such, it is important for employers and workers to understand what hand protection is and how to correctly use it.

What is hand protection and what is it for?
We shall mainly be focusing on gloves, but hand protection can also include PPE such as finger guards, barrier creams, etc. It can also be used with arm protection such as sleeves or coverings.

A recent U.S. Department of Labor study found that injuries to fingers and hands made up 23 per cent of workplace injuries. The Department of Labor study says that hand injuries rank the highest in preventable injuries.

The study found that the majority of employees who suffered hand injuries were not wearing gloves at the time or were wearing the wrong type of glove. Backing this up, a recent Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) study found that 70.9 per cent of hand and arm injuries could have been prevented by using appropriate PPE — notably, safety gloves.

According to Princeton University’s Office of Environmental Safety, different types of gloves protect against different types of hazards. It identifies four main types of gloves currently available:

■ Gloves that protect against wounds such as cuts, burns or punctures. For these types of injuries, leather or canvas gloves were initially touted as a solution. Now, industry insiders say that cut-resistant gloves made of engineered yarns are the way to go.
■ Gloves that protect against dirt or rubbing wounds such as chafing and abrasions. Fabric and coated fabric gloves are a solution for this.
■ Gloves that protect against electrical hazards. For this, insulated rubber gloves are an optimal choice.
■ Gloves that protect against chemical hazards. For this, ideally, chemical- and liquid-resistant gloves would be the safest solution.

Employment and Social Development Canada points to additional hazards for which gloves would be needed, such as heat and cold (aluminized fabrics of nylon, rayon, wool or glass gloves), ionizing radiations (lead-lined gloves) or welding and rough surfaces (thick leather gloves).

For every single kind of environment, there is a type of glove, says Kwan Lo, managing director at Taste International, which owns the Aquila glove brand.

Princeton’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety also raises the issue that potential hazards are not the only thing to consider when choosing gloves. Indeed, fit and comfort are also important. Glove length or size is important, as is thickness as well as concerns around dexterity.

On that last point, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) offers more details.

For optimal protection, gloves need to be cared for and maintained, as per manufacturers’ instructions. They need to fit properly and cover the skin, making sure there is no space between glove and sleeve. Users should not wear torn or damaged gloves.

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at Ryerson points out that care for PPE and safety gloves is also an essential part of hand protection.

When is hand protection required and who needs it? Occupational health and safety legislation can vary from province to province. Broadly, the right kind of glove must be worn for the type of work being performed. The Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations require that workers in Canada wear PPE when performing hazardous work.

More specific details will vary depending on whether a profession is federally regulated or not.

The Canada Labour Code, which mostly only applies to federally regulated industries, says the employer is responsible for providing prescribed safety materials, equipment, devices and clothing to every person in the workplace. Employees must use this equipment.

General PPE provisions are similar across most, if not all, provinces and territories. In Ontario for example, the Occupational Health and Safety Act says the employer must provide the PPE and maintain it in good condition.

In B.C., the Workers’ Compensation Act states that a worker is responsible for providing their own general-purpose work gloves but that an employer is responsible for providing — at no cost to the worker — all other items of PPE required by the act. Furthermore, if the PPE causes allergenic or other adverse health effects, the employer must then provide alternate equipment or safety measures.

More specifically, with regards to limb protection, the act states: “The employer must provide appropriate skin, hand, foot or body protection if a worker is exposed to a substance or condition which is likely to puncture, abrade or otherwise adversely affect the skin, or be absorbed through it.” And, “If there is a danger of injury, contamination or infection to a worker's hands, arms, legs, or torso, the worker must wear properly fitting protective equipment appropriate to the work being done and the hazards involved.”

On the manufacturer’s side, Lo says, “There are lots of standards to make sure the product is right. Within those standards, you have to make sure that all of your products are tested and respect those stringent guidelines.”

He says there are a lot of standards to make sure that the product is actually right. These standards can differ from Canada, the U.S., Europe, etc. In Europe, for example, the PPE EC directives are very stringent.

“Every single product that comes out of our factory has to be tested by a recognized or accredited laboratory. They have to conduct a test and then do a report and then issue a certificate, without which we can’t sell,” says Lo. “We’ve come a long way as a health protection industry.”

“Nowadays, everyone's wearing a pair of gloves. So that's really what helps to keep the lifespan of the hands a little bit longer. You have this barrier to protect you from hazards, environment — whether it’s work or leisure,” says Lo.

In addition to protecting the worker, there are other considerations to take into account.

“It's not just protecting the wearer, it’s also about protecting the product,” says Lo. He raises the example of people who work with glass and how gloves are important because one would not want to get fingerprints on it.

