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Keep MRO Workers Safe by Focusing on These 4 Key PPE Products

Much more than just fixing things, Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) is what keeps things moving. It’s a critical part of the manufacturing industry because a plant or factory or any other type of facility can’t produce if it’s not running.

However, it’s an easy area to take for granted. It is not often noticed when it’s working well, but operations start breaking down if the MRO team falls behind in routine maintenance or repair.

By the end of this post, you will understand the value of MRO and the workers carrying it out every day. We’ll explore the safety challenges, look at four key protections to focus on, and explain why it’s important.

The critical nature of MRO

A Peerless Research Group (PRG) survey on manufacturing reveals a company environment where the MRO and the workers in it play an essential role. For 94% of respondents, MRO is extremely or somewhat important to their companies’ overall operations. Only 6% indicated that MRO was not very important or not at all important.

Respondents that view MRO as “somewhat important” say it helps to reduce downtime, manage preventative maintenance and streamline their plants. Those who see MRO as “extremely” important say it helps their firms maintain customer satisfaction, maintain continuous production, follow lean practices, and secure the “right parts for the first time, every time.”

Safety Challenges in the Industry

Brian Devaney from Sales Solutions, Inc. Is no stranger to the work that goes into MRO. With over 15 years of combined construction, manufacturing, and safety experience, he’s seen many operations first-hand.

As part of his work, he performs job site hazard analysis during his site visits. It often involves advising safety professionals responsible for MRO.

MRO includes everything the maintenance crew does to keep a facility running and in good condition. It’s a critical component of any manufacturing business.

Brian says safety compliance becomes a challenge when the worker doesn’t buy into the safeguards including the usefulness of the PPE. “You get a lack of compliance when the PPE makes it harder for somebody to do their job,” he added.

He said there’s a more important conversation to be had. “We don’t spend enough time talking to the actual user about why they should wear this PPE.”

“A successful hand protection audit means going to the functional areas and getting information from the person doing the job who actually wears the required gloves.” – Brian Devaney

He stresses education and training as part of the overall safety culture in any business.

The Most Frequently Used PPE for MRO Workers

Today, as Brian mentioned, safety compliance has become very important In manufacturing. However, it wasn’t always that way.

In fact, PPE isn’t something that has always been regulated. Its use has been a progression that’s taken place over decades of trial and error, often at the expense of the worker.

Luckily, the days of unchecked and out-of-hand manufacturing injuries along with unsafe practices are in the past. We have safer working environments now than ever before.

To ensure that it stays that way, we have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA regulates safe practices and PPE use in manufacturing facilities nationwide to ensure that companies and individuals conduct business safely.

OSHA requires that personal protective equipment (PPE) be selected, provided, and worn by employees in situations where PPE could help reduce the potential for harm and injury. That includes MRO workers whether they are internal or external (contractors).

Below are the four most common types of protective gear used in manufacturing facilities to keep MRO workers safe.

Head Protection

According to OSHA, hard hats must be worn on any worksite where there is a risk of objects falling from above. That includes inside a manufacturing facility.

However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that only 16% of workers who sustained head injuries wore hard hats even though many were required to wear them.

It’s a grim statistic that shows why workers should wear a hard hat in any areas where they could be struck or hit by fixed, moving, protruding, or falling objects. It’s also a necessary protection when in contact with dangerous levels of electricity or exposed to extreme weather, UV rays, or high temperatures.

In general, most hard hats should be replaced every three years. Manufacturers usually provide specific recommendations.

DuraShell™ Hard Hats

It’s head protection that provides a critical safeguard inside or outside work environments. It has an outstanding fit, comfort, and uncompromising safety.

The DuraShell™ suspension design makes for an easier adjustment by the wearer. And the vertical height adjustment provides a customized fit. Universal accessory slots are built to fit cap-mounted earmuffs and chin straps. It’s a hard hat that is also available in multiple colors and features:

  • Polyethylene double layered crown strap
  • Replaceable and washable Suspensions
  • High-density polyethylene construction
  • Low-Profile design
  • Pillowed brow pad & top ribbon pad for comfort

And don’t forget about the importance of your brand on PPE like your team’s hard hats. If your business would like to add a professional value-added look by printing your custom logo, the Liberty Glove and Safety in-house branding experts can help. We ensure your custom logo stands out, gets noticed, and increases your brand awareness.

Hearing Protection

Hearing protection is required in work environments that are exposed to noise levels equal to or greater than 85 decibels (dB) averaged over an eight-hour period. Most manufacturing facilities fit into this category.

