Kounis Metal Industries
Kounis Metal Industries
Manufacturing icon slashes cut injuries
Sheet metal manufacturer says equipment trials, communication and the alignment of every task to the appropriate PPE is the key to improving safety performance.
For more than 60 years, West Australian manufacturer Kounis Metal Industries has been supplying sheet metal products for mining and commercial construction projects.
Central to the company’s success has been the special emphasis it places on safety. “Occupational Health and Safety is integral to our vision and values,” said safety consultant for Kounis, Jennifer Butler. “We have more than 150 operators working in fabrication and electrical assembly, and in the fit shops, paint shop, despatch and transport areas - so safety is always our top priority”.
“We work with sharp objects and hazardous substances so protection against cut and piercing injuries and chemical exposure is critical. Choosing the correct PPE for each task is essential and we’re grateful for the guidance provided by Ansell in this area. They have a huge range of safety gloves to choose from and they help us identify the type of protection we need for each task.
This collaborative approach has led to a 50 percent reduction in cut injuries. “When it comes to safety, sometimes you only get one chance and we would rather be proactive than reactive”, added Jennifer. “We have managed to halve our injury rate simply by choosing the correct glove for each task.”
“For example, the Ansell HyFlex® 11-624 is ideal for warehouse work. It offers advanced (ANSI 2) cut resistance for handling sharp objects, and provides a bare-hand like sensation for workers operating machinery and equipment. The tight fit is essential for avoiding entanglement within machine areas. The excellent dexterity, comfort and breathability also mean operators don’t sweat in the gloves so there are no dermatitis issues.
“We chose the Ansell ChemTek™ 38-514 for weld cure as it provides the best resistance to the most aggressive chemicals without compromising dexterity or comfort. It also has that extra-long length hand protection and less risk of allergies due to the absence of latex. We also use Ansell’s AlphaTec® 58-530 and AlphaTec® 58-535 for superior grip and chemical resistance, especially on oily surfaces.”
The company says it uses Ansell’s ActivArmr® 97-001 Electrician Gloves in electrical assembly areas because it provides full protection against wire punctures, cuts and abrasions. “Our electrical teams spend hours wiring units so they need a bare-handed feel. The gloves have an adjustable wrist closure for comfort as well as an ID nameplate, which is good for hygiene”, explained Jennifer.
“Kounis Metal Industries conducted glove trials on site with the various brands across all PPE. We also came up with a photo-based matrix to help workers, supervisors and managers quickly pinpoint the appropriate PPE for each task, and to easily understand how to use each item. “Visual displays are more meaningful than theory. They save valuable time and they also help when there is a language barrier”, said Jennifer.
“We decided to use Ansell gloves throughout our operation after conducting extensive field trials and evaluating staff feedback. The Ansell range is very popular and we’re hearing a lot of positive comments. The operators claim the gloves are so comfortable that people forget to take them off sometimes! Our main focus is the ease with which our workers can use the PPE. If it’s easy to use, they’ll use it properly and keep using it.
“Everyone is under pressure to adhere to a budget these days and we would be lying to say we don’t try to save money where we can, like any business. But we’ve found Ansell delivers excellent quality for the price. Going for cheaper options can put staff at risk and, if we have to replace gloves more often due to quality issues, it can end up costing a lot more.
“Ansell has earned their name in protection. With Ansell, you definitely get what you pay for. It’s a small price to pay for less lost time, more productivity and a good safety record”, concluded Jennifer.
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