Work Gloves Questions Answered

News flash everyone: do not believe everything you read about work gloves! I know what all of you may be thinking, “Krystal, you write about work gloves and you are implying the need to be skeptical?” Yes, that is exactly what I am implying. A well informed consumer questions everything and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Recently many people have asked me a barrage of questions about work gloves and here they are along with some you may not have thought to ask. Enjoy!

Are expensive work gloves a better choice?

The majority of us have been taught that a more expensive price tag means the product is of better quality and performance. This is not always true. I learned this the other day while flipping through the pages of a safety supply catalog and noticed the barrage of choices in the leather palms, cuff style, leather, and price. Sad as it is to admit I have been privy to this thought process, but not anymore.

It is the choice of leather that is the most important factor when purchasing work gloves. The type of leather determines the longevity and abrasion-resistance of the glove which is definitely an issue for those people working in industrial occupations. I will tell you expensive grain leather is great for everyday winter gloves, but not necessarily suitable for its ability to repel water and dexterity. An ideal type of leather for heavy-duty work environments is split leather for its longevity, abrasion and tensile strength. The best benefit of all is split leather is less expensive than top-grain leather. I will tell you top-grain is always more expensive than split leather without increased protection to substantiate the price. So, why not save a little money and have better hand protection?

Does a Leather Patch Really Provide Additional Hand Protection?

Typical safety supply advertising has taught us to believe that more layers means increased protection. This is so far from the truth and unfair to the naïve consumer. The truth to the extra layers in work gloves is not about increased protection, but of manufacturers maximizing the full use of a hide. You see the leather patch on several pairs of work gloves is literally a patch between two pieces of leather to create a complete palm. In other words, this patch is not an additional layer for increased protection, but the manufacturer making use of their remnant pieces of leather.

See what I mean? This is very misleading to consumers. Another truth about leather patches on work gloves is if the stitching tears or the thread is worn out the palm splits in two. In this case do yourself a favor and avoid work gloves with a leather patch.

Is There a Difference in Gripping Ability with Different Grip Patterns?

The majority of us are under the impression that diamond grip patterns, sand patch grips; Z-Pattern, etc. make a significant difference in gripping abilities. Are you ready for the truth about this one? The truth of the matter is may have a small impact on handling dry objects, but minimal to no effect for wet objects. In addition to that point, various gloves with different grip patterns have relative similar performance handling wet objects. The only factor that can alter the wet gripping ability of work gloves is to alter the material compound – not the grip pattern. In other words, do not get swindled into buying a pair of work gloves just for its grip pattern.

Are Chemical Resistant Gloves Able to Tolerate Anything?

A common misconception is that chemical resistant gloves are impervious to everything. The truth of the matter is no, they are not. Every chemical resistant glove has limitations with material designed to handle select chemical compounds. There are a few important factors to consider when purchasing chemical resistant gloves – breakthrough times, degradation ratings, but the most important factor is what the glove can not come in contact with. For example, PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) gloves are extremely resilient able to withstand exposure to some of the harshest chemicals and solvents, but they will dissolve in water. A word of caution is to check a glove materials guide to find the appropriate one for your job.

Will My Hand Get Burned if My Gloves Are Heat Resistant?

Once again, consumers have been led to believe information about work gloves. This time it is a matter of heat resistant gloves will prevent your hands from getting burned. Think again, because this is a huge misconception contributing to many burn related hand injuries. The truth behind this misconception is several gloves are designed to be heat resistant meaning that the glove itself will not burn (unless it is designed with a good layer of insulation in between).

For example, Kevlar gloves are a wonderful invention for many workers, but in the event of heat they do not perform so well. Say you are wearing a pair of seven-gauge string knit Kevlar gloves and grasp an object with a temperature of 800° F. You may be under the impression that the gloves and your hand will not burn. Sadly, the gloves will not burn, but your hands will be another problem. The reason for this is that the material is designed to withstand the temperature, but the glove itself is not insulated to protect your hands. If you are a worker who works with heat then definitely purchase work gloves that are insulated to protect your hand from getting burned.

Is There Such a Thing as Cut-Proof Gloves?

Unfortunately, cut proof gloves are a myth that does not exist. Yes, I know, we would all be thrilled if there was a miracle glove material of the sort, but fortunately there is Kevlar. This is a strong cut-resistant gloves material designed to protect your hands from direct contact with sharp edges from materials such as glass and metal. Typically, workers wearing Kevlar work gloves will not sustain cuts and scrapes to their hands, but the potential is always there. A rule of thumb to keep in mind is to realize that there is not a glove in existence that is able to completely resist cuts.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it is okay to be an informed consumer and ask lots of questions. Asking lots of questions about a product is the only way to learn about it. In all honesty, this is how I attained my product knowledge – asking a ton of questions. As the saying goes, “There is no such thing as a dumb question.” If there are any questions that I did not address, please, leave a comment below and I will respond as quickly as possible. Hope this helps!

Article Source: EHS Today

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