OSHA notes that noise may be a problem in your facility if workers report:

  • Hearing ringing or humming in their ears when they leave work
  • Have to shout to be heard by a coworker an arm’s length away
  • Experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work

The OSHA standard 1910.95(b)(1) says that when employees are subjected to sounds over 85 decibels (dB), then administrative or engineering controls should be put in place. If that doesn’t reduce sound levels, then hearing protection needs to be provided to limit the noise.

The best hearing protection is the one that is comfortable and convenient and one that workers will wear every time they are in an environment with hazardous noise.

DuraPlugs™ Ear Muffs

Just like with gloves, ear protection should fit securely and comfortably. Duraplug Ear Muffs work well in a manufacturing environment because they’re lightweight but rugged. The foam filled and padded ear cups are highly effective in keeping noise to a minimum. It’s hearing protection that offers:

  • Adjustable nylon headband
  • Large soft foam ear cups to fit all sizes
  • Lightweight and durable construction
  • Noise reduction rating (NRR) 25dB

Eye Protection

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Eye M.D.s says one million people are affected by an eye injury every year and the Vision council reports 40% of on-the-job eye injuries happen in the manufacturing, construction, and mining industries.

Those are statistics that highlight the need for eye protection for all workers working in manufacturing facilities, often full of sawdust, metal shards, or chemicals hanging in the air.

But it’s not all bad news. The experts at the Prevent Blindness organization say that 90% of eye injuries are preventable using appropriate protective eyewear. It’s one of many reasons safety glasses or goggles are required when operating or working MRO in manufacturing.

iNOX™ F-III™ (amber) and iNOX™ Aura II™ (gray) Safety Glasses

With an amber lens for indoors or a gray lens for outdoors, these safety glasses are versatile eye protection perfect for MRO workers. Simple to slip on and off as needed, they are also durable enough to be tucked in a pocket when not being used. Both pairs feature:

  • Polycarbonate temples and single-piece wrap-around lens
  • Scratch resistant polycarbonate lens
  • Lenses filter 99% of harmful UVA & UVB rays
  • Soft rubber nose pads and non-slip rubber temple tips
  • ANSI Z87.1-2015 standard certified

Hand Protection

Cuts and other hand injuries are common types of accidents in manufacturing. It’s why a large variety of gloves are available for safely handling most MRO jobs.

However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 250,000 severe injuries to fingers, hands, and wrists occur yearly. Seventy percent of those workers were not wearing gloves when the injury occurred, and thirty percent were wearing inadequate or inappropriate hand protection.

For the majority of MRO work, a multi-purpose seamless coated glove offers the perfect level of safety. But only if it’s a glove that is comfortable to wear and can handle a wide variety of jobs.

G-Grip™ and P-Grip™ Safety Gloves

Designed for resistance against oily applications and abrasion risks, the G and P-Grip series gloves provide the reliable, flexible type of protection MRO workers need. Made with materials that allow dexterity and comfort, they’re dependably made and used for a wide assortment of applications.

Both offer excellent sensitivity and fit. They also have colored cuffs for easy size identification. And each is durable enough to withstand multiple launderings.

In addition, the G-Grip™ has a nylon/lycra shell, nitrile micro-foam palm coating and provides:

  • Cutting edge technology micro-foam coating
  • Superior grip and abrasion resistance
  • Applicable for both wet and dry applications

The P-Grip™ is a 13-gauge polyester shell glove, which also has:

  • Three touch screen fingertips
  • Technology advanced polyurethane coating
  • Hi-vis green polyester shell

Request a sample of the NEW P-Grip™ Coated Seamless Gloves with Touchscreen Compatibility Today!

The Future of MRO and a Safe Work Culture

As maintenance, repair and operations evolve to meet current demands and the ongoing changes that come with it, MRO worker safety continues to be an important focus.

“I see the attention to those changes as better for the safety of workers,” Brian said. “We’re coming up with better ways to protect people when they’re doing their job and that’s a good thing.”

Whether it’s gloves, eyewear, head, ear protection, or other PPE, Liberty Glove and Safety offers protective equipment and clothing that’s reliable and resilient. Manufacturing workers including those in MRO can choose from a large range of high-quality brands that cater to the essential gear you need.

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Branded PPE is Good for Business

If you’re not promoting your company logo on your workers’ PPE, you’re missing out on a fantastic and highly influential branding opportunity. It’s one of the easiest ways to build brand awareness and confidence – both on and off your worksite.

Is it really worth it to brand PPE?

Since it is often the outermost layer of a worker’s attire, for industries required to comply with safety apparel standards, a workers’ PPE serves as its company uniform and what is often noticed first.

It’s an efficient and effective way to stretch your marketing dollars too, but don’t just take our word for it.

A few years back, a marketing research group surveyed 14 major industry groups, ranging from general building contractors to auto repair services. The majority of respondents (67%) found branding their uniforms was a more effective way of increasing their company’s visibility than other popular sources, including the internet, TV, and radio.

