On site visits around the world we often see wrong gloves in the wrong working environment, cotton/nylon coated gloves in construction sites, for example where moving heavy objects is required. These gloves are not the best barrier for protection.
We have observed that even in quarries and mines workers are using basic nylon coated gloves where it is clear that Cut Gloves should be used as: a/. a more robust glove on abrasion, b/. protection from sharp objects. Often this is results from a company cutting cost at the expense of workers, or simply that workers may not know better, as they are not properly educated by the safety managers, and because gloves are frequently not seen as the most important protective wear compared to say; hard hats and shoes.
This is clearly a misguided approach since according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics nearly 20% of workplace injuries involve cuts and lacerations to the hand and fingers. Hand injuries occur frequently and can be most severe – in terms of lost working days they are considered only less important than back strains and sprains. A National Safety Council study in the U.S. reports that the cost of just one disabling hand or finger injury ranges from $540 to $26,000 per patient, while cost of serious upward extremity trauma can average at $730,000 per patient.
In spite of this, people are still frequently wearing the wrong gloves, often because gloves are considered the lowest in the spectrum of safety gear they are always under the radar. Because they are consumables then people continue wearing inappropriate gloves.
So - are you specifying the right glove?
In confirmation of our experience as manufacturers the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 70% of workers experiencing hand injuries were not wearing gloves at the time, and the remaining 30% of injured workers were not wearing the right type of glove. According to the American Society of Safety Professionals, two out of every five hand injuries are from cuts or punctures.
So – are you specifying the right glove for the safety of your workers and in the best interests of your company?
A good example is the impact protection glove market where Aquila have considered using many different materials but choose to use TPE (thermalplastic elastomer) or otherwise known as TPR (thermalplastic rubber) for their impact pads for its comfort and wearability, so ensuring that users keep their gloves on and keep working longer, better and safer.
TPE/TPR is excellent for impact protection but is expensive compared to much cheaper and lower performing PVC as used in extreme low-cost items where the result is some 20-30% cheaper to make, but the trade-offs are that the PVC material is hard, hence increases hand fatigue and when PVC ages, it tends to become brittle and breaks. Also, it is less flexible and sometimes results in injury after long hours of wearing.
Aquila has also found how the impact protection pads are adhered to the gloves can determine the quality and longevity of impact gloves. For example, sewn on pads may appear good and secure but they will come off easily if the material of the pad is brittle, allowing the pad to break off very easily – a situation aggravated if the gloves are laundered with the PVC being degraded in the process.
Aquila’s primary care is the workers’ safety, and so have also developed a new approach to cut glove manufacturing with its pioneering spiral wrap (or yarn wrapping) technology, which is both more effective and cheaper over their lifetime than other methods.
The unique Alkimos yarn technology used in Aquila cut resistant gloves employs a spiral fibre winding of ultra-high- density polyethylene as a protective and structural support outer layer to the core fibre. The yarn is consequently extremely tough with the core fibre protected from mechanical damage such as breakage or fraying in the wash process. Also, if glass fibre is used in the mix of the yarn, the spiral wrapping supports core fibres in the flexing of day to day wear so ensuring a soft comfortable fit without the itchiness associated with release of glass micro-fibres. This is why gloves manufactured with Alkimos yarn are able to maintain their extremely high performance for an exceptional number of wash cycles. Repeated washing saves a considerable replacement cost, and with up to 14 washes without degradation of cut test performance Alkimos yarn means gloves can frequently exhibit double the working life compared with other mainstream products.
Ultimately a better cut yarn means a better glove, better cut resistance, better working and lower costs.