How to Choose the Correct Safety Gloves
Gone are the days when rigger’s gloves were the preferred hand protection on site with technology advances meaning specific gloves increasingly provide specific protection for an application.
Brad Rodgers, ProChoice Safety Gear product development manager said the company has 95 different types of safety gloves – each with its own range of sizes – providing protection designed for every range of application and condition.
“Some safety gloves focus on cut resistance while others focus on dexterity, feeling or grip in certain conditions – whether wet, oily or dry,” Rodgers said.
“Riggers provide very little grip in wet or oily conditions, very limited cut resistance and reduced dexterity. What they do provide is very good wear and very good abrasion resistance for handling bricks etcetera.“
“We have a range of different glove categories: welding, chemical resistance, cut resistance and within those levels of protection you have different dips, different styles and different linings,” he said.
However with so many types of gloves on the market choosing the correct one can be an overwhelming task.
Adding to the frustration is a lack of regulation on cut protective gloves in Australia and differing European and American cut protection standards.
Identify the Risks:
Rodgers described the first step in identifying the right gloves (or any other PPE) as conducting a risk assessment on the application.
“Identify the hazards. Is there a risk of cut? A risk of impact? A risk of pinch? Are there any other environmental hazards such as water, heat or oil? Then look at what duration they will be using the glove for.”
“Sometimes they might need to wear two gloves at once to get the job done safely,” he said.
Rodgers also described the importance of assessing whether a glove liner was needed; whether a cotton liner to provide warmth, absorb sweat and prolong the life of outer gloves or latex liners to provide an additional barrier to moisture, blood or oil.
However he also warned that using a glove liner or wearing multiple gloves can affect grip and dexterity, and that it is essential gloves fit well and be comfortable so as to encourage wear.
Other factors that should influence glove decision are material composition and weave as well as any coatings applied. Materials such as Dyneema, Kevlar, steel and ProChoice’s proprietary Arax® thread are specifically designed to provide cut resistance, while the addition of coatings such as rubber dips provide further protection.
Modern technology has also enabled more advanced gloves to retain feeling without compromising cut resistance, with many of the Arax® range containing ProChoice’s Bare Hand Technology (BHT).
“A glove with minimal dexterity and feeling may actually increase the dangers when working on applications that require a fine touch,” Rodgers said.
Given the complexity of choice, ProChoice offers assistance in the selection of PPE.
“We come out to site and do an assessment of tasks, identify the risks and build a report on what products we think are going to reduce the hazards,” Rodgers said, adding that they also offer Toolbox Talks to educate workers as to how and why they are wearing PPE.
However he stressed that PPE is the last line of defence and the Heirarchy of Control should always be referred to.
“Look at other ways of reducing the risk first,” he said.