Glove Intelligent Assistant
Why is it important to find the right glove per profession?
You might remember the previous blog article talking about 5 misconceptions of gloves. Much like the misconception that one glove fits all hands, one glove cannot be fit for all working environments nor work duties. Proper fitting, or type of glove in this instance, is imperative to preventing injuries and protecting oneself from hazards in the workplace. ISHN (Industrial Health & Safety News) quotes that 30% of hand injuries were due to improper glove usage. A large part of this is a result of uncomfortability when wearing gloves for extended periods of time. Another aspect is inadequate or improper usage in the working environment. And like I said in the misconception blog post, not all gloves are equal. Different material gloves will result in gloves meant for different purposes. The glove industry uses a variety of latex, nitrile, vinyl, neoprene, and polyethylene as raw materials in the manufacturing process.
Latex offers great dexterity and flexibility. Thus, they are used for work environments that require precise movements, including surgery. Unfortunately, latex is a common allergen, along with not being able to handle harsh chemicals or solvents well.
Nitrile does not cause allergic reactions, making it a good alternative to latex. The material is stronger than latex gloves and more resistant to puncturing than latex or vinyl. It is resistant to oil, grease, offers strong chemical protection, and has antistatic properties. Nitrile gloves can be worn for long periods of time with high tactile sensitivity, but are less tactile than latex. Another downside is that nitrile is more expensive to manufacture. It also can’t be used with ketones, oxidizing acids or organic compounds containing nitrogen.
Vinyl is able to withstand higher temperatures, is cheaper than nitrile to manufacture (ideal for short term use), offers standard protection when handling most chemicals, is antistatic, comfortable to wear, and a good alternative for latex allergies while being resistant to oil, grease, acids and bases. However, the material is less durable than latex or nitrile, less sensitive to touch, less puncture or chemical resistant, and not ideal when handling most organic solvents or water-based solutions.
Neoprene is another good alternative for latex allergens. It returns to original shape easily after being stretched, is highly dense, impact resistant, cut resistant, and resistant to tears. The material has resistance to degradation from sunlight, weather, oxidation, ozone, aging, freons, and mild acids. Neoprene protects against most solvents, oils, and mild corrosive materials but it is not waterproof. Another negative is that the material is easily permeable and it can become too stiff and rigid when used in temperatures less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Not to mention the material is expensive to manufacture.
Polyethylene is another material that is both latex allergen free and cost effective. The material is cheap, making it easy to mass produce and good for frequent glove changes. In addition to that, polyethylene gloves have a loose fit for easy wear. However, it is a weak material in terms of protection. Like neoprene, polyethylene is not waterproof, easily permeable, and easily tearable. The material is unable to withstand harsh chemicals.
Each material results in different glove thickness too. Glove thickness can affect comfort and grip, which are both important quality of life criteria on long work days. The different properties of each material inevitably regulate them for different uses and industries as well.
How can we determine which gloves are suited for which industry and work environment?
Our SW Sustainability website has just the tool to determine this! We have a search engine that we put together called the Glove Finder. It can be found under its own tab from the main homepage.
On the left hand side you can search for our products by the industry you intend to use them for (i.e. construction, food, healthcare, chemical, etc). If you are looking for specific hazard protection properties, you may search by that category in the second bracket. Further below, you may search for the type of glove (i.e. chemical, mechanical, single use). There is also a category for glove lengths, which we cater from 9.5 to 13 inches. Much of this article talks about different glove material types which is included as a category to search for in the Glove Finder below glove lengths. The last two categories you can search for are liner material and grip. Liner material can be for extra chemical protection, easy breach and puncture detection, or comfortability. Grip is for the preferred amount of tactility and stability when wearing the glove. The search engine accounts for all the possible criteria our customers use in determining which of our products they are looking to purchase. For those who are unsure which kinds of gloves they are looking for, please feel free to experiment with the search engine!