Guest Post: Five Environments Where You Need Safety Gloves

Hand Protection Required

The following is a guest post from Francesca Holmes. Francesca is a freelance writer and blogger. She has written many articles about work safety and health. In her spare time, she is a keen angler and enjoys relaxing by the lake with her husband and the couple’s two young daughters.

The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), is now commonplace across a wide range of professions and employment roles. As part of an overall approach to health and safety in the workplace, minimizing the risks and hazards people face as they go about their duties means that working environments are now safer than ever.

However, the use of PPE, needs to be in conjunction with other practical, engineering and administrative controls in order to reduce exposures to acceptable levels. Therefore, fully comprehensive processes including the selection, maintenance and use of PPE, the training of employees in their correct use and the continual monitoring of the programs to ensure ongoing effectiveness need to be maintained.

The Law

Employers are bound by law to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of workers and an important part of the legislation governing this in the UK is The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

This statute basically covers the provision of personal protective equipment and sets in law a responsibility for every employer to ensure that suitable equipment is provided to any employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work.

Even those who are self employed have legal responsibilities to protect themselves unless, as the law states “a risk or hazard has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.”

Of course when it comes to the wide range of PPE available, decisions on what is required can come down to specific hazards, or be based on a more general risk assessment. This can be a complicated area to deal with, as taking just one item, such as safety gloves, illustrates how many different sets of circumstances can apply.

Five Environments Where You Need Safety Gloves:

1. Construction

Although protection is probably the main use for a working glove in the construction industry, getting a firm grip can be difficult, especially in wet or difficult conditions and problems can be made worse by using general purpose safety gloves.

There are many types of special “grip gloves” which use materials and designs that are specially created to maintain a firm grip on a wide range of products and materials, Some are simple lightweight gloves that offer an extra grip capability and others are combined with harder wearing safety features.

2. Crafts

One of the main hazards that gloves can protect against is cuts caused by working with sharp or pointed objects or when working with tools such as safety knives. Cut resistant gloves are often found in crafts and trades where slippage of bladed tools can present a risk to users but of course their use is not confined to specialist roles.

Wearing a purpose made glove, such as a general purpose leather work glove can be useful across a range of tasks, but for specialized day-to-day protection a safety glove which is made from a material such as Kevlar will be the ideal choice.

3. Chemicals

Coming into contact with various liquids that can be corrosive, such as oils and acids, is a common daily occurrence across a range of occupations such as those to be found in the automobile and aeronautic industries.

Handling of fuel hoses, seals, grommets and other components brings with it exposure to and contact with oils and other liquid chemicals which can cause problems. Nitrile rubber safety gloves are more resistant than natural rubber and this means that they are usually the correct protective hand wear best suited to these types of situations.

Often exposure to these types of hazards may not be harmful in small doses but can have negative effects which build up over long term exposure.

4. Heat

Extreme environments where workers are exposed to intense heat doesn’t only mean working in hostile situations such as undersea oil industry roles or fire fighting capacities. Some industrial processes involved high temperatures and hot materials and in these cases, thermal protection is needed.

Heat resistant gloves are used by professionals involved in working in metal, glass or other specialized industries. Textured and treated wool and cloth based gloves are often mixed with man-made materials such as Kevlar to offer the highest levels of protection.

5. General Purpose

Of course being involved in a professional working environment dealing with specific hazards and risks isn’t the only time that safety gloves can be used.

Protection from abrasion, piercing and cutting might be needed for any number of DIY or day-to-day tasks around the home. Getting a good grip on something or protecting your hands can be essential in many different tasks that might not come under the consideration of any initiatives aimed at the workplace.

Fortunately there are plenty of safety gloves which are made for a wide range of uses and you don’t need any specialized knowledge to use them or choose the right ones. Simple and cost effective work gloves made from tough leather with reinforced sections to give added protection are perfectly adequate for most general tasks and are likely to be the closest non-professionals get to using PPE clothing.


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