Why Proper Glove Fit is Essential for Protecting Your Employees
When workers believe that their personal protective equipment (PPE) slows them down, or is uncomfortable, they’re more likely to ignore PPE requirements.
But PPE is only indicated when a hazard has been identified that cannot be eliminated or engineered out of a process.
Workplaces make concerted attempts to engineer work processes so that the need for PPE is minimized.
But when hazards cannot be fully controlled, PPE, which may include work gloves, is provided for employee safety. Hand injuries send around a million workers to emergency departments every year, so the importance of hand protection cannot be overstated.
Here are five reasons the fit of work gloves is essential to better workplace safety.
1. Safety Gloves That Don’t Fit Properly Don’t Offer Sufficient Hand Protection
When work gloves don’t fit properly, they simply do not offer the hand protection necessary for their purpose.
All PPE, including goggles, shoes, and head protection, must fit properly to provide proper protection. Taking time to measure your employees’ hands for gloves, and to measure employee hands whenever safety gloves are replaced is an investment that pays off in terms of maximizing hand protection on the job.
2. Properly Fitted Work Gloves Improve Dexterity and Reduce Fatigue
In most cases, work gloves provide hand protection as well as a grip interface.
Proper and consistent fit allows for maximum dexterity without compromising protection.
Poor work glove fit makes gloves feel cumbersome and decreases manual dexterity (when too large), or is too constrictive to allow dexterity and can increase hand perspiration (when too small).
Properly fitted work gloves are essentially tools, and the right sized tool for the job is always best.
Need some help ensuring your gloves fit correctly? Check out our handy Sizing Guide.
3. Safety Gloves That Fit Properly Reduce the Force Needed by Hand Muscles
When safety gloves don’t fit right, they increase the amount of force required by hand muscles since hands have to work harder to compensate for a glove being too loose or too tight.
Either way, the result is increased fatigue and increased risk of injury. A one-size-fits-all approach to work gloves may save some money and time up front, but it won’t provide the hand protection your employees need to consistently work without injury.
4. When Work Gloves Fit, Wearing Them Becomes Second Nature
Think about your regular clothes: When something doesn’t fit, you find excuses not to wear it.
The same is true for PPE, including gloves.
Now think about your favorite clothing articles.
Chances are you turn to them repeatedly because they fit well.
With safety gloves, proper fit makes putting on gloves second nature, simply one of the necessary steps in preparing for work. When they don’t fit properly, it’s all too easy to find excuses not to wear them.
5. The Right Work Gloves Can Reduce Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
Gloves aren’t only about protecting hands from chemicals, repetitive strain injuries, cuts, and punctures.
Hand and arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) affects up to two million people per year.
Typically it’s caused by vibrating tools like chainsaws. Gloves designed to dampen the vibrations transmitted from tools to hands can make a significant difference in preventing HAVS, but they must fit properly if they are to offer maximum protection and preserve dexterity.
Proper Safety Glove Fit Is One of the Smartest Safety Investments
Measuring wearers’ hands before ordering work gloves takes a little extra time, but the effort is worthwhile.
Once gloves arrive, employees should try them on for fit and examine them thoroughly for consistency of fit among fingers, stitching consistency, and comfort.
Safety gloves are one of the most important pieces of PPE in use today, across a huge range of industries.
Making sure safety gloves fit prevents injuries, allows employees to work in greater comfort, and helps them complete their work better.
Need more PPE advice?
Read our ultimate guide to safety gear: The PPE Bible