How to find the safest work gloves for the job

How to find the safest work gloves for the job

May 29th 2019

For those who rely on our hands to get the job done, finding the best work gloves to deliver the best hand protection available is a top priority. A comfortable glove that is both durable and flexible cannot be beat.

More importantly, though, is that gloves keep your hands safe. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that there are about 300,000 every year of injuries or illnesses that affect upper extremities. Of those injuries, 42% involve hands.

That’s why safety needs to be emphasized at the work site. It’s so important that gloves are required for many jobs.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states employers must “select and require their employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.”

But you should not settle for the most readily available glove. The best gloves are those that you can forget are even on your hand because of how they feel on your hands and the trusted protection they reliably provide.

So, what makes a work glove safe? Here is a closer look at several of the qualities you should look for in a good pair of gloves and how to pick the right ones for the job.

What’s the job?

Before picking up just any pair of gloves, consider what materials and tools you will be handling.

If you need something that will mostly serve to keep your hands clean and offer some abrasion protection, then cotton and fabric gloves will work just fine. A coated fabric glove is recommended if you will also be working with chemicals. The coating can offer some protection against moderate concentrated chemicals, according to Safety and Health Magazine.

Other gloves that can handle chemicals include rubber, plastic or synthetic gloves. These are great for cleaning projects. Butyl rubber, neoprene and nitrile rubber are examples of other glove materials that do well with handling chemicals.

Do you typically handle rough or sharp materials? Leather gloves can protect against some cuts and abrasions. Kevlar gloves offer even more protection.

Where is the job?

Also, keep in mind what conditions you will be working in. Hot, cold, wet, dry? Some materials perform better than others in certain situations. It is important to know what glove type is best for every environment.

Cotton, jersey or other fabric-type gloves offer some heat and cold protection.

If you need some serious heat resistance because the work involves exposed heat sources, then aluminized gloves are your best bet. These are often worn for welding and furnace work.

What you should know about gloves and chemicals

When working with hazardous chemicals, you have to know how quickly each chemical can pass through certain materials. This will affect what type of glove you should wear when handling the chemicals.

According to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, some chemicals can pass through certain materials quicker than others. This depends on how viscous, or thick, the chemical or chemical mixture is. The thicker the chemical, the slower it will generally pass through a glove material.

However, some chemicals, even if they are fairly thick, may actually diffuse into the glove based on its material. Additionally, some chemicals will permeate, or spread throughout and into, the material of a glove faster than others - and this all depends on the chemical and the material it’s reacting with.

That’s why it is important not to fall into what Industrial Safety and Health calls the “one-glove-fits-all mentality” when it comes to chemicals. Every chemical can react differently to specific glove materials.

When worker safety is of concern, it is important to know how chemicals will react to gloves and have the proper ones on hand.

Balance comfort and durability where cuts are a concern

It is not uncommon to feel like you can just take off a glove to quickly handle a small part or answer a phone call. But gloves that come off, unfortunately, are not always put back on while working. That is asking for accidents, especially when the job involves handling sharp objects or tools that cut and slice.

The best solution to avoiding those cuts and slices from happening to your hands and fingers is to keep your gloves on - and that means finding gloves that fit perfectly.

Finding a perfect fit and comfort can be key to forgetting your gloves are still on your hand. Start by looking for a pair that is light and very flexible, yet still offers some general cut protection. As long as your gloves feel like a second skin, you are less likely to take them off.

In job situations where serious cuts are of concern, look for knit work gloves that incorporate new methods of yarn wrapping and offer superior cut protection. Though a thicker feel, these gloves are still very comfortable and offer a good bit of flexibility.

Make sure the gloves fit your hand

Once you are aware of the conditions and environment in which you will be working, you can focus on finding the best-fitting glove possible.

Make sure you measure your hands so you know exactly which glove size is best for you. Take your dominant hand and use a tape measure to find its width across your knuckles. Most gloves will have a sizing chart available on their tags in the store or, if ordering online, somewhere on the website that is easy to find.

If buying a pair in person, try on the glove and move your hand around. If it feels restrictive and does not just need to be broken in, then pick a different pair. That’s not the glove for you.

Keep gloves in good condition

Like anything you use for the job, gloves need to be kept in good condition. Store them in places where the temperature does not fluctuate and where they are not likely to dry out.

Also, before you get back to work, always check for rips, puncture holes or other signs of damage. As soon as you notice damage, it’s time to retire that pair.

Finally, make sure to follow all instructions on how to clean your gloves. That will vary based on the material, but you should be able to find instructions on the tag inside the glove.

Ripit has a glove for you

Ripit Gloves were designed with a perfect fit, comfort, tactile sensitivity, flexibility and durability all in mind. Our ultra-lightweight gloves have quickly become favorite for many in industries that demand hard-working hands.

Shop for gloves online or read our story to find out where you can look for a pair of Ripit Gloves near you.