Written on Friday, June 5, 2009
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hands and fingers are the most commonly treated body parts of the many injuries treated annually in emergency rooms across the country. With safety awareness and the use of proper work gloves, hand and finger injuries can be prevented.
The OSHA regulation 1910.138 mandates employers to select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards. These hazards include potential hand injury from skin absorption of harmful substances, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, thermal burns, and harmful temperature extremes.
Work gloves are categorized by the hazard they prevent, and also the material they are made of. Some examples include:
Cut Resistant – Leather, canvas, or cloth work gloves provide general purpose protection against cuts, abrasions, dirt, and burns. Metal mesh work gloves also provide protection against cuts when handling sharp objects. Work gloves made of DuPont’s Kevlar provide great cut resistance and are also very lightweight and flexible.
Coated work gloves are great for general-purpose abrasion protection with added slip-resistant qualities and more dexterity.
Heat Resistant – Leather and canvas work gloves also protect against sustained heat. Aluminized work gloves provide reflective and insulating protection against high temperatures and flames.
Chemical Resistant – Made from neoprene, latex, vinyl, and PVC, chemical-resistant work gloves are designed for handling chemicals and hazardous substances that may damage the skin. These materials may be in the form of a disposable glove, or can be blended or laminated for better performance. It is important to know which type of work glove will protect you from the substance with which you are working with. Many glove manufacturers offer chemical-resistance charts to aid in the selection process.
Electrical Protection – Insulating rubber gloves are designed for electrical work, and must meet certain requirements, as stated in CFR 1910.137.
Remember, all possible engineering and work practice controls should be used to eliminate and reduce hazards in the workplace. When work gloves are necessary, they should be selected carefully and used properly.
Written by: Carissa Kelley