When choosing the best gloves and sleeves for heat-resistance, there is no one-size-fits-all. In fact, this is one hazard where the perfect fit is the only fit. Choosing gloves or sleeves with too much or too little heat protection can result in either your employees not being able to properly do their jobs (or worse, not wearing their gloves at all) or suffering burn injuries. Choosing the wrong gloves or sleeves for your needs can also be expensive, both in price and costs due to injuries. When it comes to heat resistance, you need to find the Goldilocks fit.
To find your Goldilocks fit, you’ll need to do the following:
- Identify Your Heat Hazard(s)
- Measure Your Heat Threat
- Consider Ancillary Hazards and Needs
Next, we’re going to look closely at each of those requirements so you’ll be able to find your own heat-resistant Goldilocks fit.
1. Identify Your Heat Hazard(s):
If you have a heat or flame hazard you need to protect your employees from, simply choosing a heat-resistant glove or sleeve and hoping it works is not going to be effective and may actually harm your employees. For instance, a glove or sleeve with too little heat protection may result in injury and too much may have so much bulk your employees can’t perform their duties (they may remove the gloves or sleeves completely). To ensure you choose a glove that is going to properly protect your employees and deliver the best value, you’ll need to perform a hazard analysis (or as we call it, a The Superior Advocate Program).
To accurately identify your heat hazard, consider the following three questions:
- Is the heat dry or moist? Dry heat is best protected against by string-knit gloves, while moist heat (e.g. steam, hot water) is best protected against by neoprene-dipped gloves.
- Is there an open flame or spark? Not all heat-resistant gloves and sleeves are fire-resistant, so if open flame or spark is an added threat, you’ll need to ensure your gloves and sleeves are treated with a fire-retardant chemical.
- Is the heat threat thermal or ambient? Whether the employee will be coming into direct contact with the heat source (e.g. picking up hot metal) or the heat threat is coming from the temperature in the room makes a difference in which material you choose.
Note: When dealing with a thermal threat, also consider the following:
• How much does the item weigh? Generally, heavier items will require more contact than lighter ones.
• Is there a cool-down period? Gloves and sleeves will trap heat; if there isn’t time to cool down between uses, you will require added insulation.
• How long will the item be held? The longer an item is held, more heat that will transfer from the item to your gloves or sleeves.
If you think your company could benefit from a professional glove audit, click here to sign up for Superior Glove’s Advocate Partnership Program. A safety professional will come out and evaluate your workplace for hazards – both obvious and hidden – and recommend a comprehensive personal protective equipment (PPE) program for safety gloves and sleeves based on their findings. All this at no cost to you!
2. Measure Your Heat Threat:
The next step is to determine the exact temperature of your heat threat. For this task, we recommend using an infrared thermometer to ensure an accurate reading of the exact temperature you’ll need to protect against. Determining the exact temperature of the heat threat you’re facing may seem superfluous but is necessary for both protecting your employees and potentially saving you a lot of money.
Overestimating Heat Threats
If the actual heat hazard in your workplace is 800°F but you overestimate the threat to be 1,500°F, the gloves you choose to protect your employees will be unnecessarily bulky and could impede their ability to do their job. If the gloves aren’t comfortable or don’t allow the dexterity required to perform tasks, employees may remove their gloves altogether, risking serious burn injuries. Gloves that provide more heat-resistance also tend to be more expensive, meaning you will be paying extra to protect your employees from risks that don’t exist.
Underestimating Heat Threats
The perils of this should be obvious: By underestimating the heat hazards, you are exposing your employees to the risk of injury. The injuries could even be compounded by the fact that employees may exercise less caution as they are wearing PPE they believe will offer protection.
3. Consider Ancillary Hazards and Needs
Once you’ve established what level of heat protection you’ll need, the last step is to determine what other performance needs you require to achieve a true Goldilocks fit.
Having appropriate dexterity for a particular task is as crucial as having the proper heat protection. If your employees can’t perform their job properly because their gloves are too bulky, either their productivity slows, or they take the gloves off completely, exposing their bare hands to burn hazards. There are plenty of great gloves offering heat-resistance and excellent dexterity, so it’s important to know that’s what you need before beginning your search.
You’ll also want to consider what other hazards your employees are likely to come in contact with, such as fire or puncture wounds, to ensure you choose a glove that addresses all concerns. There are so many great multi-function gloves on the market there’s no need to sacrifice safety from one hazard to adequately protect against another.
Finding Your Goldilocks Fit
Suppose that after conducting your hazard analysis, you identify a high-heat threat and measure that heat threat at 600°F with your infrared thermometer. This means that whatever glove you choose, it will need to have high heat protection.
In this scenario, you might consider Superior Glove’s Cool Grip® Extreme Heat or our Cool Grip® Polyester Glove with Silicone Strip Palm.
Both provide excellent heat-resistance, able to withstand heat environments that are 600°F and hotter; however, there are distinctions that can mean the difference between finding that Goldilocks fit and going back to the drawing board. Our Extreme Heat glove is made from a Kevlar®/carbon-fiber knit shell, making it not only resistant to heat, but also to cuts. Conversely, our Polyester Glove with Silicone Strip Palm provides for the best freedom of movement in a high-heat glove, allowing longer contact in high-heat conditions due to the silicone strips.
Cool Grip® Extreme Heat
Cool Grip® Polyester Glove with Silicone Strip Palm
To find your Goldilocks fit, the last step of identifying other hazards or requirements is crucial. If dexterity is important to the task that will be performed, then your Goldilocks fit would be the Polyester Glove with Silicone Strip Palm; however, if there is a risk of cuts involved in the task, then the Extreme Heat would be your Goldilocks fit.
Follow the steps in this blog and you’ll be sure to find the Goldilocks fit for your organization!
Sound like a lot of work? Click the button below to schedule your customized Glove Audit and let us do the heavy lifting!