How to Motivate Employees to Wear Their Gloves

During a visit to a sheet metal plant, I noticed that many workers were not wearing gloves, despite the fact that they were handling sharp edges all day. While I was there, I witnessed a guy in his mid-fifties get slashed by a large piece of metal.

When I inquired as to why he was not wearing gloves, he stated, “I do not require them.” When I’m slashed, I simply apply crazy glue and gaffer tape.” He raised his hands, which were covered in scars, calluses, and a few burns.

My job is to supply firms with suitable safety gloves, therefore it’s disturbing when I see workers without their gloves. However, I do not always hold workers accountable for not wearing gloves. Frequently, their gloves are simply too cumbersome or uncomfortable to wear.

You can get the best gloves in the world, but they will be meaningless if they are not used. If you want your employees to really wear their gloves, you must consider two sometimes disregarded considerations when choosing gloves: the trouble factor and the discomfort issue.


When it comes to safety, inconvenience matters—much more than you may believe.

One of our clients recognised that his business was overspending on gloves and implemented a procedure improvement. Rather than placing boxes of new gloves on the floor for employees to take, he required them to approach their supervisors when they required a replacement pair.

Hand injury rates immediately increased. Additionally, prices grew as a result of increased medical expenses, missed time, and insurance rates. After a year, management abandoned the programme and began redistributing large boxes of gloves over the manufacturing floor.

Individuals will accept just a certain amount of inconvenience. When gloves become too cumbersome to wear, workers will just forego them. Rather than blaming employees, strive to reduce as much inconvenience as possible.

By placing a barrel of gloves five feet away from employees rather than twenty feet away, you can reduce injury rates.

By displaying specialised gloves on glove boards that are clearly labelled according to task, workers may choose the correct glove 90% of the time.

By offering clips that allow workers to conveniently access their gloves when not in use, and are easily accessible, you can improve glove utilisation by a factor of 10.


One of my safety consultants spent a day conducting observations at a client’s manufacturing facility. She repeatedly saw one remarkable behaviour: workers removing their gloves to conduct their tasks and then re-putting them on afterwards.

Why? Because the gloves were too warm, too sweaty, and too large for the job. Probably, the workers were unaware of the absurdity of their actions—it was simply instinctive due to the discomfort of the gloves.

Each safety manager must ask themselves—or, more precisely, ask the workers: Beyond the inconvenience, how much discomfort will an individual tolerate to be safe while performing this job?

Gloves that are comfortable to wear are those that are neither too bulky nor too hot for the climate. They are gloves that are replaced or laundered on a regular basis to keep them odor-free. They’re gloves that provide the necessary level of protection rather than going overboard to cover management’s arse.


Bear in mind:  gloves provide no protection if they are not worn.

When giving gloves to your employees, it is critical that the gloves provide enough protection against all other hazards your employees may encounter. However, it is equally crucial to ensure that the gloves are easily accessible and pleasant to wear.

Of course, training is important in terms of discomfort and inconvenience. Psychologies are malleable. However, management’s ultimate responsibility is to supply equipment that people will actually use. If your employees are not wearing their gloves, it is your responsibility to take action. Rather than slamming your head against the wall in an attempt to coerce workers into wearing inconvenient, uncomfortable gloves, simply improve the gloves’ comfort and convenience of use.

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