How to Choose the Right Industrial Safety GlovesIt is easy to understand the need to wear protective gloves in certain workplace environments - our hands can be a vital necessity to get the job done. Keeping your hands free from possible injury should be a great priority. Many of those working in particular environments don't know how to select the right glove for their job, which leads to a higher risk of injury, and a potential loss of productivity.
We have put together a guide to help you get the most for your money when buying industrial safety gloves, no matter what your job requires.
How to Begin Looking for the Right Protective GloveFirstly. look at the hazards within the potential environment and the amount of protection required. You may need protection from any of the following:
The best way to protect your hands is to choose a glove that conforms to all the relevant European Standards. Look at the safety data sheets provided that detail how well their gloves perform.
- Heat, flame and cold temperatures
- Tearing, cuts, punctures and abrasions
- Chemicals, liquids and acids
- Vibration, impact and shock
European Hand Protection StandardsEN 420: general requirements for protective gloves including design and construction, innocuousness, cleaning instructions, electrostatic properties, sizing, dexterity, water vapour, transmission and abosrption along with marking and information.
EN388: protective gloves against mechanical risks. This covers protection from physical injury to the hand such as abrasion, blade cuts, punctures and tearing of the glove and skin.
EN 407: protection against thermal risks such as heat and/or fire. There are 6 key performances in which they will be tested against: resistance to a large melting metal spray, resistance to small melting metal spray, resistance to radiating heat, resistance to convective heat, resistance to contact heat for 15 seconds, and resistance to flammability.
EN 12477: protective gloves for welders. These have been tested for use in manual metal welding, cutting and allied processes. Classified into two types: Type A (lower dexterity and Type B (higher dexterity).
EN ISO 1809: protective gloves for mechanical vibration and shock. Tested and data analysed for the vibration transmissions from handle to the palm of the hand.
EN 374: protection against chemicals and micro-organisms. The glove needs to be liquid proof before it meets this specific standards.
EN 16350:2014: protective gloves for electrostatic properties. Can be used in areas where there may be an increased risk of explosion e.g. a refinery.
EN 455:2000: medical gloves for single use.
EN 511:2006: protects against conductive cold, down to -50°C.
EN 381-7: helps to protect against cuts, lacerations and more serious injury when operating a handheld chainsaw.
Other ConsiderationsBefore buying grip gloves, heat or cut-resistant gloves it is worth considering a few other factors that could affect your final choice that revolve around the task to be performed, the frequency and duration of the task, for instance:
- Remember: the thicker the glove, the better the protection - the thinner the glove, the better the dexterity.
- How long will the gloves be worn for? Comfort becomes an increasingly important factor the longer the glove is worn. Hands can sweat inside, making them uncomfortable to wear, therefore it's recommended to let staff regularly remove gloves let their hands breath. To help, some suppliers provide liner gloves to wear under the safety gloves to help absorb the moisture.
- A textured glove will affect handling - gloves with a rough or textured surface offer a better grip than those without.
- Gloves should fit comfortably. Hands can feel tired and lose their grip if gloves are too tight. Furthermore, gloves that are too big for your hands can be uncomfortable and the extra folds of material could affect ability to work effectively.
- When working in environments that operate outside of typical room temperatures a more suitable glove will be required. Whilst leather gloves offer some protection from the cold, they are not so effective when wet. Specific cold weather gloves and cold grip gloves are a better choice for working in wet and cold temperatures whilst breathable gloves suit warmer conditions.
- Consider cuff styles such as unsupported; beaded, straight; pinked; supported; gauntlet; knitwrist; safety cuff; slip on cuff.
Coming to a DecisionOnce you have considered all the factors mentioned in this article you'll have a better picture of which safety gloves are more suited to your industry and your specific requirements. Making an informed decision at this stage and purchasing the correct gloves will save you time and money in the long run. It will also ensure that staff members wearing the gloves are completely safe performing the tasks at hand and remain as comfortable as possible throughout.
For further help and guidance about industrial safety gloves or other PPE supply queries, call our team on 0151 709 2271. The Wray Bros customer service team is always happy to help. We've got the knowledge, expertise and the quality products to help you in any given situation you may be facing.
Further Reading: Safety Gloves, Safety Footwear & Workwear Data Sheets