8 Things to Look for When Choosing Anti-Impact Gloves
Hand and finger injuries are among the top injuries in the oil and gas industry. Roughly 34% of recorded injuries are to the fingers and hands. The silver lining is there and there are simple ways to reduce these risks – using anti-impact gloves is one of them.
The tough part is choosing impact resistant hand protection (also called metacarpal protective gloves) can be confusing. A quick Google search reveals dozens of different manufacturers, varying in appearance and price. There are huge differences in the protection and durability offered by different anti-impact glove manufacturers. So here are a few tips to help you avoid the most common pitfalls.
1. Choose Comfort First:
It may seem counter-intuitive, but first and foremost look for a glove that is comfortable. Stiff and bulky gloves will never be worn by workers in the field or they will have to take them off to properly do their job, and that is when they will get injured. 70% of hand injuries occur when workers weren’t wearing hand protection. If you can get your team wearing gloves consistently, you’ve already won half the battle. But that brings up the question: “How do you know if a glove is comfortable?” Well, that is of course a subjective question, but here are a couple practical tips.
- Look for a glove that is flexible on the back of the hand. If the glove in question has a big solid block of rubber on the back of the hand – that is not a good sign.
- Try picking up a pencil with the glove and compare that to other possible gloves. You should be able to accomplish this without much difficulty.
- Back-of-hand protection needs to have lots of flex points, so that it will be more comfortable and more likely to be actually worn.
2. Back-of-Hand Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) Adhesion:
When selecting impact-resistant gloves, how the TPR is affixed to the glove matters a lot. Try picking and pulling at the TPR, if it peels even slightly, it won’t hold up in the field. Most anti-impact welding gloves have TPR sewn on with Kevlar®. Glued on TPR pads rarely hold up, but an alternative option to sewing is sonic welding like our Dexterity® Impact-Resistant String-Knit Gloves.
3. Anti-Impact Padding Coverage:
Does the TPR cover the important impact points? Look particularly at the fingertips and thumb.
This is an image of a gloves with poor TPR coverage at finger tips:
This is an example of good fingertip TPR coverage:
At the time of this writing, there is a lack of a uniform standard for impact protective gloves, however it is coming.
That said, different manufacturers have had their gloves tested to different impact standards.
Some testing is better than none. Look for numerical test results, rather than visual demos, which can be doctored to have snake oil effect and can be very misleading.
While your glove won’t last forever, it’s nice to have a durable pair of gloves.
For jobs that are rough on gloves, synthetic leather won’t be enough protection and genuine leather can be expensive. Look for a glove with a high abrasion-resistant palm using material like Armortex®.
Developed as a bullet and blast-resistant material in the security and defense sector, Armortex® lends its protective properties to state-of-the art glove fabrication.
Gloves with Armortex® are extremely strong and tear-resistant and feature unparalleled protection against puncture and abrasion.
6. Grip Depends on the Environment:
Don’t judge the grip of a glove when dry, which can be misleading.
If the gloves are to be used in oily environments, the grip should be tested in an oily environment.
Look for a material that has some oil absorption that won’t allow oil to pool on the surface.
The best material for oil grip are synthetic porous materials or corded cotton. Synthetic leather with dots generally provides poor oil grip.
7. Palm coat Versus Mechanics Style:
More and more palm-coated anti-impact gloves are now available; the advantage of these is they are generally less expensive and provide better dexterity. The downside is they are generally not as durable as mechanics style gloves and don’t provide quite the same level of anti-impact protection.
8. TPR Versus D3O®:
Just as technology advanced for cut-resistant gloves, so too have technological impacts improved anti-impact gloves. TPR is a great anti-impact material for most common hazards like pinch points and knuckle bashing. But when it comes to high-impact hazards like working on oil rigs, D3O® is the best option.
Following those 8 steps, you can choose the best anti-impact gloves for your industry.
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