My workers need barrier protection. Are single-use gloves tough enough?

If there is a race in the arena of single-use hand protection, it’s in the relentless pursuit of thinner gloves. And why not? Most single-use applications require high levels of dexterity, and thinner gloves typically enable more precise movement and reduce hand fatigue – an enemy of dexterity. The challenge for glove manufacturers is ensuring these thinner gloves still provide the protection needed – which has led to innovation in more robust single-use glove offerings.

Make no mistake: Protection matters. More than 1 million workers go to the emergency room with a hand injury each year, with about 10 percent resulting in lost time, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average claim associated with a hand injury is $6,000, and the average workers’ compensation claim is $7,500, according to 2014 National Safety Council injury data. With that in mind, is it possible to push the boundaries of second skin-like materials and still deliver adequate hand protection?

The answer, increasingly, is “Yes.” Innovation in the field has led to advanced materials and single-use gloves that deliver protection from a variety of chemicals, barrier protection even in the event of prolonged liquid exposure, and extended wear time without rips and tears. The key, as with any type of hand protection, is to choose the right glove for the job and application. That choice starts with a hazard assessment that evaluates the various risks in a workplace.



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