When we think about personal protective equipment (PPE), we usually think about hard hats, safety goggles and fluorescent vests. Another really important item of safety clothing, though, is the glove. Depending on the nature of your business and what each individual employee is tasked with, they’ll need a specific type of safety glove, so we have come up with this handy guide to show the different types that are commonly available and where and when they are best used.
First: what are safety gloves?
Workplace safety gloves are a fairly broad category of PPE, with a few different purposes and features:
- They protect the hand from temperature extremes, cuts and grazes
- They provide added comfort when manual handling
- They improve hygiene and reduce the risk of cross-contamination
- They protect your goods and equipment
What types of safety gloves are available?
Riggers’ gloves are designed for heavy-duty hand protection, and you can often see them being used in industrial and agricultural environments. The strengthened palm, knuckle guard and reinforced cuff mean that they are great at preventing thorns or sharp edges from scratching the skin. Because these gloves are a little bulkier than a lot of work gloves they are not suited for precision work; you might struggle to handle a screw and screwdriver for example, but would be fine for lifting bulky items or handling larger tools like shears.
These are designed to cover the hand and most of the forearm, and provide protection from non-corrosive liquids like oils and grease. Also not ideal for precision work, these are mainly used for dealing with grease traps, oil barrels and the like. For situations where the user is less likely to be at risk of splashing oils and greases, PVC gloves are a cost-effective, comfortable option.
These are for the people who need maximum control and dexterity as well as protection. They allow a full range of motion, and the palm and fingers will usually be coated in a particularly grippy material to ensure that fixtures, fittings, tools and equipment are not dropped or subject to slippage.
For mechanics, look for high-grip armoured gloves designed specifically for that type of work – they have extra protection integrated into the back of the gloves to prevent injury from dropped bonnets or slammed doors.
A specialist glove that is designed for those conducting sustained work with high-vibration tools – pneumatic drills, power chisels, chainsaws etc. They minimise the vibrations from the tool passing through to the user and allow for more comfortable and productive work with fewer breaks and long-term muscle and bone issues.
These are typically fairly low on protection, but offer superior grip and comfort and keep the hands warm – ideal for pickers and other warehouse workers who are constantly lifting and placing goods, sometimes in chillers or freezers.
These are used in a range of industries from woodworking to metalwork, construction to food preparation. They are made from a combination of materials usually, including steel mesh and polyurethane coatings, to ensure that slips with knives or other bladed/sharp tools don’t necessarily always mean an injury. Different gloves have different protection ratings, so consider the level of cut resistance you are likely to need before you purchase.