Canadian Occupational Safety

January/February 2021

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 13 of 47

14 F E A T U R E 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 • 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 "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." Kwan Lo 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. DIFFERENT KINDS OF DISPOSABLE GLOVES Source: Nitrile gloves used in health care, food prep, tattoo parlours, etc. Latex gloves used in health care, dental, salons/spas, maintenance/janitorial, etc. Vinyl gloves used in food prep, janitorial Poly gloves used in food prep, deli counters

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