Gloves protect construction workers from a wide range of hand and finger on-site injuries.
Without protective gloves, workers might be exposed to thermal or chemical burns, electrical shocks, cuts, bruises, abrasions, or harmful substances that can cause serious hand and finger injuries.
When choosing protective gloves for construction work, you need to consider the type of work and the hazard level for your particular environment.
Some factors to consider are dexterity, cut resistance, and impact resistance.
For instance, workers using sharp tools require cut-resistant gloves. Those exposed to hazardous substances need chemical-resistant gloves.
Industry leaders continue to innovate in this space and develop cutting-edge protective gloves for construction work.
Gloves have been worn throughout history for various purposes, including protection during work and as a fashion statement. Glove-wearing has been traced back to the Ice Age, as cave paintings show people wearing mittens.
One of the oldest gloves was found in King Tut’s tomb. It’s believed he wore them while riding his chariot.
According to Homer’s The Odyssey, Greeks wore gloves to protect their hands while gardening. The Romans are also believed to have worn gloves for war, while the Persians wore them to protect their hands from the cold.
Leather gloves were prevalent during the Middle Ages. In fact, in the mid-1500s, William Shakespeare’s father, John Shakespeare, was one of Stratford’s 22 fine leather glove makers.
During the middle ages, blacksmiths wore sheepskin gloves to protect their hands from molten burns. Knights also wore them for protection during jousting tournaments.
The Industrial Revolution saw a massive increase in the use of gloves for protection against harsh working conditions.
D.F. Morgan patented the first modern work gloves in 1896. His improvements created an affordable and comfortable work glove for rail workers and laborers.
Several patents would later follow with improvements such as a general work glove and a washable gauntlet glove. These improvements made way for more specialized gloves for different industries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 made it mandatory for construction workers to wear protective gloves when handling hazardous materials. Gloves for construction are now heavily regulated. They must meet certain standards in order to be approved by OSHA.
Up until this time, leather, jersey, and cotton were primarily used to make safety gloves. However, materials like leather made it challenging to hold a firm grip. This actually increased the chances of accidents.
Thus, OSHA mandated that safety gloves be specific to certain tasks and materials. Consequently, leather was replaced by synthetic fabrics such as nylon and Kevlar. These materials keep workers comfortable and have high abrasion, cut, and puncture resistance.
Innovations in protective gloves have been driven by the need for greater efficiency when working with specific materials or in hazardous environments.
More and more manufacturers are making gloves from cut-resistant materials. Gloves that have steel or fiberglass in their fibers can prevent extreme cut hazards and cover all cut levels up to ANSI Cut Level A4+.
Some fibers can protect from cut levels above ANSI Cut Level 2.
Glove shell materials determine the strength and safety of gloves. Most glove materials are designed to offer balance, precision, and comfort.
Many manufacturers use materials such as high-performance polyethylene, nylon, Kevlar, and neoprene to create lightweight but strong gloves.
These materials have excellent tactile sensitivity. Thus, you can easily grip small objects without losing protection.
Kevlar fibers, for instance, are abrasion resistant, durable, and offer heat protection, keeping hands cool.
Most construction gloves have a coating that makes them waterproof and chemical-resistant. This protects workers’ hands from harsh chemicals that can cause irritation or skin damage.
A game-changer in glove coating is the double-dip.
This allows for enhanced fingertip grip in wet and dry conditions. The process involves dipping the glove into a liquid-applied polymer twice. Doing so creates an extremely strong layer that can also provide insulation from electricity.
Nitrile-based glove coatings and latex-coated gloves are popular for construction gloves. They provide an effective grip, flexibility, and durability.
Nitrile has the highest puncture and abrasion resistance among glove coatings. Its tough coating stands up well to oils and is often used by those working with hazardous materials.
Cut-resistant yarns, such as nylon, are reinforced with inner core materials such as fiberglass. The outer yarn wrap might last years, and it’s easy to tell when it breaks down. However, it’s not easy to tell when core materials start to wear down.
Innovations in yarn technology have led to different methods of yarn wrapping, including coreless yarns.
These yarns are ideal for workers with sensitive skin and those prone to contact dermatitis. This is because they don’t contain any core materials that can irritate the skin.
Coreless yarns also provide excellent grip and are more pliable since they don’t have an inner core making them less likely to tear.
If you’re looking for the best safety gloves on the market, here’s a list to help you out:
These multi-layered neoprene nitrile gloves have a double-dipped coating, which ensures a better wet and dry grip.
Kimtech Prizm Xtra gloves are made from a combination of polymers, enabling them to protect against a wide range of chemicals. They provide improved comfort and protection with excellent tactile sensitivity.
Ironclad durable and lightweight gloves are designed to resist heat, oils, and stains while providing a superior grip on wet or dry surfaces.
Ironclad gloves have a three-layer construction that protects against cuts, punctures, and abrasions.
CLC Custom Leathercraft 160L are heavy-duty, thicker gloves designed to resist abrasion. They have reinforced seams on the palms and fingertips and extra padding on the knuckles for extra protection.
The gloves are also machine washable and offer excellent dexterity. This makes them perfect for workers that require precise movements.
Innovations in protective gloves have made them safer, more comfortable, and more effective at protecting workers against hazardous environments.
From cut-resistant yarns to double dip coatings, the advancements in glove technology have revolutionized safety equipment for work environments.
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