Workers in a variety of industries, from professional cleaning to construction, should wear protective hand gear (gloves) when performing their duties.
Hand injuries are the second most common work-related injury and wearing the proper gloves can help prevent the following:
- Lacerations to the skin (cuts, scratches, gashes, etc.)
- Chemicals contacting or seeping through the skin
- Abrasions (serious cuts that can get infected)
- Exposure to hot surfaces that can burn the skin
However, selecting the right glove for the job can become a bit confusing, according to Vicky Adams, Category Manager for Safety, Gloves, and Foodservice products for Impact Products, a leading manufacturer of gloves and other safety equipment for the professional cleaning and related industries.
"Different hazards require different types of gloves," says Adams. "If chemical exposure is a concern, for instance, selecting a glove designed to protect the worker from heat would not be the right selection."
To help employers and workers decide which glove is best for them, she offers the following suggestions:
- Have an astute distributor evaluate the work being performed and recommend gloves best suited for those tasks.
- Select gloves from a manufacturer that focuses on workplace safety products; "for some manufacturers, safety products are just a 'side item.' Select a manufacturer that is serious about worker safety products."
- Form a committee to evaluate gloves from two or more manufacturers.
- Have workers wear selected gloves on the job and complete a survey about them; "do not ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no. Ask them specifically what they liked or did not like about the gloves."
- With gloves selected, evaluate them once again after three to six months of use; "the goal here is to see how well they are working and holding up."
Adams adds that selecting the right work gloves is not a one-time process.
"Protective hand gear is an evolving industry. Preventing hand injuries and protecting workers requires that manufacturers always be open to new products and new protective hand gear technologies."