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Fit Like a Glove: Selecting the Most Effective Glove Solution

17th November 2019

When it comes to providing protection in the workplace gloves are essential. Selecting the most effective solution to help hands stay safe in the workplace depends on certain criteria:

  • What substances will be handled
  • Any other hazards to take into consideration
  • Type of contact and duration
  • Type of task to be undertaken
  • Individuals’ specification – size and comfort.

No one pair of gloves can offer protection against all substances and differ in design, thickness and material.

There are a range of European standards that gloves need to comply with. For instance to project working hands from chemicals/substances you should opt for gloves that meet standard EN374-3 whereas gloves giving protection from wet work require a glove that meets the standard EN374-2 which demonstrates the gloves are waterproof.

Most manufacturers of gloves provide product information using three key terms:

  • Breakthrough time – this relates to the time a chemical takes to permeate through the glove – permeation is the process by which a chemical can pass through a material without gaining access via pinholes or pores or other openings. This gives an overview of longevity of glove.
  • Permeation rate – amount that then permeates through. Select a low rate as the higher the rate the more of the chemical will move through the glove.
  • Degradation – various chemicals can have different affects to glove material making it harder, swell or softer. This term relates to the deterioration of the glove material when coming into contact with a specific chemical. Always choose gloves with an excellent or good degradation rating.

Size and comfort is key and gloves should fit the worker wearing them because they can make hands feel tired or loose grip if they are too tight and if they are too big folds can be created that affect working processes.

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