According to Occupational Health and Safety, in 2016 injuries to the hand accounted for 13 percent of nonfatal workplace accidents. While one of the best ways to protect against hand injuries on the job is to wear work gloves or similar protective equipment, wearing a glove that does not suit the needs of your work environment can be just as dangerous as wearing no glove at all. To ensure your work gloves are effectively protecting workers, you must consider what level of glove strength and type of protection is necessary to properly protect your work force.
When searching for a protective disposable work glove with added strength, consider those with a high force at break, tensile strength or level of puncture resistance which are ASTM standards. Both force a break and tensile strength typically appear on a glove specification sheet. Force at break measures the force needed to break the glove material when stretched in a controlled laboratory setting. Tensile strength utilizes the force at break value and then adjusts it to consider the thickness of the glove as well. Puncture resistance is measured by the force needed to puncture a sample of the glove material using a pointed stylus in a controlled testing environment.
In general, nitrile tends to be the most durable disposable glove material and has the highest puncture resistance. A glove’s formulation and thickness can also impact the strength so it’s important to look at the force at break and level of tensile strength on the specification sheet. The higher the numbers, the more durable the glove. Latex disposable gloves also offer good durability and typically have greater resistance to rips and snags because of their higher elasticity.
When identifying the right gloves for your workforce, it is important to be vigilant of your workers’ needs and understand the full range of their everyday tasks to ensure they are protected around the clock. Some suggest polling employees to catch a glimpse into their everyday protection needs before selecting a glove for your workforce. Regardless, managers should select a work glove that will hold its strength and continue to protect workers day-in and day-out.