IGA Does Not Need to Become a Regulatory Organization

As we approach the annual meeting of the International Glove Association (IGA), we believe the organization is in need of refocus. We believe strongly that it's time to shift efforts from creating new, independent cut resistance standards and glove qualification procedures, and instead concentrate on communicating the industry's unified voice to bring about more impactful standards within those organizations already recognized as filling those roles.

Cut injuries in American workplaces continue to occur at alarming rates, severely impacting the lives of injured workers and their families. This costs employers millions of dollars in health care and workers' compensation insurance expenditures and lost productivity.

Advanced safety procedures are well known. High-performance materials can be used to develop gloves that offer unprecedented cut protection combined with unmatched lightweight, cool-to-the-touch feel, and enhanced dexterity that add up to ultimate wearer comfort. Why then, do industry statistics continue to show that 70 percent of workplace hand and finger cuts happen to workers not wearing gloves at the time of the incident?

It is our view, and this opinion is shared by many manufacturers who use our material to create cut-resistant gloves, that existing cut standards – and too much reliance upon the "cut level numbers" these standards generate – often results in the selection of products that don't meet the real needs of workers at risk of injury. We agree existing standards have numerous shortcomings. But adding a separate voice outside the current system is not the answer. Developing entirely new standards and qualification procedures will only add confusion to a marketplace already unclear about how to select appropriate cut protection.

Even if an ideal system is developed, a great deal of effort must be expended to gain traction for standards coming from a new, unfamiliar source. It is far preferable to focus the power of the glove industry's voice on improving the standards set by the already recognized experts and on helping to provide clarity to those in charge of safety decisions regarding what is important when selecting hand protection.

Matt Reid is the marketing manager for DSM Dyneema and an IGA board member.

Posted by Matt Reid on Mar 06, 2015