Glass plants can be dangerous places to work, combining the hazards of any manufacturing environment—the forklifts, ladders, and busy aisles—with a heavy, difficult-to-handle and very breakable material. As highlighted in the International Labour Organization Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety, the main risks for professionals working in the glass manufacturing sector are cuts, lacerations and soft tissues puncture wounds, all of which are most commonly the result of contact with sharp glass, broken glass and even cutting tools. Kozane®’s award-winning design team has created a curated, trialled, and tested range of cut-resistant garments for the glass sector. The Kozane® Range of Protective Garments was created due to continuous demand from our customers for high cut resistance and elevated comfort, developed to not only protect from cut injuries but also to offer unmatched comfort for the wearer.
Safety Challenges in the Glass Sector
Having worked with companies in the glass industry for many years, we know that manual handling is often unavoidable and that accidents can occur despite comprehensive safety measures and training for staff. Whether you manufacture flat glass or operate a bottling plant, tasks such as selecting and moving stock, laying materials on a bench for cutting, unloading glass sheets from containers and vehicles, or placing products in racks ready for dispatch, pose a high risk to workers.
“Other industries are handling product and raw materials that aren’t as dangerous as glass,” says Mike Burk, chair of the Glass Safety Awareness Council for the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance, and North American technical representative for Sparklike. “Glass is so much more fragile than what most people in manufacturing handle. It is much more dense, heavier than you think it will be.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the glass manufacturing industry reports higher-than-average incidence rates for workplace injuries and fatalities. In 2015, the flat glass manufacturing segment reported an incidence rate of 5.7 injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time workers, according to the BLS.
Over a third of all injuries in the UK glass industry are caused by moving, lifting, and carrying (RIDDOR, 2019), while in the US, nearly 20% of all injuries in glass and glass product manufacturing involve a cut, laceration, or puncture (US Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2018).
Historically, most cut-resistant garments on the market are bulky, use heavy, non-breathable materials, they are too expensive, uncomfortable and use problematic fibre composition (ex: glass fibre is harmful if ingested and can irritate the skin, Kevlar fibres degrade with UV and moisture exposure). With the right PPE, you can avoid accidental injuries, keeping workers safe and saving your company both time and money.
The Right PPE for Glass Workers
When it comes to cut-resistant PPE, knowing the level of cut resistance that is right for your work environment will help ensure your safety and protection. In doing so, understanding the levels of cut resistance for PPE and the global standards is paramount. There are two prominent standards determining the cut resistance level:
- The European (EU) standard, EN 388:2016
- The American standard, ANSI/ISEA 105-2016
For EN 388:2016, you can categorize hazard exposure, as low, moderate, and high or extreme, with cut levels from A (the lowest) to F (the highest) – recommended for industries such as glass manufacturing where exposure to cuts, lacerations, and punctures is high and extreme.
As for the ANSI standard, mostly used in the USA and Canada, protection levels range from A1 (the lowest) to A9 (the highest). PPE with cut resistance levels of A3 and below have applications where the cut risk is lower, such as assembly, warehouse work, and general handling. However, for applications where the risk of cuts and lacerations is higher and sometimes extreme, we recommend a cut resistance level of minimum ANSI A8, for industries such as handling glass sheets and glass manufacturing.
Why We Chose Kozane® Extreme
Over time, we have developed over 60 high-performance fabrics in the Kozane® range. For the Kozane® Range of Protective Garments we chose to incorporate the unparalleled Kozane® Extreme fabric (EN388:2016 Level F and ANSI A8 cut resistance), the ideal combination between outstanding levels of protection and comfortability, making it perfect for cut-resistant garments in high-risk industries. The unique three-dimensional knitted fabric combines a high-performance top layer which effectively prevents injuries from severe cuts and lacerations, with a soft polyester bottom layer for optimum comfort and protection.
Kozane® Extreme is stronger and lighter than traditional aramid fibres, such as Kevlar, Twaron and Nomex, and it continues to perform even when wet or exposed to ultraviolet light. Its multi-layered composition prevents or minimizes a wide range of dangers in hazardous environments. It protects against cuts and lacerations while simultaneously offering high levels of abrasion, tear, and puncture resistance. It is also the most lightweight cut-resistant fabric of its class, vital for repetitive, manual tasks and working in warm conditions. As such, garments utilizing this technology benefit from both increased safety and longevity.
Tested in action – KOZANE® CUT-RESISTANT HI-VIS SWEATER
Designed in collaboration with a global glass manufacturer, trialled and tested in their UK plant, the KOZANE® CUT-RESISTANT HI-VIS SWEATER was made to offer the highest possible cut resistance in combination with breathability and comfort, as well as high visibility for extra protection.
The garment is suitable for hot work environments (for example the furnace area) offering cut protection on the neck, arms, shoulders, abdomen, and chest. The thumb loops help with a better fit, and on the back, it features a breathable, durable mesh. Combining the protective areas with strategic breathable areas, the result is a cleverly designed, comfortable sweatshirt, designed to effectively minimise cut injuries, offering unbeatable cut, tear, puncture, and abrasion resistance, and ensuring that both your workers and your company’s reputation are always safe.
Other protective garments in the Kozane® range include:
- Arm guards
- Crewneck shirts
The US National Glass Association (NGA) recommends cut-resistant PPE, stating that: “Cut-resistant PPE is critical, particularly in the areas of the body where major arteries would render a cut most harmful. These areas include the neck, upper under arm, upper inside leg, and wrist.”
With cut-resistant garments for the glass industry made from Kozane®, business owners can avoid worker injury and the subsequent loss of income through sick-days, legal action, and reputation damage. Accidents will happen, but injuries don’t have to.
If you are as passionate as we are about worker safety, then contact KozaneⓇ’s dedicated representative, Eve Lamb, on +44 (0)7599 546 566 or reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.