Hand Protection 101: How To Pick The Right Work Gloves for the Job
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Many jobs require handling materials that are hot, cold, abrasive, sharp, or otherwise harmful to the skin, but work gloves may be an afterthought, especially when the job gets busy.
Plenty of situations can lead to hand and skin injuries, so it’s critical to have the best work gloves for the job—and to have them readily available. Global Industrial’s wide range of hand protection can meet the needs of a variety of work situations and hazards. Not sure what work gloves you need? Below we break down the options, their benefits, and how to choose the right hand protection for any task.
Why Hand Protection Matters
Nearly one in seven nonfatal injuries and illnesses on the job involve workers’ hands, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those injuries not only amount to medical costs and lost labor. Damage to the hands can lead to chronic pain and even disability that takes workers off the job permanently.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require all employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers, which includes hand protection. Make sure you and your employees have the best work gloves to keep hands safe no matter the task.
The Right Work Glove for the Job
Wondering how to pick the best hand protection? Selecting the right material and thickness is critical because not all gloves offer the same level of protection, flexibility, or comfort. The first step is to perform a job-hazard analysis to identify worksite risks. Global Industrial can help you match the needs identified from the analysis with the right gloves:
- Cut-resistant gloves offer protection in settings where sharp blades or other tools are involved. Choose from options made of metal mesh or high-strength yarns.
- Cold-resistant gloves provide protection against wintry conditions and cold storage. Look for multi-layer gloves with an inner insulation layer and a tough exterior.
- High-heat-resistant gloves are ideal for working near flames or hot objects that increase your risk of workplace burns or injuries. Choose work gloves that can withstand high temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Welding gloves not only offer high-heat resistance, but they also provide forearm protection.
- Impact-resistant and anti-vibration gloves reduce injuries and hand fatigue from high-impact work like hammering and drilling.
- Chemical-resistant gloves include multi-layer materials perfect for labs and health care settings. These gloves protect skin from corrosive acids, esters, and ketones.
- High-visibility gloves are critical for construction zones, dark or wintry conditions, and other job sites where visibility may be low. Choose from high-visibility PPE in yellows, greens, and oranges.
- Electrical-rated gloves provide voltage class ratings for both low- or high-voltage scenarios.
- All-purpose work gloves give all-purpose protection to the skin when handling abrasive materials or heavy loads.
What Gloves Can Do — and What They Can’t
The key to selecting the best work gloves that provide the right amount of protection for your crew comes down to understanding standards and materials.
Browse the work glove selection online and you’ll notice the many different standards listed in the glove description. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) maintains a searchable database of industry guidance and standards. ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 rated gloves, for instance, offer abrasion and cut resistance, along with some chemical and flame resistance. ANSI/ISEA 138-2019 defines impact resistance standards and levels of resistance, using a scale of one to three for finger, knuckle, and overall glove protection. When choosing any gloves, pay attention to all ratings.
Know Your Materials
While your all-purpose work gloves may be composed of thick cotton with vinyl fingertips, your other specialty gloves likely require tougher materials rated for the job at hand. Don’t expect one pair of gloves to provide the performance and protection needed for every job:
- Gain extra protection from the elements while directing traffic or construction equipment with a pair of bright orange or lime green work gloves that offers high visibility even in low-light conditions. Look for highly visible gloves with layers of acrylic thermal insulation that evaporate moisture on the skin and provide exceptional warmth.
- Protect your skin while performing maintenance tasks that involve oil by choosing gloves coated with foam nitro or PVC nitrile. A fully dipped glove provides more protection than a partially dipped glove.
- Avoid hand injuries while opening crates or using utility knives with cut-resistant gloves that also offer high dexterity.
- Protect your skin and hands while maintaining dexterity in a health care setting with disposable gloves with a thinner, larger-gauge glove lining. Or, more easily move heavy equipment or materials with thicker, smaller-gauge material. The smaller the gauge, the thicker the material.
Fit Like a Glove
Simply making gloves available to your team doesn’t guarantee they’ll be properly protected. Consider these best practices in the warehouse or on the job site:
Get Sizing Right
In order to match your crew up with the right gloves for the job, you’ll first need to measure workers’ hands to get the correct glove size. Gloves that don’t fit correctly can lead to injury.
To find well-fitting gloves, wrap a cloth tape measure around the widest part of the dominant hand, and use the circumference as the glove size.
Monitor Your Stock
Make sure you have enough work glove options on-site so your team isn’t trading up or down a size and risking injury. Regularly inspect your supply of protective gloves to make sure they’re in usable condition, and replace pairs as needed.
Make Hand Protection a Habit
Talk with your team about the importance of hand protection to a safe and productive work environment, and educate all employees about proper use and fit. Ask your workers for feedback on gloves. For instance, an employee will be less likely to use work gloves made with itchy or uncomfortable material.
Keep your business up and running with all hands on deck — and well protected. Global Industrial can help you find the right gloves for your team and task at hand. Contact our product experts today.
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