Are Your Hands Properly Protected?
Gloves are the first level of defense for your hands. Are you and your co-workers using the right hand protection for the chemicals you're working with? Choosing the right glove for your application is a critical first step. In order to make the correct choice collect and analyze the following information:
- Get a complete and accurate description of the tasks where gloves are required.
- Identify all hazards that may require hand protection, including chemical hazards and physical hazards like cuts, burns, etc.
- Determine how much flexibility and touch sensitivity you need for your job. This may limit the thickness of the glove material you can use. You should also determine whether or not you need a non-slip grip.
- Determine your need for durability and resistance to deterioration or other damage due to contact with chemicals, sharp objects, rough surfaces, heat, etc. This may involve reviewing technical information about products such as permeation rate, breakthrough time, penetration, and degradation.
- Assess what type of contact you'll be experiencing – occasional contact, splashes, or continuous immersion.
- Consider how long you'll be exposed to the hazard(s).
- Determine the potential effects of skin exposure, such as irritation or corrosion, as well as systemwide health effects of chemical exposure.
- Identify what training will be required. Your training should include a discussion of the hazards, glove selection, limitations of gloves, what could happen if gloves fail, safe glove removal to prevent contamination, and when to dispose of or decontaminate gloves.
- Determine what size(s) of gloves you'll need to fit you and your co-workers.
Once you gather the information you need about your specific application, you'll need to choose the type of glove that fits your application. Below is a list of glove materials that will protect your hands from chemicals:
- Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl) - protects against strong acids and strong bases. Many PVC and vinyl gloves also protect against cuts and abrasion.
- Neoprene - protects against common oxidizing acids (nitric and sulfuric) and many other chemicals.
- Nitrile - synthetic rubber material resists a wide range of chemicals, as well as punctures, cuts, snags, and abrasion.
- Sealed-Film (Laminate) - one of the most chemical-resistant materials available that protects against almost anything. Excellent for hazmat applications where the chemicals present may be in question. They do not provide a close fit, good grip, or strong physical properties. Laminate gloves are quite thin and are commonly worn as liners under other gloves that protect in ways that laminate gloves cannot.
Choosing the right glove is a critical step in protecting yourself against the hazards you and your co-workers face every day. If you have questions about which glove is right for you, our Technical Support Reps are here to help. They can give you all the information you need to make the right decision. Give them a call at 800-631-1246.
Sources: ohsonline.com; safetydailyadvisor.com