Why Work Gloves Are So Important

August 3, 2014

The protective gear that people use in many different occupations is an essential part of their professional equipment. The human body is susceptible to harm from various sources, and in some jobs protective clothing is not merely an optional item. Modern industry is rife with hazards and potential injuries, so taking safety seriously is not negotiable. Choosing the right work gloves is part of that attitude.

Gloves are used to protect their wearer against several kinds of hazard. The most common one is physical injury through strain, friction or incision. Even the handles of basic tools like pliers or axes can lead to grazes and calluses, or muscular trouble. Some workers don’t wear hand protection when using these tools, since their hands are accustomed to them. But even they sometimes cut themselves or lose fingers, injuries which would not have happened if they had invested more in their safety clothing.

Temperature is another issue. Some industries make use of high-heat machinery and processes. The human hand cannot take a very high temperature or tolerate even mild heat for more than a matter of seconds. A standard, everyday item like a home geyser can cause discomfort or pain to its users. Burns are extremely serious because they can mean a lengthy layoff from work and they can also turn septic.

At the other extreme, exceptionally low temperatures also necessitate protection. Sub zero environments require gloves that shield the hands but allow satisfactory movement at the same time. There have been reports of mountain climbers who took off their gloves in an emergency situation and then contracted frostbite.

Many workers are required to handle hazardous substances or waste in the course of their duties. The human body has little or no resistance to these. Some of them are fatal or possibly carcinogenic on exposure or, in the case of medical waste, may transmit terminal diseases.

Some of the most dangerous industrial chemicals are those with corrosive properties. This usually refers to acids but there are other substances that are equally as volatile, such as the solvent benzene. A further example is caustic soda. Workers need PVC material to work with it, and the clothing does not last more than about half a day if the concentration of the soda is high enough.

Modern medical practice involves research and invasive treatment procedures. Scientists and their assistants sometimes handle deadly samples or terminal patients, so the use of protective clothing is one measure that they can use to increase their confidence and associate with the patient in the professional manner that is appropriate to their occupation. One publicized risk in present times is infection by HIV through needle-stick injuries. It is also standard practice during surgery to eliminate contact with the internal fluids and tissue of the patient. Medical staff use nitrile gloves, or sometimes the latex option, which allows the practitioner more hand motion.

Many jobs would not be possible without the use of proper protective clothing. Hand injuries can cause permanent disability and loss of income. Taking a hands-on approach to safety is far better than having regrets about negligence afterwards.

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