Cuts, lacerations, and punctures are no joke on the job. The injuries can mean an average of four days away from work. They’re some of the most common types of injuries in the workplace, but with the right equipment, workers and job sites can reduce the risk. Protective gloves are an important step to ensuring a safe environment for every worker.
Prevention is Key
Preventing cuts on the job starts by eliminating unnecessary hazards or risks. Never think that a cut won’t happen to you. Gloves, like other PPEs are an important added layer of security. Handling rough, sharp, or otherwise dangerous items shouldn’t be done barehanded when gloves could prevent injury.
Gloves are rated along the ANSI/ISEA standards in America and the EN388 in Europe, Asia, and Australia. For ANSI, gloves are rated on a scale of 1-5. For jobs where you’re handling glass, you want the toughest rated gloves at 5. For jobs where there is minimal risk or you’re handling non-hazardous material, a glove at 1 or 2 will work just fine.
Pick a Glove that Fits
Of course, the gloves can’t help if they stay in your pocket. Ill-fitting or uncomfortable gloves are less likely to be worn, opening workers up to more preventable injuries. There are plenty of gloves on the market to choose from. Picking the right size and material will ensure a more comfortable fit. It’s important to consider the job being done when picking the right cut proof gloves. Different gloves may be better suited for the job than others.
Consider the task at hand. How flexible do the gloves need to be? Cut resistance gloves trade strength for dexterity. The tougher the glove, the bulkier it will be. Do they need to be able to resist extreme temperatures? Many cut proof gloves are dipped in protective coating. Make sure to note if it can resit high or sub-zero temperatures. Will they conduct electricity? It goes without saying that when you’re working with electricity, you don’t want your hands to be coated in something that isn’t nonconducting.
Also think about what is being handled. Weight, size, and sharpness are all factors when picking the best cut resistant glove. Finer or sharper tools may require puncture proof gloves instead of cut proof.
Cut vs Puncture Proof
It’s important to remember that cut proof and puncture proof are not interchangeable. Cut resistant gloves protect from cuts and/or abrasions from tools, knives, or glass. Puncture proof gloves protect from items like needles that could pierce skin. Keep in mind the specific risks you’re trying to prevent. Wearing the wrong type of glove can lead to unexpected accidents.
Always be aware, however, that puncture and cut proof gloves are added safety, but not perfect. They reduce risk of injury, but accidents can still happen. Cut resistant gloves won’t protect from electric blades like table saws. Wearing gloves doesn’t negate the need for other safety protocols.