October 2019

Safety Tip: October

Get a Grip

Your workers’ hands are the tools of their trade. How well do they look after those tools? Without the right protection hands may get burned, frozen, cut or scraped. Workers could lose fingers, thumbs or even their lives. That’s why safety gloves were invented. But not everyone is getting the message. The majority of all hand injuries reported annually are caused by failure to use proper hand protection. To protect your hands, your gloves need to fit properly: Too tight, and you’ll fight to get your fingers to work; too loose, and you won’t be able to get a good grip. With loose gloves you will also risk trapping your fingers in a pinch point. Different materials offer different types of protection. Gloves should be replaced once they become worn or damaged. 

Examples of different types of gloves.

  • Cotton: is cheap, reusable and absorbs sweat. It’s not long-lasting though, and offers little protection from severe hazards. 
  • Leather: resists punctures, abrasions, sparks and impact, but has limited dexterity and cut resistance. 
  • Rubber: natural rubber, nitrile and PVC gloves are best for chemical resistance, but they offer limited protection against burns and cuts. 
  • Metal: metal-reinforced gloves and newer fibers such as Kevlar are lightweight and resist cuts well. Some fibers also resist heat. 
  • Chemicals and Fluids- No material keeps out all chemicals. Choices include natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile rubber and many others. Ask your glove vendor for a chemical resistivity chart. The best information may be the safety data sheet (SDS) accompanying each chemical.

Tips for Your Workers: 

  • Check for defects every time you use hand protection. Find holes in rubber gloves by filling the glove with air or water. 
  • Barrier creams provide limited protection against alkalis and acids. These products are sometimes used with gloves. 
  • Your hands also need to be kept clean to prevent infection. A pre-moistened, heavy-duty hand towel can remove heavy grease and grime at your workstation or jobsite. Wash your hands before applying gloves or barrier cream, and at the end of the workday. 

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