Those survey results still hold today. A 2021 McKinsey report concluded companies that improved brand visibility the most increased return on invested capital (ROIC) by about three percentage points more than those whose visibility declined the most.

Branding ideas for essential PPE

Because so many items can be branded these days, employers have choices on what safety apparel they choose to display their logo on. Branding can be done on items like jackets, shirts, and vests. But you can also put logos on most work gloves, hard hats, and safety glasses.

Below, we’ve put together a list of some popular safety apparel that can easily be branded and usually comes in various colors that will complement your business style. These are only a few ideas of what PPE you might want to brand and where to put your logo. We’re open to your suggestions on logo placement and can help you narrow down your choices.

 

1. Elevate your brand awareness with your company logo printed on the back of your vests, jackets, and protective apparel.

You and your company logo will be seen when you wear a hi-vis vest with your brand presented prominently on the back panel. Or you might prefer a small custom logo placed on the front of your PPE – another great option!
Hi-vis jackets offer rain and wind protection and create an excellent opportunity to show company pride with an imprint of your custom logo on the back panel.
Disposable coveralls create the perfect opportunity to get your logo seen and show your company pride. Put your company logo on your disposable protective apparel and increase your visibility. It works well as a giveaway to guests on worksite visits too and makes you look professional as well as compliant.

2. Personalize and keep your workers’ hands safe with branded work gloves.

Traditional leather work gloves offer an excellent canvas for printed logos. It’s also a great place to promote safety awareness by imprinting “watch your hands” on the back of the glove or add your own custom logo to either the back or on the safety cuffs for a personal look that will get your brand noticed.
Cotton canvas gloves are ideal for general purpose work, and with a knit wrist cuff, they stay in place while preventing dirt and debris from getting in. Top it off with your logo printed on the back or cuff at a cost-effective price.
Coated gloves are essential when protecting your hands from abrasions and punctures during the workday. They also present another great opportunity to show off your logo without compromising the glove’s performance.

3. Customize your logo on your favorite brand of hard hats or safety glasses.

What better way to make sure your logo gets noticed than to put it on your hard hat either in the front or on the back – it’s your choice. The customization shouldn’t stop there either. Make sure your hat fits well as there are different designs and added features to ensure it is comfortable and safe on the job too.
Your safety specs may not seem like an obvious choice for a logo, but on the side temples and bottom side lens area are fantastic placement to showcase your branding while keeping your eyes protected and ANSI Z87+ compliant too.

Now that you’ve decided to stand out from the crowd with branded PPE, the next question is what type of printing will work for you and who should you trust to do it?

Choose a straight-forward printing process that suits the PPE

There are two main processes used when it comes to branding workwear: pad printing and silkscreen printing. Both methods create a well-defined image and can produce a variety of colors. But each technique is used specifically for certain types of PPE to get the best results.

PAD PRINTING

Transferring two-dimensional images onto a three-dimensional object is an offset printing process called pad printing. It requires an etched plate and a pad to transpose the image. Pad printing machines utilize three main components to successfully deliver a print to an object: the plate, the ink cup, and the pad.

 

First, an image is etched onto the plate. Then the ink cup holds the ink and slides it across the etched plate. This leaves a tiny amount of ink in the etch.

From there, the pad delivers the ink using a soft silicone material that presses and moves it over the underlayer, where it is pressed again to transfer the image.

SILKSCREEN PRINTING

Screen printing is used to print larger images and is one of the most popular printing techniques used for putting logo designs on a variety of products. In most cases, it is a process used with fabrics and paper, but it can be adapted to suit other materials, including wood, ceramics, and plastics.

As the name suggests, the process involves making a screen and then applying ink to the material. The ink is pushed through small holes in the screen, transferring it to the material underneath.

It takes one screen for each color, and by using several screens, you are able to layer different colors – one on top of each other, creating the details in the provided logo or design.

Trust your brand with a recognized leader in safety

It’s not always easy to get branding right. That’s why it’s essential to work with experienced professionals who can offer advice on fabrics and the dimensions and positioning of your logo and help you achieve any special requirements.

At Liberty Glove and Safety, we recognize the importance of your brand so when we are trusted with providing a custom logo – we treat your logo with respect and make sure you have a quality finish. Our in-house branding experts will recommend the best process for your branded PPE and ensure your custom logo stands out, gets noticed, and increases your brand awareness.

So, if your business would like to add a professional value-added look by printing your custom logo on your PPE – get in touch and find out more about all our options.

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The 4 Fundamentals: Hand Safety Tips That’ll Keep Your Hands Safe at Work

Hand injuries are a genuine hazard in any workplace. While manufacturing and industrial facilities see higher rates of hand injuries, any worker in any industry can experience them. Knowing the fundamentals and keeping essential hand safety tips in mind is a great way to protect yourself. After all, the best kind of protection is prevention.

