In any workplace, our hands are our most valuable tools, yet many of us fail to look after these assets with appropriate hand protection (PPE). Whilst some may think that any old glove will keep their digits from harm, using incorrect hand protection for specific tasks or environments can be just as dangerous as none at all.
Safety gloves come in many different styles and materials, with each one designed to protect the wearer from a very specific hazard. It is important to know the types of hazards and conditions that you are exposing yourself to and arming yourself with appropriate hand protection along with the rest of your PPE.
Given that there are so many different types of gloves, all with different protective factors, it can be confusing when you are faced with such a broad range of options. We have written this brief guide to give you the basic knowledge needed to make an informed decision on hand protection. As always, feel free to contact us and discuss your safety needs with one of our trained PPE specialists.
Abrasion Resistant Gloves
These gloves are specially made to protect your hands during abrasive conditions. Abrasion gloves can be made from fabric, leather or rubber. It is important to consider what conditions the gloves will be used in, for example, rubber would be best suited in damp/ wet conditions.
Cut Resistant Gloves
Cut resistance depends on materials you use and its thickness. Generally, the thicker the gloves are the better the protection will be. However, if the gloves are too thick it can reduce dexterity. It is important to find the right balance between protection and thickness.
Puncture Resistant Gloves
Puncture gloves are mostly made from epoxy plates or steel mesh which offer a consistent puncture resistance. However, steel mesh gloves' resistance decreases over time as the mesh breaks in. For full protection, purchase a pair that has full coverage on your fingers as well as your palms.
Anti-vibration gloves are made up of multiple padded layers that protect your hands against mild-to-intense palm vibrations. Look for a pair that provides full paddings on your entire palm as well as your fingers.
Heat Resistant Gloves
Heat resistant gloves are often thick and designed to withstand high temperatures. An important consideration to make is breathability of the gloves, a crucial factor for extended use. When your hands are trapped inside a thick pair of gloves with no ventilation, it can get very sweaty and uncomfortable.
Flame Resistant gloves
Similar to heat resistant protection, flame resistant gloves are constructed from a flame-retardant material, preventing them from igniting when exposed to open flame. As with all gloves, it is important to find a balance between adequate protection and comfort.
Chemical Resistant Gloves
Chemicals react differently to materials they come in contact with. You will not find a pair of gloves that can protect you against every chemical substance. For example, A pair of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) gloves would work well with glues and alcohols, but will not have any resistance to acids or caustics like a pair of Neoprene gloves. You will need to find out what chemicals are involved in your applications and purchase a suitable set of chemical resistant gloves to suit.