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How clean are your hands?

06 November 2019

Depending who you ask, the most important characteristic of a work glove, be it a mechanical or single use glove, will always vary. Protection will be paramount for EH&S Managers, cost will obviously be one of the drivers for procurement departments, and when it comes to the wearers themselves the answer will always be comfort. But have you ever thought about cleanliness?

The assumption is that when you unpack a pair of gloves or pull a nitrile glove from the box, they are brand new and perfectly clean. But how clean are they really? If your gloves have a strong odour or if your nitrile disposables are tacky and come out stuck together in clumps of 3 or 4 rather than easily in singles, it’s likely they are not that clean at all. 

Gloves with Polyurethane (PU) coatings are made with chemical solvents such as DMF, the remnants of which will still be in the gloves once on your hand. Newer generation “Eco” PU or water-based PU gloves use copious amounts of water to clean these solvent remnants from the gloves, but what happens to the contaminated water just leads to more questions. The lack of breathability from a PU glove and the penetration of the coating onto the inside of the glove results in the hand being enclosed in an environment contaminated by potentially harmful chemicals.

Single use gloves can be worse given they are often specified around three simple metrics, colour, thickness and price. Because of the occlusive environment created inside a nitrile or latex glove, the hand cannot breathe at all. The temperature of the hand increases and begins to sweat more causing a pH imbalance on the skin. This in turn increases the likelihood of dryness, redness and irritation. These problems are further exacerbated by the contaminants within the glove itself. 

So, what tends to be done? Generally, we are told to treat the symptoms rather than the cause. Regular hand washing is promoted. This strips moisture and natural oils from the skin, which are then replaced by post work moisturisers further reducing breathability, increasing perspiration and the cycle begins again. Not alone is there a personal cost to the wearer, but the financial cost to business on excessive use of soaps, barrier creams and moisturisers is significant. 

As gloves are now an essential piece of PPE, wearers and safety officers alike often just accept the instances of occupational skin conditions as a compromise they must accept to achieve the right levels of hand protection. At Keypoint however, we don’t believe our customers should have to compromise.

Keypoint are the only hand protection experts in Europe who work exclusively with glove manufacturers whose products have been independently accredited as being “Skin Safe” by the Skin Health Alliance. 

The Skin Health Alliance awards professional dermatological accreditation to products, services and brands around the world. This means that all our hand protection products have been rigorously tested by an independent body trusted by millions of consumers around the world.

Our integrated branded manufacturing partner ATG® Intelligent Glove Solutions ensure all gloves are washed prior to packaging, favouring water that is rain harvested, treated and recycled at their own water treatment facility, enabling them to guarantee their gloves as “Fresh out of the pack” and certified skin safe by the Skin Health Alliance.

SW Safety’s TouchTek™ technology is a post-production process that removes the chemicals from the manufacturing operation leading to single use gloves that are up to 75% cleaner than most others on the market. This not only protects the wearers skin, minimising the risk of inflaming skin conditions and occupational dermatitis, but also the work environment as there are reduced risks of glove-based contamination of product or work surfaces. 

Keypoint take a holistic approach to hand protection by bringing to market solution-based products focused not only on protection, but also the key elements such as wearer comfort, cleanliness, cost efficiency, skin health and a greater overall sense of wellbeing in the workplace.

Whatever your requirements are around the area of hand protection, you can be confident you can trust the experts at Keypoint to not only find you the right glove for the job, but also the best of care for your skin…….Hand protection, without the compromise.