Hand protection

Trends in ... hand protection

‘Not all gloves are created equal’

The first lesson in buying gloves? “You get what you pay for,” answers Jeff Cohen, director of product management for hand and arm protection at Protective Industrial Products. “Not all gloves are created equal. There’s a reason why certain gloves don’t hold up when tested against others in the same applications and environments.”

Griff Hughes, president of Banom, agreed. “Glove selection seems to be done more on price and cut level rather than testing for safety and longevity.”

So how can employers ensure their workers have quality, proper hand protection? Safety+Health talked with experts in the hand protection field.

Protect the whole package

One overlooked area when it comes to selecting hand protection is the arm. “Safety doesn’t stop at the wrist,” Cohen said. “If you’re using gloves for heat and sparks, why aren’t you protecting your arms as well?”

He went on to say that grip needs to be considered the first line of defense. “Failing to select hand protection with a suitable grip can actually lead to higher injury rate. This is because when you’re working with wet or oily objects, a slicing motion of the glove can occur if the object is mishandled. When selecting gloves, it’s imperative to identify all factors to ensure the worker is properly protected and comfortable.”

New technology

“The name of the game now is light, comfortable protection from a variety of hazards,” said Sarah Anderson, director of product management at Magid. “That includes cuts, punctures, abrasions and even impacts. New technologies are providing some of the lightest shell materials ever with innovative new coatings for wet, dry and even oily applications.”

The downside to the lighter hand protection?

“These new technologies are so impressive, people sometimes have a hard time believing that they’ll keep them safe,” Anderson said. “In the past, higher cut protection only came in a stiff, bulky glove. So workers and safety managers alike have this expectation. Then they see new materials that are thin, light and as comfortable as a second skin, and they think, ‘No way! This can’t be ANSI A7 protection!’”

No matter what hand protection is chosen, Hughes’ advice is to test the products. “End-use customers come to us for advice on how to reduce hand cuts. We believe that application testing of products is the only way to protect hands.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Eyewashes and showers
  • Materials handling

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