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Even though OSHA regulations require industrial work gloves be worn in hazardous areas, hand injuries still occur. The most common hand injuries are:
· Lacerations or cuts to the hands
· Amputation of a hand or the hands
· Loss of a finger
· Burns either by chemicals or fire
· Broken pieces of material become lodged into the hand
· Crush injuries resulting in broken bones
When it comes to hard work, leather has long been the glove of choice for workers of every description. Leather gloves can stand up to a tough job by providing cushioning from blows, protection from rough objects, sparks and heat. Leather gloves can be found in cowhide, split cowhide, and goat leather. All provide comfort, durability, dexterity, mild heat resistance and abrasion protection. Most gloves now-a-day's are made overseas and imported into the United States.
Industrial work gloves come in different materials, patterns and sizes and cuff styles. Here are some suggestions on how to select the best glove for your needs. Cotton gloves are used for the everyday tasks and usually are the best for protecting the worker's hands from dirt. Hot Mill and some double palm cotton gloves can also protect from low level heat. Inspection Gloves are used for the protection of products from oils in the skin. Knitted gloves are generally more comfortable than canvas gloves and work well as all-purpose lightweight glove. For protection from rough objects, sparks, heat and for cushioning from blows in heavy duty work requirements Leather Gloves provide comfort, durability, dexterity, mild heat resistance and abrasion protection. These advantages make leather a traditional favorite for industrial workers.
A proper hand protection program is necessary to ensure employees are informed in the proper ways to insert and remove their safety gloves, and to safely and efficiently perform tasks.
The type of “Hand Protection Program,” which is implemented will depend on the type of machinery or area involved. Some employers opt to use a DVD to train employees on the proper use of safety work gloves, while another company would prefer a live demonstration from the manufacturer of the work gloves. However, the combination of these methods, brochures and other literature on hand safety would be the ideal way to educate employees about protecting their hands.
The first step in eliminating hazards to the arms, hands, and wrists is education. The employees need to be informed of the proper way to operate a machine, and what to do in case there is a problem. This could include proper instruction on areas not to touch on the machinery without industrial work gloves, as well as proper placement of the hands to ensure they are not injured.
Another way in which hazards can be eliminated is to have the facility inspected privately to determine areas, which might be a hazardous to the worker, and increases their risk of receiving injury to the hand.
Like all other items used for industrial protection, industrial safety work gloves have to be properly fitted to ensure maximum hand protection.
When ordering your new work gloves, the measurement of your hand must be taken. To do this, place the measuring tape around widest part of the hand and record this measurement.
The second measurement to take would be the length of your hand. This measurement is achieved by measuring from the middle finger, which is usually the longest, to the beginning of the wrists. Use these measurements to check the manufacturer's recommendation on the size of glove to order.
If your work glove will have special features such as knitted cuff, it is also a good idea to measure the circumference of your wrists as well.
As most everybody knows, the chemicals in most household drain cleaners are quite harsh, and can do a job on your skin. They need to be harsh, of course, to break up all that gunk that's blocking your drain. Before you start your controlled chemical spill, read the instructions on the bottle. You will see that you will need to wear both gloves and eye protection. To be on the safe side, use safety work gloves made from nitrile or neoprene, such as can be found in the cleaning section of your supermarket or do-it-yourself-store.
Many hazards exists which your hands should be protected from. These hazards might be well known such as a sharp object, or less obvious such as a chemical. The type of hazards industrial work gloves might be subjected to can be grouped together into chemical, mechanical, or thermal hazards.
A mechanical hazard will occur more often in the manufacturing or construction industry. Safety work gloves, for example the Mechanix gloves, will be needed to offer hand protection during lifting, cutting, or handling machinery.
Chemical hazards are a problem regardless of what industry an employee might be working in. Depending on the material of the work glove and the chemical spilled, it is possible to receive the least or maximum amount of protection for your hands. However, chemicals are not only a hazard because they spill or splash, but vapors or fumes from them can irritate unprotected skin.
