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Helping hands

16 August 2022

Clair Weston explores some of the areas to look out for when choosing appropriate hand protection for your workforce.

THE HUGE growth in the market for industrial hand protection seen in the last few years - driven by increasing awareness by employers and wearers of the need to avoid potential accidents and injuries - has led to glove manufacturers offering a large, and sometimes confusing, variety of innovative gloves to choose from.

Selection of the appropriate glove must be matched to the task being undertaken. Gloves should be selected based on the materials being handled, the hazards involved and their suitability for the operation being conducted. 

You get what you pay for

A maxim that's extremely relevant to the purchase of safety gloves. Customers that buy low-cost hand protection often find it calculates to be the more expensive way of protecting employees. While basic gloves meet the European standard, the performance often falls short when subjected to the demands of real-world working environments and it is the hidden extras that ensure a high level of wearer compliance. 

The real value of low-cost PPE

When buying PPE, companies often base their decision on the price tag. However, it is worth remembering that in addition to the quality, durability, comfort, style and effectiveness of the product – it is the real cost, by which we mean the cost when in use, that’s important. Buying better quality hand protection can save you money in the long run due to increased robustness without sacrificing comfort, offering value for money and resulting in less gloves going to landfill. 

Protection, comfort and fit

Effective hand protection means striking the perfect balance between reliable protection and a comfortable fit – only safety gloves that are worn can fulfil their purpose. uvex is continuously developing innovative fibre and coating technologies, such as the patented Bamboo TwinFlex technology, to deliver both wearer requirements. 

The patented technology combines high performance fibres that protect against abrasion and cut hazards with sustainable bamboo-viscose and recycled polyamide, to create a fine 18-gauge glove that feels silky-smooth against the skin. Use of such innovative materials results in glove liners that have fast and effective moisture (sweat) wicking properties for all day comfort. The glove also adapts precisely to the shape of the wearers hand within 3 to 5 minutes creating a unique fit that is highly flexible and comfortable, as well as being touchscreen compatible, negating the need to remove the glove between tasks. 

Size matters

Incorrectly sized gloves will be uncomfortable when worn for any period, resulting in the glove being removed and defeating their intended purpose. Too small and they run the risk of hindering an employee’s movements, resulting in their hands feeling tired, potentially loosing grip and/or affecting their ability to work safety. If too big, again gloves can affect grip, get caught in moving parts or tools and distract from the task and the hazards faced. 

Features such as fit and dexterity change yet again when coatings are applied, which are crucial to obtain high levels of durability, cost-effectiveness, as well as providing good grip.

Good grip

The importance of grip and control is considerable and, as such, there is a growing variety of glove coatings available. Different coatings provide different benefits according to the task and circumstances, such as foam coatings for oil grip, and repellent ones for wet environments. Remember to also consider the required dexterity, mobility, durability, comfort and flexibility of the glove’s performance, as well as the level of protection. 

A coating that offers good grip prevents employees from overexerting or straining their muscles. Inadequate grip can lead to musculoskeletal injuries from trying to grip too hard, with a risk of objects being dropped, the transference of risk to another part of the body from the hand, and increased risk of cuts. 

The method of applying a coating to the glove can enhance the comfort levels of the wearer. Breakthrough of the liner must be avoided, as it could irritate the skin, even though the liner itself does not. 

Eczema and dermatitis 

It’s important to consider how a glove is manufactured, as products that come into contact with the skin should be free from harmful chemicals that can cause allergies or exacerbate existing skin complaints. This can lead to the wearer removing the glove, leaving them completely unprotected or working in discomfort. 

Gloves such as the uvex phynomic range, have passed the independent OKEO-TEX 100 Standard, which checks for chemicals that could cause skin irritations. In addition, gloves that have been independently dermatologically tested and approved, for example by the proDERM Institute for Applied Dermatological Research, bestows confidence that gloves are hypoallergenic and suitable for the entire workforce including allergy sufferers or those with sensitive skin.

Education and training

To help keep workers safe and healthy, partner with an expert that provides training and education about site hazards, giving professional, life-long support and advising on a range of hand protection solutions tailored for your workplace applications. Such collaborative working will ensure the best possible protection against workplace risks and will help keep your workforce involved and engaged, improving the safety culture of the company. 

Choosing a sustainable manufacturer

uvex’s CO2 neutral production facility is certified to the International Environmental Management Standard ISO 14001, as well as the Energy Management System ISO 50001 which focuses on continuous improvement processes to achieve and maintain concrete environmental goals. 

Protecting planet 

Under the sustainability label "protecting planet", uvex has launched a complete product system of environmentally friendly products with the promise to treat people, society and nature responsibly, offering maximum transparency and information about its sustainability activities. 

The uvex protecting planet range represents the company's commitment to developing durable and sustainable product solutions using bio-based and recycled materials, as well as utilising recycled and recyclable packaging. 

Benefits of the right glove

Using the right glove benefits both employer and employee. The employer profits from reduced costs and waste; increased efficiency and productivity; improved health and safety, increased acceptance of PPE, the need for lower stock levels and a reduced environmental footprint.

The employee’s personal safety is assured by a reduced risk of injury; increased comfort throughout the day; better health and wellbeing; a happier working life and confidence in their employer. Taking the time to review the above factors when selecting your safety glove supplier could result in savings all round. 

Clair Weston is head of marketing at uvex. For more information, visit www.uvex.com/en