Your employees wear hand protection on the job, so they’re protected, right? Wrong.

So many workers are not only wearing the wrong sized glove, they’re also wearing the wrong type of glove for the work they’re doing. And while you may think that wearing the strongest cut-resistant glove out there is the right choice for any application, it’s not. Choosing the wrong glove could actually be putting your workers at risk.

Scary, right? Here’s what so many of us are doing wrong.

Glove Size

If your gloves don’t fit properly, there’s no way they can offer the protection they’re supposed to – and that goes for any kind of PPE. A properly fitted work glove not only improves dexterity, it reduces hand fatigue. They also decrease the amount of force your hand muscles need to use, since you won’t be overcompensating for a glove that’s too loose or too tight.

You should properly measure your hands to make sure you’re choosing the correct size and maximizing the protective properties your gloves offer. Not sure how to measure your hands? That’s okay – not many of us are. You can download a simple how-to right here.

Match Protection Levels with Risk Factor

It’s really important to match your glove to the level of risk (determined through your job hazard analysis!) you’ll face while performing the job. If you choose a highly cut resistant glove for an application where cut hazards don’t exist, you could be sacrificing dexterity that’s particularly important when performing delicate tasks.

It’s also critical to choose a glove made out of materials that are best suited to your particular application. There’s a common misconception out there that leather gloves offer the best protection, and that the heavier the glove, the better is protects. The reality, however, is that leather gloves are actually one of the least cut resistant gloves on the market. Engineered fibres and blends are the new leaders in cut protection.

Glove coatings also can play an important role in reducing hand injuries, since many occur from loss of grip. Each coating possesses unique performance characteristics, with their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to understand the difference between them when selecting work gloves. Here is a great guide that will help you choose the most appropriate coated glove for the work you’re performing.

Chemical Gloves CAN’T Withstand Everything!

Just because a glove protects you from chemical risks doesn’t mean it can protect you from every hand hazard out there. Chemical resistance demands attention to detail, so break out your MSDS before even thinking about choosing a chemical resistant glove.

We know that breakthrough time and degradation ratings are important, but knowing the substances the glove can’t come into contact with is crucial. PVA (polyvinyl alcohol), for example, stands up to the harshest chemicals, but dissolves in water. Gasoline has a negative effect on latex. Knowing what chemicals a glove protects against is great, but you’ve got to know what chemicals could weaken it, as well.

Still not sure if you’re using the correct gloves? Worried you might be making some of these mistakes? Take advantage of one of our complimentary glove reviews. It’s absolutely free and will definitely give you the peace of mind you need once you know all your workers are wearing the right gloves for the job. You can learn more about our glove reviews here. 

Eric Huard

Market Segment Manager, Personal Safety

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