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Fit the bill with hand protection

Uncomfortable safety gloves increase the likelihood of workers not wearing hand protection when they should, putting them in danger of workplace injury.

With this in mind, Ansell personal protection equipment (PPE) includes the latest advances in fit and comfort.

"Today, the shape and size of the hand is getting more attention than ever. Safety glove manufacturers strive to improve the shape, sizing dip formers, and knitting design and stitch density," says Ansell’s American senior vice-president of science and technology, Dr Michael Zedalis.

Supply and data demand

When asked how people commonly misuse hand protection products, Dr Zedalis' response was that it is not something employees are doing wrong, but instead what some hand protection suppliers are doing wrong.

"I am more concerned with suppliers overstating their products' performance or protection,” he says.

"In many marketing brochures, companies promise improved chemical or cut protection, breathability, dexterity, etc. But they fail to provide data that support these claims."

To protect yourself against false claims, Dr Zedalis recommends buyers challenge glove suppliers to "show me the data".


Safety gloves sense and sensibilities

"Whoever is purchasing hand protection equipment needs to have a good sense of what workers need,” he says.

"If a worker, for example, needs cut protection, the individual selecting the safety gloves should also attempt to define other performance needs such as tactile sensitivity, dexterity and breathability.

"The best PPE will meet the required protective specifications and as many of the secondary requirements as possible."

But ultimately compliance often comes down to comfort.

"If the safety glove does not fit well, workers may be less likely to wear it, which makes other critical elements like product specs, design and safety moot points," Dr Zedalis says.

Size DOES matter: do the handy work

TO KNOW what size work safety gloves you need, you must first know the hand size.

The best method is to first measure around your hand, above the thumb and below the fingers.

A dressmaker’s tape measure is ideal for this. But you can also wrap a strip of paper around your hand, mark the length and then flatten the paper out to find the length on an ordinary ruler.

Then do the maths. Your hand diameter measured in centimetres divided by 2.5 will determine the safety glove hand size.

When the measurement is just above a work glove size, it’s usually best to go to the next size up.

This will avoid hand fatigue from a protection glove that is too small. (If using inches to measure hand size, the work glove size is equal to the number of inches rounded up to the nearest half-inch.)

With this hand measurement, your safety glove size will be about the same no matter what type of Ansell hand protection you need, be it thick cut protection gloves padded with insulation, thin disposable safety gloves or the large range in between.