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Safety gloves have an important job, they exist to protect our hands against hazards caused by contact with things like sharp glass, dangerous chemicals and rough surfaces.
Our hands are one of the most important tools that we possess. We use our hands in almost every task that we undertake, which makes them important tools. Our hands are also one of the most vulnerable parts of our body.
There are a huge selection of safety gloves on the market, with designs in almost length, shape and colour and they are manufactured in a large range of materials. But with so much choice, how do you know what type of safety glove is right for the job? Which safety gloves will protect your employees? As an employer, providing the correct hand protection is crucial to your workforce. Accidents come with high cost and loss of productivity.
First you need to ask yourself what kinds of hazards the wearer will be exposed to. You may need to ensure that the wearer is protected against mechanical injuries such as abrasions and scratches, or your employees may be exposed to harmful chemicals during the course of their day at work.
Here are a list of different types of safety glove along with their appropriate applications:
Cotton fabric gloves - For keeping hands clean and protecting against abrasions. These gloves may not be strong enough to handle rough materials.
Coated fabric gloves - This type of safety glove can provide protection against some chemicals. These gloves can be used in a laboratory provided they are are able to protect against the chemicals being handled.
Synthetic rubber gloves - These types of safety gloves are suitable for cleaning or working with oils, solvents and other chemicals.
Leather gloves - These safety gloves are for use when welding, leather can resist sparks and moderate heat. The risk of cuts and abrasions are also minimised when wearing leather gloves.
Foundry gloves - Recommended for foundry work and welding as they provide reflective and insulating protection.
Kevlar gloves - Kevlar safety gloves are cut and abrasion resistant. They also provide protection against both heat and cold.
Chemical resistant gloves - There are several different types of safety gloves that help to protect against chemicals including latex gloves, nitrile gloves and butyl gloves.
Once you have defined the level of hazard protection you require, the next step is to determine the application. What kind of jobs are your employees expected to carry out with their hands? If this means undertaking tasks that require precision and dexterity, then you will need safety gloves from that category so that your task force can continue working as expected. Some employees may perform different tasks that require heavy duty hand protection, such as working with glass. There are also all-round safety gloves that can be used for general tasks.
We recommend that you select safety gloves from the category that best matches the activity that your employees will be undertaking for the majority of their working day.
Another consideration to make is the type of environment that exists in the workplace. Will the gloves be coming into contact with oil? If your employees work with small, sharp oily components then they are likely to need a different type of safety glove than if they were working in a dry environment. The coating of your safety gloves will determine factors such as water resistance and breathability.
Safety gloves are a very important factor in preventing workplace injuries, but they should be worn only when it is appropriate for the task that is being performed. EN 420  is the safety standard for protective gloves. This standard defines the general requirements for protective gloves, including the design, size, comfort, dexterity and more.