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In the spotlight with Arkadiusz Plaskowicki

20 March 2023

This month we put Unigloves' Arkadiusz Plaskowicki in the spotlight to find out his thoughts on the world of health and safety.

How did you get into the health and safety industry?

I started my health and safety industry career in 2009 with Marigold Industrial as territory sales manager Eastern Europe, after graduating from Universität Trier in Germany.

Marigold Industrial was the B2B version of the famous Marigold household glove. It was owned by Comasec SAS and sold to Ansell in late 2012 when I held the position of sales director Eastern Europe, Russia & Ukraine.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The fact that I'm involved in and have an influence on peoples' safety. At Unigloves, we are focused on our end users' needs and like to work with them in providing hand and arm protection solutions to help protect their workers' hands.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facinthe health and safety industry in the UK?

I think one of the biggest challenges facing the health and safety industry is one that has lived within the industry for many years - and that is the human and environmental factors.

People today are far more tuned into personal welfare and well-being - and the issue of mental health has come to the fore, particularly since Covid, which has been a positive step. 

But health and safety is still not an exact science - especially when it comes to the workplace - and in particular hazardous workplaces such as building, agriculture and manufacturing where you cannot control every aspect of the workplace by engineering out all risks - especially given the nature of the work and the environments it is undertaken in.  

It was interesting to see the results of the recent research report from the European division of Intelex Technologies, which revealed the top six most common challenges faced in health and safety:

  • Employee participation in H&S initiatives (41%)

  • Employee education and training (33%)

  • Difficulties around implementing a culture of safety (32%)

  • Incident prevention (31%)

  • Lack of proper technology (29%)

  • Compliance with regulations (28%)

When you look at the top three challenges within that research, you see the human factor directly linked to each.  

So, I think this remains a significant health and safety industry challenge.

How do you thinthese challenges can be overcome?

Education, education education - striving to drive home the benefits of accident avoidance twinned with the use of appropriate PPE where hazards exist and fundamentally, getting that buy in from all workers through training, and greater understanding that in many cases their own safety and well being is in their own hands.

You cannot chaperone or shadow everyone in a workplace to monitor their every movement, so giving them the tools, education and understanding combined with investment in accident prevention, hazard analysis and understanding and appropriate PPE provision is essential.

What sets Unigloves apart from its competitors?

We are driven by passion, experience and expertise in everything we do. Our team is on a collective mission to support our customers and we have a focus on hand and arm protection and hand health. We are not a company with many different lines and types of PPE, so we can offer our customers a level of expertise, knowledge and support in this area that many companies cannot.

What are your most memorable successes at Unigloves?

I don’t believe it has been just one memorable thing, but our transition from a manufacturer of single use gloves (albeit with a wide range of single use solutions) to becoming a responsible hand & arm protection manufacturer, providing a wide range of single use and mechanical hand and arm protection solutions.

The breadth of the quality and range of solutions combined with the growth of the team and the introduction of innovative solutions such as BioTouch - our biodegradable nitrile gloves - has been a real success which is continuing to grow through our vision to support our customers throughout every stage of the hand protection process.

One example of this is the fact we have become a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (one of only 77 companies in the UK), which aims to promote respect for workers' rights around the globe. 

What's next in the product pipeline for Unigloves?

I think you will see us building on strengths, extending our Nitrex industrial protective gloves range further with new additions and continuing to incorporate environmental factors where we can, just watch this space!

What's your vision for the future of Unigloves?

To continue to build on what we have created through our vision to grow responsibly and with the needs of our customers in mind.   

Our growth and success are all about understanding End Users' needs, anticipating how those needs will evolve in the future, and focusing on using our in-house manufacturing technology to find new and better ways to protect hands. 

We are collectively working towards our ultimate vision of becoming the leading and most responsible hand protection manufacturer in the world.

What do you thinthe medium-term future holds for the safety industry globally?

I think harmonisation will become a growing issue in the coming years. Of quality standards, of legislation, of understanding of the importance of protecting workers against the hazards they face - no matter where in the works they will face them.

Material and solutions Innovation will be an exciting space to watch develop and of course, you cannot get away from the digitalisation, automation and AI discussions. But certainly, in the medium term, our focus will be on working collaboratively with customers to improve and increase the safety of their workers.

What health and safety issues are you most passionate about?

As I have said, our team are extremely passionate about supporting our customers to achieve the highest levels of safety they can when it comes to a hand protection perspective for their staff. This is a collective approach and there is a great buzz within the team here at Unigloves. We are all on a really exciting journey - a shared journey built on an ethos of support and delivering high-quality standards and solutions across every aspect of the business. 

This is my passion - to support our teams to achieve our goals.

How can we entice more young talent to work in the health and safety sector?

I feel the health and safety culture is changing and changing for the better. Those companies that are getting it right are weaving health and safety into every aspect of their organisation - it's in their ethos. It's not a bolt-on 'we got to do this and through gritted teeth', which for many years there was a real sense that it was like this. Health and safety almost seemed to get in the way of people working efficiently. 

Today attitudes are changing and health and safety is increasingly part of the ethos of organisations. I think this will make the industry more appealing as when you consider not just health and safety but well-being and health, you can drive direct correlations between an organisation's profitability, efficiency and effectiveness and the health of its workforce. This has changed the perspective and views of health and safety as a profession that can play a positive and cultural aspect in the business and its operations. It will make the industry more appealing to younger talent who can contribute to an organisation's wider aspects.

Arkadiusz Plaskowicki is sales director, Europe, UK & Ireland at Unigloves. For more information, visit www.unigloves.co.uk