As the name implies, thermal hazards involve changes in temperature. For example, a welder would need to have safety gloves that can withstand high heat, whereas someone removing items from a freezer would need maximum protection from frostbite and the cold temperature.
During the hand protection education program, an employee or worker should be taught how to check their industrial work gloves for signs they need to be replaced.
These signs could include frayed edges, tears or holes within leather work gloves, or a decreased or torn lining. Employees should know the importance of inspecting their gloves every time they put them on. It is also suggested employees be informed of the process of receiving new work gloves if supplied by work.
There are numerous features, or additional characteristics, to consider when purchasing new industrial work gloves. One of the first items to consider on your work gloves is the cuff design. A glove with rolled cuffs will only be used in certain areas and might not protect the skin, whereas gloves with knitted or safety cuffs will protect the wrists from various types of hazards.
Grip design is one feature to consider as an additional characteristic of work gloves. The grip design is very essential when working in areas where dexterity is important, and a strong grip can prevent accidents or spills.
Lastly, another characteristic of gloves would be the absence or presence of an inner glove lining. “Lined” gloves are better suited for dealing with thermal hazards.
Depending on the area you, and the type of safety work gloves utilized, removing them the correct way is essential. To remove your disposable gloves:
· Use one gloved hand to start pulling away the glove on the other hand, by holding a “pinched” section of the glove. It is very important the outside of the glove does not touch your skin.
· Using this pinched section or fold in the glove, pull the glove upwards and away from your fingers.
· Continue to hold the first removed glove in the gloved hand.
· The glove from the other hand can be removed by placing either your thumb or forefinger between the glove and the skin at your wrist.
· Use your finger to pull the glove upwards over the fingers while turning the glove “inside out,” and wrapping it around the first glove.
· From this point, it is just a matter of disposing the gloves into the proper container.
Latex “rubber” gloves have been a mainstay for doctors, dentists and lab workers for generations. They are lightweight, flexible, durable and easy to use. Unfortunately, they also cause skin problems for many. So manufacturers developed an alternative made from a substance called nitrile, which is a derivative of (gulp!) cyanide. Not to worry, however. Scientists assure us that nitrile is much less toxic than those chemical bad boys sodium and potassium cyanide. But seriously, nitrile gloves are less likely to cause you to break out in a rash, and are just as safe, strong, stretchable, and sensitive as latex.
I know what you are thinking. I'm too tough to wear safety work gloves on the job. Well, your family might not like your Paul Bunyan scratchy hands. There are literally hundreds of work gloves out there to fit your needs, and a wide variety of newer and more comfortable cotton and nylon lined work gloves.
One of my favorite gloves is the nylon glove with a PVC coated palm. They are soft, breathable, and are curved to fit your hand. I also noticed some cotton work gloves with a college logo printed on them.
Don't forget to check out the Glove-guards. These are little clips that attach your gloves to your belt loop. Do yourself a favor and wear a good pair of gloves on the job. Your family will appreciate it.
When choosing work gloves, reflect on the characteristics the work gloves should possess, rather than choosing one based on its price tag. However, this does not mean the price should not be considered at all, but rather know buying quality gloves might costs a little more.
The material the work glove is manufactured from will also be a factor in determining how strong a work glove is, and how much protection it can offer you. This is reflected in the hazards a work glove will deal with, and is something to think about. For example, a latex disposable glove will be useless at offering hand protection when using chemicals with the potential to spill or splash. A stronger glove made of rubber material, or a leather work glove would be better.
Another factor to consider when choosing industrial work gloves is the type of work the glove is reserved for. A glove made of a material easily broken down, or not able to withstand “wear and tear,” would be of little value in the construction industry. Whereas a pair of gloves made of a durable material would be better. Therefore, do not only consider the price, but the field of work and the hazards available.
