28 Jan Are Your Gloves Too Much for Your Job?
We are in the midst of a work glove revolution. New products are becoming available at a dizzying rate, and it’s hard to make intelligent buying choices when your head is spinning. Would it surprise you to learn that distributors and wholesalers are also struggling to keep up with the explosion of new products in search of the best ways to present them to the end user?
Most managers and safety officers are open-minded about new products because they believe in progress. They suspect that the glove they will be buying for their workers next year will probably be more effective and less expensive than the ones they are using now, so they are eager to stay on top of the market in their desire to stay competitive. But how does one make sense of all the products in this time of flux?
Cut level is getting a lot of attention right now. For many, the only thing that they look for in a glove is the cut level number when they evaluate a glove. If this describes you, you may be interested in knowing that there are two completely different testing protocols in use, and they both use a scale of 1-5—but they are in no way equivalent. The ANSI cut level 3 glove that you passed over in favor of an EN cut level 5 glove might actually offer more cut protection despite the lower number. There is plenty of information describing the differences between the two standards if you do an online search. Without going into greater detail here, I would simply say that buying a glove for its cut level number without delving any deeper is not likely to get you the best choice of glove.
I have seen situations where a company was using gloves that were not nearly as good as they needed for the task, and I’ve seen situations where the gloves used were overly protective and adding needless overhead. In the former situation, the shop management was risking hand injuries or actually spending extra due to the high replacement rate of ill-suited gloves. In the latter, the extra money spent on gloves that protected against hazards not faced by the user would have been better spent elsewhere.
If you go through a lot of gloves in your facility, finding a trustworthy glove vendor is going to be very helpful in matching you with the right glove for the task performed. A good vendor is going to let you test a few different gloves so you can evaluate their performance in the real world conditions of your company.