In some working environments safety gloves are an essential item of safety clothing that must be worn. There are a wide variety of gloves on the market from top brands such as, Gripz, Ansell, Showa and Skytec that are available in many colours and styles to suit the needs of any employee in any workplace. Those people who work in hospitals, for example, may require disposable gloves whereas those people who work with glass will require cut resistant gloves.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) found that, in industry, approximately 250,000 wrist, hand and finger injuries happen each year, and recently nearly 8,000 of these resulted in amputations. This result supports the argument that safety gloves are very important and need to be taken seriously by employees working in hazardous environments.
The industries that make use of safety gloves in the workplace, each require different levels of protection against a variety of hazards. Some examples of what safety gloves can protect against include, thermal risks, mechanical risks, water penetration, chemical permeation, food contact, human contact and cold temperatures. There are a number of European Standards that specify the requirements of safety gloves, ranging from EN374-2 to EN1186. These standards carry out a number of tests on each glove to determine the level of protection they provide. A safety glove to protect against mechanical risks, for example, would be tested for puncture and tear resistance, cutting resistance, abrasion resistance etc. It is very important that before purchasing a pair of safety gloves the customer checks the standard the gloves conform to and the material they are made out of, because although to pairs of gloves may look the same, they may be very different. Even something as small as the material the gloves are made out of can make a huge difference to the safety protection they provide.