When you don't know what kind of chemical mess your hands are getting into, reach for a pair of Nitrile work gloves. This synthetic glove offers ideal resistance to many hazardous chemicals and chemical solvents; resists cutting and punctures and provides flexibility. Nitrile gloves can handle a wide range of temperatures against caustics, oils, kerosene, turpentine, greases, herbicides, pesticides, acids, naphtha and alcohol. These hard working gloves are used by farmers, landscapers, commercial cleaning people, painters and maintenance workers. Anybody who wants to protect their hands from chemical attack.
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI), and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), have published the standard entitled, “American National Standard for Hand Protection Selection Criteria,” or ANSI/ISEA 105-2005.
As a revision to the previous standard published in 2000, the ANSI and the ISEA have released the main criteria to determine how well a work glove will protect your hands.
Two new guidelines were added to the revised standard. The first guideline outlined the process in which to choose a safety glove for tasks involving vibration to the hand or wrists. The second guideline, added to the revised standard, can be used to select gloves to deal with biohazards or radiation.
The ISEA has been operational in the United States since 1933, and members of the association manufacture safety equipment to almost every industry.
Mechanix gloves started off as the glove of choice for Daytona pit crews in 1992. Since then, the company has become has become a leader of safety gloves for the race car industry, providing hand protection for numerous NASCAR teams as well as other motor sports teams. Today, Mechanix gloves not only provide hand protection for the racing industry, but mechanics use these gloves, as well. Their line of gloves is also practical for the construction industry, industrial applications, and military. Mechanix even has a line of gloves designed specifically for women. More recently, Mechanix Gloves have made their way into the home improvement industry. Mechanix Gloves are the official gloves of the show, “DIY to the Rescue”, on DIY and HGTV networks.
Leather work gloves can provide you the hand protection you need whether you're hauling debris at the construction site or operating heavy machinery. They can provide you with everything from warmth during cold weather work days to comfort and protection while engaging in your daily tasks. There are leather work gloves available for just about every type of work environment. Here are some of them.
Pigskin-Lined Leather Work Gloves – Where climate conditions can bring in severe cold weather, pigskin-lined leather gloves offer you a supple layer of protection with an added layer of warmth through an internal fleece lining. These gloves are suitable for a wide range of applications from the construction industry to agricultural applications.
Cowhide leather work gloves – If you're looking for a more economical version of the pigskin-lined leather work gloves, the cowhide versions provide a more affordable alternative. Cowhide leather work gloves come in lined and unlined versions so you can pick based on your climate needs. Use these gloves for everything from lifting heavy equipment to agricultural work.
Multi-task Leather Work Gloves – If you're looking for a solution for hand protection based on a specific task, the multi-task leather work gloves can provide what you need. These gloves are available in a variety of materials such as cowhide, deer hide and goatskin. You'll find them with features like elasticized wrists for a stay-put fit and 3M Tape for high visibility. Fingerless versions work well for assembly line work. Insulated versions provide cold weather warmth. And double-leather palms give an added buffer from handling abrasive materials.
If you're in the construction industry, agricultural business, or a related field, you need heavy-duty work gloves to provide protection to your hands. Industrial work gloves can provide a safeguard against cuts, abrasions and other potential injuries. Make sure you buy the appropriate industrial work gloves suitable for your needs. Less expensive industrial work gloves often come with a lower grade cowhide and a knitted wrist. These less expensive work gloves are a more economical choice that is durable enough for uses like gardening and light duty work in construction or industrial applications. More expensive industrial work gloves come with a safety cuff to protect your wrists, leather fingertips, and knuckle bands to give you an added layer of safety.
When handling various items, you need protection to keep your hands free from hazards. Disposable gloves are suitable for a variety of applications, affordable and convenient to use and toss. For common applications, latex disposable gloves are suited for resistance from chemicals, inspecting products, keeping sanitary standards during food handling and medical uses. Members of the oil and gas industry, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, may find using disposable gloves to be an excellent form of protection during daily tasks. When using latex disposable gloves for more hazardous applications, such as chemical handling, it's important to consult the chemical resistance data associated with a particular set of disposable gloves.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|