There are several factors you should consider before selecting work gloves that fit your work types and working conditions. In chemical plant operations where various hazardous chemicals handled and multiple activities that can harm worker’s hands done, reliable work gloves could prevent workers from injuries.
Work glove is a part of the whole personal protective equipment that are used by workers. Like other personal protective equipment, they can only give adequate protection if they are selected with care and meet the required working conditions as well as the applicable industrial standards.
Work gloves act as a defense against various hazards like chemical burns, thermal burns, electric current, cutting, aberration, and puncture. They are the last defense against those hazards. Just relying on them is too risky.
Even though you will use work groves, hazard identification and risk assessment have to be performed completely. Hazard control hierarchy should be also followed.
Work-Related Hand Injuries Statistics
In the US, each year more than 1 million workers receive treatment in the emergency department for acute hand injuries (hsutx.edu). Meanwhile, 110.000 workers with hand and fingers injuries lose workdays annually as estimated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A study that was conducted by researchers at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, in collaboration with colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health found that the most common occupational acute hand injury was a laceration (63 percent), followed by crush injury (13 percent), avulsion (8 percent), puncture (6 percent), fracture (5 percent), contusion (1 percent), and dislocation (0.1 percent).
The good news is that the use of work gloves as mentioned by the study significantly reduced hand injury risk by 60 percent.
All Start From the Right Types of Work Gloves
Selecting the right type of work gloves is the key. Types of glove materials that are commonly used in chemical plants are summarized below.
Cloth or cotton glove: protects hands against rough surface, wood slivers, a number of temperature ranges and dirt.
Leather glove: protects hands against chips, ragged edges, sparks, moderate heat and sharp edges.
Metal mesh glove: protects the hand from tools that have sheet metal, sharp blades, and any other tools or machine parts that can cut hands or fingers.
Rubber glove: protects workers from electric hazard.
Impervious glove: protects workers from hazardous chemicals and hazardous substances. It is usually made of latex, vinyl, PVC, and neoprene.
Aluminized glove: protects workers from very high temperature and flames.
Work gloves are also categorized by types of general purposes, chemical-resistant, cut-resistant, abrasion protection and grip, cold protection, heat protection, and puncture-resistant.
Work gloves play vital role in preventing hands and fingers injuries. However, even though work gloves could reduce hand injury risk by 60 percent, but it does not mean that we can not just rely on them. Selecting the most appropriate type of work gloves and placing reliable hazard controls will ensure the safest conditions for your hands.