Partnership’s product to reduce injury risk commended for innovation

A glove designed to guard against an often overlooked but potentially life-changing workplace injury has won a prestigious industry award for innovation.

Developed as a result of a partnership between hand-protection specialist Polyco and industry stakeholders the Pirtek 4041P Fluid Injection Glove received a high commendation from the British Safety Industry Federation at its Product Innovation Awards announced at Safety & Health Expo on 21 June.

The glove helps protect wearers from one of the least understood but most destructive occupational injuries. Hydraulic injection occurs when the epidermis – usually on the palm of the hand, or pads of the fingers – is punctured by a jet of fluid under pressure. There is a risk to all those who operate or inspect pressurised hydraulic equipment, which is widely used in such industries as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, offshore and utilities.

Pressure from the fluid injected – which doesn’t have to be toxic or harmful in itself – can build up in the compartments of the hand and fingers, causing painful swelling and throbbing. If left untreated, the blood supply around the affected area will be compromised, leading to necrosis of the tissue and skin.

Hydraulic hose and pipe-fittings manufacturer Pirtek had been looking into ways to protect employees and those of the company’s 170+ franchises around the UK and Europe. Following research and testing by the company and the Health and Safety Laboratory, Pirtek approached a number of glove manufacturers with a view to developing a product that would mitigate the risk. Said the company’s health and safety manager, Martyn Smart: “Of those we spoke to, Polyco was the most enthusiastic and proactive. They suggested what turned out to be the right solution and facilitated the communication between the various parties involved.”

Polyco approached one of its key strategic partners, HexArmor, which produces SuperFabric® ? used in a number of Polyco’s cut and puncture-resistant gloves. The HSL tested the fabric for resistance to hydraulic fluid injection. The success of this led Polyco and HexArmor to develop the new glove for Pirtek, have it validated by SATRA and obtain a CE certificate for the product.
The Pirtek 4041P Fluid Injection Glove was made commercially available in October 2015 and is the only glove on the market to provide protection from hydraulic injection injury up to 700 bar (10,150 psi).

Speaking at the Product Innovation Awards ceremony, Alan Murray, BSIF CEO, said: “Delivering a first-class health and safety product or service is something that all of [the award-winners] have in common and we are delighted to be able to recognise this work. I would like to congratulate all of the winners, as their individual contribution is truly making a difference to the industry, ensuring we continue to innovate, improve safety for the end-user and provide exceptional service levels to the UK market.”

Polyco’s technical sales manager, Phil Vanes, commented: “We were able to draw on the knowledge and experience built up in our business to help bring this product to market. Ultimately, the parties involved all had the same aim – to reduce risks and protect people – and our respective contributions proved to be a winning combination.”

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For more than 35 years Polyco has been a pioneer in the design and delivery of premium products that help people work better and safer. Driven by the core principles of performance, quality and customer confidence Polyco is consistently bringing innovation to life through bold designs and advanced functionality.