Work gloves seem pretty straight forward on the surface, but there’s a lot that goes into finding the best pair for the job.
In this post, we’re looking at 5 big mistakes people make when choosing hand protection and how to avoid making them when you buy safety gloves.
1. Choosing the wrong glove size
You need gloves that fit your hand.
If a glove fits small, it will be uncomfortable, limit your range of motion, and wear out faster.
On the flip side, a glove that’s too big can get caught on things or into machinery and create a whole other set of problems.
To find gloves that fit right, you need to measure your hand.
How to measure your hand for gloves:
- Hold your hand out flat with your palm up and fingers together
- Place the measuring tape by the base of your index finger
- Meausre from the outside of your index finger to the outside of your pinky finger, do not include your thumb
- Take the measurement and find your glove size on this chart
- Some gloves are sized in numbers and some in letters, so take note of both measurements
Want a version you can download? Click here.
2. Buying a work glove with too much protection
This glove looks objectively cool, right?
That’s because it is.
This glove is really slick, it has:
- arc flash properties
- resistance to spark and flames
- pads on the back of the hand to reduce knuckle bashing, and
- textured leather palm patches for grip.
In the right scenario, this glove is going to make your day better and keep you safe from a lot of nasty injuries.
In a lot of cases, this type of glove would be protection overkill. For instance, a general labourer would find this glove annoying 20 minutes into the shift because it’s providing unnecessary protection.
When you’re choosing a work glove, you need to think about:
- the jobs you’re doing
- the risks you’re facing, and
- the protection you need on a daily basis.
Once you figure that out, then it’s time to look for the right glove. We put together a few of our favourite everyday gloves to get you started.
3. Thinking your gloves are “cut proof”
We don’t sell cut-proof gloves, we sell cut-resistant gloves. It sounds like a small differentiator, but it has big implications.
70% of workers who experience hand injuries weren’t wearing gloves. The other 30% were wearing the wrong type of gloves.
I’d hazard a guess that a lot of those workers in the second statistic thought their gloves were cut proof.
Calling a glove “cut proof” would imply that regardless of force or blade sharpness, your glove would protect you. It’s not the case (unfortunately).
Cut-resistant work gloves come in different levels based on the fibre they are made of and the material used to reinforce the fibre — like steel or fiberglass.
The ratings changed a few years ago from 5 to 9 levels. The image below shows you how they changed.
How to choose cut-resistant gloves:
- Level A2 and A3: are good for nuisance cuts and light cut hazards
- Level A4, A5 and A6 are good for medium to high level cut hazards
- Level A7 and A8 are good for high level cut hazards
- Level A9 is good for extreme cut hazards
4. Not doing your chemical research
Just because a glove protects you from chemical risks doesn’t mean it will protect you from every hand hazard out there. Chemical resistance demands attention to detail. Break out your MSDS sheets 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 cannot come into contact with is crucial.
- PVA (polyvinyl alcohol), for example, stands up to harsh chemicals but dissolves in water.
- Latex degrades in gasoline.
Knowing what chemicals a glove protects against is great, but you’ve got to know what chemicals could weaken it, as well.
5. Assuming leather is your only option
Leather gloves are awesome. Especially when you’re dealing with a lot of abrasion like pulling ropes or handling concrete slabs.
But leather is expensive, not cut-resistant and not great for grip in wet weather.
Coated gloves are gaining popularity over the last few years and different palm coatings will benefit you depending on the job.
Download our glove coating cheat sheet to learn which is best for you.
Finding the right work gloves
Using the tips and resources we’ve laid out above will help you to choose the best work gloves for your needs.
If you have a lot of different needs, we can help!
We run a free glove review program.
We’ll come to your site, work with your team to see which gloves are being used and if there is a better option.
Ready to get started?