Choosing the Right Work Gloves for the Job
Linemen and utility workers spend a lot of time working with their hands. In many cases, workers are using their hands in hazardous situations which puts them at risk for injuries to the hand and fingers. Hand and finger related injuries account for more than 25 percent of all reported workplace injuries and businesses lose more time and money on hand injuries than other types of injuries. Fortunately, hand and finger injuries are preventable if workers use the right gloves for the job.
Linemen and utility workers may work in environments in which their hands are vulnerable to cuts and abrasions and exposed to chemicals, blood-borne pathogens, extreme temperatures, and electrical currents. It is important to always assess the situation before you begin working and make sure you use the right gloves to protect against hand and finger injuries. There are many types of work gloves available, and each type is suited to provide protection from different hazards. In this guide, we will cover the steps that will help you know which work gloves you should use in a given situation.
If you need to get some work gloves for your employees, Divergent Alliance provides lineman gloves that can protect from common hazards found in working environments.
Decide if Gloves are Necessary
There may be situations in which work gloves are not necessary, but in many situations they will be. For each job, you need to determine if gloves are necessary for the job and why.
In most situations, you will need to wear work gloves either to protect your hands from the hazards presented by the equipment being worked on, or to protect the equipment from your hands. You should use safety gloves any time there is risk of injury or exposure to harmful elements that can cause injuries to the hands and fingers. You also need to make sure you protect the equipment by wearing gloves if the oils and particles on your hands could cause damage.
Understand the Potential Hazards
Before you begin the job, you must carefully assess the various risks the job presents. Once way to do this is to list every task that needs to be performed so you can evaluate the risks of each task.
The hazards at a jobsite generally fall into one of these categories:
- Cuts, abrasions, and scrapes: Check to see if there are surfaces or objects that are likely to cause cuts and abrasions. In these situations, you need to use work gloves that can withstand punctures and sharp edges.
- Chemicals: Chemicals can react with the skin which can lead to burns and injuries. A glove must be used that is made out of the right polymer to protect from the specific chemical involved.
- Biological materials – viruses, bacteria, bloodborne pathogens, bodily fluids: These materials are potentially infectious but latex or nitrile gloves can provide protection.
- Temperature: Hands needs to be protected if they are exposed to extreme heat or cold.
- Power: When working on equipment with an electrical current, workers should wear insulated work gloves that can withstand the voltage going through the equipment.
After identifying the risks, you can adjust your approach to the tasks that need to be done to increase safety. You should also determine what type of work gloves are best suited for the situation to help protect against injuries.
Choose Work Gloves of the Right Material
Work gloves are made from many different materials that protect against different hazards. Once you have identified the hazards, you will know what material gloves to use.
- Latex and nitrile: Disposable latex rubber and nitrile gloves are effective for protecting against disease or infection from biological materials and they are inexpensive. They will not provide protection against hazardous chemicals or cuts and abrasions.
- Viton, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC): Work gloves made from these materials can protect against various industrial gases.
- Cryogenic resistant gloves: These work gloves are excellent for protecting against extreme hot and cold temperatures.
- Kevlar gloves: These gloves offer good protection against cuts and abrasions, and they are heat resistant.
- Dyneema gloves: These gloves are very strong and protect well against cuts and abrasions.
- Leather gloves: Leather work gloves are used in many situations as they offer protection against heat, cuts, and abrasions. They also allow for an excellent grip.
- Rubber work gloves: Rubber gloves are best suited for working on live electrical equipment as they provide insulation against electric shock. You must choose the right grade of rubber to resist the voltage levels of the equipment.
In many situations, workers may have to protect against multiple hazards at once. There are a lot of resources available to help you determine which types of gloves and materials can best protect against specific hazards. You should also make sure to use high-visibility gloves, especially at night, so you can see what you are doing with your hands.
Sizing Work Gloves
Wearing the right size gloves is important as wearing gloves that are too small or too big can be a hazard. Employers should have work gloves available in many different sizes to accommodate their workers.
You can determine what size gloves you should wear by measuring your hand. Wrap a flexible tape measure around your hand, including your thumb. The measurement you get will tell you which size you should wear:
- Extra small – 6”
- Small – 7”
- Medium – 8”
- Large – 9”
- XL – 10”
- 2XL – 11”
Understanding the potential hazards of a task and determining what type and size gloves workers should use is important for their safety. You should also consider the following factors when it comes to work gloves:
- Do the gloves need to be long enough to cover the hand and wrist or is covering just the hand enough?
- If you are working on machinery with moving parts, you should use gloves with a safety cuff. Safety cuffs allow gloves to slip off the hand if they get caught in the machinery.
- If there are vibration or impact issues, anti-vibration gloves should be used.
Inspect Gloves Before Doing the Job
Employers and individual workers must inspect their work gloves carefully before each use. Make sure to check for damage such as tears, holes, and cuts and look for discoloration and stiffness. You should also do an air or water test to ensure that the gloves are airtight. Inspections should not be skipped because even a small hole in a glove can put a worker at risk.
You can check out our guide to learn more about how to inspect insulated electrical gloves.
Work Gloves from Divergent Alliance
By making sure that you or your employees use the proper work gloves that can handle the task at hand, you can prevent finger and hand injuries that cost businesses a lot of time and money. At Divergent Alliance, we understand the importance of linemen and utility workers using work safety gloves to keep themselves protected.
We offer a range of leather and Kevlar work gloves that provide excellent hand protection for linemen. Our work gloves protect from cuts and abrasions, punctures, impact and shock, and extreme cold and heat. The 3D finger design and elastic at the wrist provide for great dexterity and fit and the leather we use is oil and water resistant.
If you need dependable work gloves for your employees, contact Divergent Alliance by calling (847) 531-0559 or submitting a contact form to learn more about our work gloves and volume pricing. We provide fast shipping anywhere in the U.S.