Originally published on 11/15/2017
The most used tool on any construction jobsite is the human hand. The proper work gloves can help protect against cuts, punctures, abrasions, thermal burns, vibration, chemical exposures and electrical shock. No single glove will protect from all hazards, so you should select your gloves based on the hazards that will be present on the site, the job task, work conditions and the duration of use.
Gloves are perhaps the most commonly used type of PPE. Types of gloves range from common canvas work gloves to highly specialized gloves used in specific industries.
To ensure that your gloves will adequately protect your hands:
- Wear gloves that are right for the work being performed. Check the MSDS for information on the types of gloves to be worn for specific tasks. Your company’s competent person should be able to assist in recommending the correct glove for the work task.
- Inspect your gloves prior to each use and don’t use them if they are torn or damaged. Look for change in shape, hardening, stretching, tears or holes. Chemicals can pass through even the smallest pinhole.
- Wear only gloves that fit your hand. Proper fit is important. If they are too large or small, they can be clumsy to work with, get in the way, and actually become a hazard.
- Keep the insides of your gloves clean. Contaminants inside gloves can cause blisters and burns.
- If gloves are to be reused, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper decontamination, cleaning and storage. Take note of the expected service life of the gloves and plan for expected disposal times.
Before starting a job, ask yourself the following:
- What hand hazards do we have on our site?
- What close calls with hand injuries have we had in the past? Is it possible on this job?
- Do we have the type of gloves we need onsite and ready for use?
- What can we do to improve hand hazards on this job?