How has COVID-19 impacted hand protection?
COVID-19 has broadly impacted PPE in a number of ways. With regards to hand protection, one key piece of PPE has been dragged into the spotlight: disposable medical gloves. Disposable gloves are being used in a multitude of occupations in Canada, including (but not limited to) health care, education, hospitality and retail.

“What [manufacturers] are jumping onto now because of COVID is disposable gloves. Now when you walk in the street or go to [the] supermarket, you see people wearing disposable gloves. And, of course, there's a shortage of PPE, particularly gloves,” says Lo.

Lo says that, because of this high demand and low supply, there have been a lot of scams in recent months. Cost has also become a big concern for manufacturers and buyers alike. This issue isn’t just facing the glove sector in the current COVID climate but other key markets such as respiratory protection. Sources say that this will have a dramatic impact on glove availability and pricing well into 2021.

Broadly, there has and continues to be a huge demand for gloves. Availability is a huge concern for manufacturers. Furthermore, in ramping up production, the cost of raw materials is being driven up. This will make it difficult for factories. There are also obviously concerns over worker safety in manufacturing plants due to infection cases and, by extension, labour shortages.

Although these gloves are necessary to fight the pandemic, Lo says one negative side effect is that a higher volume of disposable gloves being made out of nitrile also means that there will be a huge impact on the environment.

“I think that, because of the pandemic, ecological and environmental concerns aren't really at the forefront anymore,” says Lo. “I think people don’t realize or forget that this is a large, unprecedented amount of waste that is being created. And some of it is actually toxic waste. And that needs to be dealt with in a specific manner. And, so, there's this massive concern.”

This is why manufacturers are now looking into cleaning and disinfecting solutions that could be used to sterilize nitrile gloves for re-use or are looking at making re-usable gloves. Hand sanitizer and soap and water work for non-sterile conditions.

“I think there's this whole separate market now being created about making reusable [gloves] or at least cleaning agents that would be used to clean [gloves],” he says. These concerns are shared by others in the industry.

How COVID-19 develops in 2021 remains to be seen, but the disposable glove market is certainly poised to dominate the safety glove conversation in the upcoming months. As stated when we first started our journey into hand protection, gloves have been a key piece of protection for workers for hundreds of years. With COVID likely to loom over worker safety for months, if not years to come, gloves won’t be going anywhere any time soon.


Tight-fitting respirators (such as disposable FFP3 masks and reusable half masks) rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face.

To ensure that respiratory protective equipment (RPE) will protect the wearer:

■ a face fit test should be carried out the first time a worker uses a particular type of respirator
■ the wearer should carry out a pre-use seal check or fit check, which they should repeat every time they put a respirator on

When carrying out a face fit test during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, testers and wearers should take additional measures to minimize the risk of transmission.

Face fit test

A face fit test should be carried out before people wear RPE for the first time. Inadequate fit can reduce the protection provided and lead to immediate or long-term ill health or can even put the wearer’s life in danger.

A fit test should be repeated whenever there is a change to the RPE type, size, model or material, or whenever there is a change to the circumstances of the wearer that could alter the fit of the RPE, for example:

■ weight loss or gain
■ substantial dental work
■ any facial changes (scars, moles, effects of ageing etc) around the face seal area
■ facial piercings
■ introduction or change in other head-worn personal protective equipment (PPE)

There is no stipulated frequency for retesting, and you don’t need to retest if there are no changes in these circumstances.

Find out more about face fit testing.

Minimize the risk of transmission

People who have symptoms of COVID-19 or are isolating in accordance with government guidance should not attend a face fit test.

To minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 during face fit testing the following additional measures should be taken:

■ fit testers should follow government advice on social distancing, as they can make observations from a distance and deliver any instructions verbally
■ those being fitted should keep their respirators on, as much as possible to minimize risk to the tester
■ both the fit tester and those being fit tested should wash their hands before and after the test
■ those being fit tested with non-disposable masks should clean the mask themselves before and immediately after the test using a suitable disinfectant cleaning wipe (check with the manufacturer to avoid damaging the mask)
■ test face pieces that cannot be adequately disinfected (for example disposable half masks) should not be used by more than one individual
■ fit testers should wear disposable gloves when cleaning tubes, hoods etc and ensure they remove gloves following the correct procedure (PDF) - Portable Document Format (PDF)- Portable Document Format
■ immediately dispose of used gloves, disposable masks, cleaning wipes etc in a waste bin

Fit testers should familiarize themselves with the following potential contact points and actions to minimize transmission:


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