Tip 1:  Be aware of the hand injury risks in your work environment

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, your hands are one of the most common body parts to be injured in the workplace (second only to your back). Being aware of the risks within your workplace environment means you’ll better avoid any harm to yourself or others.

Identify potential hazards by knowing the main risks to look out for:

  1. Personal: Hazards caused by something you might be wearing are considered a personal risk. This could be a watch, ring, clothing, or even ill-fitting personal protective equipment.
  2. Mechanical: A mechanical risk involves some type of moving parts where hands or fingers could be pinched, cut, severed, etc. It could also be a situation where objects could fall and crush the hands or cause other such damage.
  3. Contact: Anything your hands come in contact with, including chemicals, high temperatures, and sharp edges, puts them at risk for injury. Because it involves a multitude of objects and situations, contact hazards cause most workplace mishaps.

Tip 2: Learn about hand safety policies in your workplace

Once you identify the different hazards you may be exposed to during your day, you’ll need to find a way to minimize the risk. Your employer should provide workplace safety training as an important component in knowing what steps to take. Hand safety training should include:

  1. Worker Education – Effective hand safety means having current and readily available documentation for equipment, work protocols, and emergency response. Training should also include learning the procedures for accurate injury reporting.
  2. Equipment Use – Beyond a manual, workers should be shown how to handle equipment they will use and be around. Physical safety guards or other emergency controls should be installed and inspected regularly.
  3. Supportive Staff – It’s essential that you and your co-workers are given the tools to succeed. This involves an administrative staff that supports a workplace culture of safety and helps minimize risks for everyone.

Tip 3: Choose and wear the correct hand protection apparel

OSHA reports that 70% of hand injuries occur when people are not wearing gloves. The same report says that for those workers who wear gloves, 30 percent of them don’t wear the right kind of glove for the task.

When using PPE for your hands, knowing the what, when, and how is particularly important.

  1. What type of glove is best for the work?
  2. When should the glove be used?
  3. How should the glove fit and be maintained?

Of course, the glove can’t work if it isn’t worn. A work environment that encourages glove compliance means:

  • Improved overall hand safety
  • Reduced rate of hand injuries
  • Reduction in costs related to hand injuries

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) offers downloadable guides on choosing hand protection. The guides follow the ANSI/ISEA (American National Standard for Performance and Classification) standards for impact and cut-resistant gloves.

Understanding the glove ratings is essential when choosing the correct level of hand protection needed for your workplace.

 

  • Levels A1, A2, A3 offer protection against scrapes.
  • Levels A4, A5, A6 offer protection against injuries for which stitches would be required.
  • Levels A7, A8, A9 offer protection against the most serious injuries.

Buying your gloves from a reputable supplier means you’ll have access to reliable products and customer support that can help you choose the best glove for your needs.

Tip 4: Take personal responsibility to prevent injuries

“You are your last line of defense in safety. It boils down to you.” — Kina Repp, workplace accident survivor and safety and motivational speaker

Kina Repp survived a serious workplace accident that resulted in the loss of not only her hand but her entire left arm. She now presents safety talks to employers and employees. Her message addresses the importance of training, safety procedures, and personal responsibility.

In Kina’s case, lack of experience which caused her to miscalculate the risks involved, was the major contributor to her accident. At the time, Kina also fell into the group that is statistically most at risk for injuries, new hires.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the good news about that statistic is that the longer employees are on the job, the lower the injury rates become.

However, unsafe behavior doesn’t always change because of experience or even as we grow older. Our behavior will only change if how we think, feel, believe, and prioritize our own personal safety changes.

You can show others that you value your personal safety and take responsibility for it at work by:

  1. Getting involved: Make safety a personal thing for you by being active in the overall safety of your company. That means being aware of and helping others avoid dangers. It also means reporting accidents and near-misses, so the company is made aware of any risks.
  2. Committing to learning: Read up on and learn your company’s safety procedures. They were created specifically for your environment to keep you safe. Often, they’ve considered past accidents and injuries so that you can learn from others’ mistakes injury-free!
  3. Displaying safe behavior: We often let those around us set the standards. If we see others not following the rules, it permits us to do the same. It is also true that we can do the opposite and positively influence workplace safety by displaying safer behavior.

A work environment that helps us avoid a hand injury is something we all should expect. But, ultimately, it’s up to us. By practicing these hand safety tips, you’ll not only protect yourself but those around you too.

For more information about hand safety and the gloves that can protect you, contact Liberty Gloves and Safety. Download our catalog and discover more of the PPE products we offer.

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