Each year more than one million workers are sent to the hospital for emergency care due to hand injuries. Over 70% of employees who wind up in the emergency room with injured hands are found to have not been wearing gloves. These accidents are the second highest leading in work-related injuries. Read on to learn about safety gloves.
What Is A Safety Glove?
A safety glove is a piece of personal protection equipment, or PPE, worn by workers to protect their hands from injuries at the workplace. Some of these gloves provide protection from amputations, abrasions, cuts, bruises, friction blisters, splinters, burns, chemicals, and disease. Studies have shown that workers who wear gloves are 60% less likely to experience hand injuries.
Who Wears Safety Gloves?
Work gloves are intended to suit a variety of workers. What is used in their construction depends primarily on the needs of specific employees. These gloves offer different functionality to their wearers. Safety gloves can benefit many workers in multiple fields. Loggers, welders, manufacturing, industrial, farmers, medical personnel, to name a few.
Safety Glove Types
• Durable work gloves made of metal mesh, leather or canvas.
• Fabric and coated fabric made gloves.
• Liquid and Chemical resistant gloves.
• Insulated rubber gloves.
Full Metal Mesh, Canvas Gloves, or Leather
Solidly built gloves made of canvas, leather or metal mesh will provide a barrier against burns, sustained heat, offers protection from cuts!
Offer protection against rough objects, sparks, chips, and moderate heat. Welders require high quality durable leather.
Provide insulating protection against heat and reflective! typically used for foundry work, welding, and furnace! usually require an insert made of materials, synthetic primarily, that protect against heat and cold!
Aramid Fiber Gloves
Aramid material is synthetic and protects against cold and heat. Aramid fiber is used by glove manufacturers to make gloves cut and abrasion defensive.!
Synthetic Materials Others
Other synthetic fabrics offer protection against thermal cold and heat. Abrasion and cut resistant. Can protect against some weak acids. Not intended for solvents or alkalis!
Fabric and Coated Fabric Gloves
Cotton and other light fabrics protect mildly against chafing, blisters,slivers, and dirt. Not for use with sharp or rough materials.!
Liquid and Chemical Resistant Gloves
Synthetics like neoprene, or Rubber, plastic, offer protection from dermatitis, burns, and irritation, caused by contact solvents, oils, and other chemicals! Also reduces the risks of exposure to secretions, bodily fluids, and blood!
Protect against red fuming nitric acid, rocket fuels, peroxide, sulfuric acid, hydrofluoric acid, nitric acid, and hydrofluoric acid. Abrasion resistant and
flexible at lower temperatures!
Rubber and Natural Latex Gloves
Pliable, form fitting comfortably, mildly protective. Can resist some abrasions from polishing, sandblasting, and grinding. Provides barrier to ketones, salts, alkalis, and water solution acids.!
Tear resistant protection from alcohols, organic acids, alkalis, gasoline, and hydraulic fluid.Offers good range of motion and dexterity.
Nitrile Rubber Gloves
Protection from perchloroethylene, and other chlorinated solvents, like trichloroethylene. Dexterity with increased sensitivity. Abrasion, tear, and snag resistant.
Anti-vibration gloves were created to protect you from a condition known as HAVS, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. This condition is brought on by being subjected to heavy, violent vibration repeatedly over time. This is most closely tied to the prolonged use of heavy power equipment and tools. This disorder is classified as a secondary form of Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Prime example of tools and equipment that cause HAVS are:
- Impact Wrenches
- Pneumatic Drills
- Power Drills
Workers who develop HAVS first notice it in their fingers. They usually describe the early symptoms as a pins and needles sensation or numbing. The symptoms may come and go and may move to other areas of the hand or forearms. The condition continues to progress without preventive protection.
This debilitating syndrome can affect the muscles and nerves, eventually causing complete loss of sensation. Dexterity slowly degrades, and as the condition continues to worsen, severe pain sets in. The pain is often exacerbated by cold weather. Everyday tasks requiring the use of fine motor skills become difficult if not impossible to most. The simple act of trying to button a shirt or pants becomes a struggle.
A physician should be seen immediately by anyone experiencing this degenerative disease. A change in habits is necessary to combat HAVS. It is recommended that frequencies between 50 and 150 Hz be avoided if possible, and when exposed to them anti-vibration gloves should be worn at all times to help and absorb the harmful vibration.
Advances In Polymers Gloves
Many materials that used to be used in the making of safety gloves such as synthetics, leather, and cottons, have been replaced with polymers and engineered fabrics. In gloves of traditional construction, coatings are used to add strength, durability, and resistance. In some applications the polymers are used to add protection from lacerations, and slip risks. Others are intended to resist chemicals that require a barrier. Innovational modern technology has lead to many improvements in the work gloves laborers so heavily depend upon for their safety.
Chemical-resistant gloves guard against harmful, dust, fibers, toxic liquids, gases, and biohazards. They help protect the hands from burns from chemical exposure, toxin leaching which can cause long term neurological disorders, and contact dermatitis. Gloves come in varieties, as do applications, so it’s important for you to check the recommended usage specifics for the tasks you plan on engaging in. Often times the best source for detailed and thorough details is the manufacturer themselves. The manufacturer can offer specific information as to exposure time risk factor when dealing with hazardous materials.
The workplace is rife with hazards, and while an employer can encourage you to exercise caution and wear PPE, ultimately the decision to do so rests with you. Wearing safety gloves is one proactive and cost-effective step you can take in the battle to stay safe. Many times employers will cover the expense of the gloves, and when they don’t the I.R.S. sometimes allows you to receive a deduction for any expense you occur in purchasing protective hand gear. With so many advances in glove manufacturing, from improved function to increased comfort, there are lots of reasons to give safety a try. The greatest reason by far is accidents can cause permanent loss of limb and use. As careful as you may think you are, accidents happen. Nobody plans for them, if they did they’d be called on purposes and not accidents. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.