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Joelyn Yap

Minimise the damaging effects of extreme environments

There are many applications that require the use of protective gloves to combat either hot or cold conditions. Beyond ambient temperature, additional environmental influences, dexterity requirement, and glove construction qualities will help identify selection of the most suitable protection.

Selected gloves need to maintain a level of thermal comfort, while still giving the worker functional capability. Wearers must choose the protection based on their risks, because the wrong glove can be just as dangerous as no glove at all. When looking at options for thermal protection, the two key glove characteristics are insulation capacity and design.

Low temperature risks

Workers in the transport, food handling, agriculture, oil and gas, warehousing and construction sectors are frequently exposed to low temperatures. They may be required to carry out tasks in dangerously cold conditions — either indoors or out — and often for extended periods of time. Handling liquids, foods and frozen items, transporting oils or working in the open-air leaves employees susceptible to the risks associated with cold exposure.

Cold is either;
a. convective – transferred via air temperature
b. contact – direct touch with a cold object or surface

High temperature risks

Heat and fire are daily exposures present in many industries such as manufacturing, engineering, maintenance, food preparation and processing, medical, and mining. Handling hot glass, castings or wooden plates, demoulding rubber tyres or thermoplastics, using autoclaves, welding, or working close to liquid metal are all activities that put workers at risk.

Heat exposure can be;
a. convective – transferred via air temperature
b. contact – direct touch on a hot object or surface
c. radiant – dispersed by an infrared radiation source and absorbed