Did you know that the first human beings to wear gloves were the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, who considered protecting their hands a sign of high noble status? While those days are long gone, the wearing of gloves certainly hasn’t – especially at work. Whether it’s for handling dangerous chemicals, fending off infection, protecting against injury or burns or just to keep our hands clean, there seem to be a million gloves for a million different occupational reasons.
So how should you go about selecting the right work gloves for the right occupation, setting and task? It’s an important discussion that requires a clear process based on real-world considerations – which we’ve amalgamated into a list of actionable tips.
How to choose the best work gloves for your industry and task? Read on:
1. What are they for?
The obvious place to start is at the beginning – so what are your work gloves for?
As suggested in the introduction, all gloves are not created equally. Some give you a powerful grip, others offer comfort and dexterity, and others still protect from injury – and the list goes on and on. For grip, you’ll need to look at the grippy palm materials, but for protection, it depends what you’re protecting against – harsh chemicals, or your manicured nails?
2. What are your risks?
The logical next step is to assess what risks you are trying to minimise by wearing work gloves. There are splinters from handling wood and insects with stingers, in which case lighter gloves might do the trick. But if lacerations, crush and pinch injuries, burns, cold, electrical shocks, impacts or repetitive motions are your concern, thicker and more durable – and heavy – gloves are your best option. There are also materials that can repel corrosive chemicals to consider, glove designs that extend beyond the wrist, and features that provide support or compression for repetitive strain.
3. Which brand to go for?
Next, don’t look only at the headline cost of your chosen work gloves – also consider the brand. It may not seem like a serious business investment, but if those gloves don’t match up to the seriousness of the task and the reputable image of your brand, you’re simply exposing your profits to unnecessary risk. So when browsing work glove brands, what is the supplier’s reputation for performance? How is their adherence to and proven performance with relation to industry standards? Remember, you can only trust your work gloves if you also trust the manufacturer of them.
4. What material do you need?
We’ve already touched upon this above, but it’s important to emphasise just how many basic and specialist materials there actually are in the industrial world of gloves. Yes, it’s about the protection provided by that material, but also the right fit, comfort levels, and the balancing of needs and risks versus performance.
5. How about the fit?
By now, you’re starting to hone in on the specific work gloves you need. But before making a decision, don’t overlook how important the fit is. Your goal is probably to retain the dexterity and feel of the human hand with the protection or support you require, but depending on your specific needs, the really crucial factor is the correct size and style for the task in order to achieve a secure, snug fit that provides the advertised protection and help you require.
Are you ready to select the right work gloves?
As you can see, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to selecting the right work gloves. And given the importance of matching the precise product you need with the specifics of your industry and task, it’s crucial to seek expert guidance if you just aren’t sure.