One of the most common misconceptions is that a thicker glove is a better glove. Nowadays, through advances in research and development, many 3 mil gloves offer the same or even better tensile strength than a standard 5 mil glove. Therefore, it is important to consider other factors, such as the type of food product being handled and which grip pattern is best suited for it, when choosing disposable gloves.
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In many food processing applications, workers wear a disposable or liquid protective glove over a cut-resistant or thermal glove to increase grip or help protect the under-glove from becoming wet or soiled quickly. Because disposables are relatively thin and flexible, they are well-suited for this purpose as bulkiness is kept to a minimum.
The environment ambient temperature where the gloves will be worn, the tasks the workers will be performing, the length of contact with extreme cold or heat, and the type of materials being handled (wet, chemicals, or raw food products) are things to consider when choosing the right glove for thermal protection. For example, working outdoors in the cold or working in a freezer environment will require two different pairs of gloves. The same holds true for heat protection gloves. In both cases, the greater the protection required (extreme heat or cold and more than 15 minutes of continual contact), the thicker and heavier the gloves will need to be.
Some thermal gloves are designed to be used along with others. In many meat processing applications, a cold protective thermal liner is worn under a cut protective glove or a liquid protective liner over a cut protective glove. For cold storage or freezer applications, a cold protective liner is sometimes worn under a general purpose or liquid protective glove.
There are many different factors at play when hand protection is really taken seriously. Going through the entire cycle of analyzing your own specific needs and picking the right product may seem like a daunting task. However, making the wrong choice can prove to be an expensive mistake. And it’s not just in the employees’ interest. Taking the right safety measures will increase your business’ efficiency, improve productivity, and help lower costs.
Quinn is senior director, specialty markets, Global Business Unit at Ansell. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.