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In the electric, gas and telecommunication construction trades, hands rank at the top of the list of body parts most frequently injured. The following Tailgate provides an overview of work gloves and other considerations to ensure your hands remain injury-free from routine daily tasks.
Glove Use in General
Work gloves should be used for any work that requires extra hand protection such as:
• Climbing ladders or poles
• Handling tools, equipment or materials likely to have splintered, jagged or sharp edges
• Work that could result in heat or chemical burns such as handling molten solder or compounds
• Performing any operation that could cause cuts, abrasions or burns to the hand
NOTE: Exercise caution when wearing gloves around moving machinery. It might catch a glove, pulling it and the worker’s hand into the machine.
Determining What Type of Hand Protection is Required
A properly-fitted glove will protect hands against most hazards encountered in the workplace. It is important that the proper size glove is used. Gloves that are too small will cause hands to tire easily and the gloves to wear out sooner. If they are too large, dexterity and gripping ability will suffer. Fitting the glove to the workplace starts with a survey of work to be performed in order to determine hazards.
The following conditions should be monitored and considered:
• Abrasion, puncture and tear resistance
• Dexterity and flexibility
• Hand comfort
• Chemical permeability
• Thermal conditions, heat and cold
• High and low voltage
Certain situations may occur in which the use of gloves will undermine the clean application of certain materials. In these situations – see examples below – ensure the correct hand protection is utilized while working on de-energized conductors.
• Installation of any type of tape including vinyl or varnished cambric oil tapes
• Waterproofing materials
• Stress relief materials
• Mastics or Hi-K putty
• Locating the oil-insulated papers or insulation of cables
• Cleaning cable insulation
• Installation of oil-blocking tubes or materials
• Pre-insulating paper and lead splices
• Confined areas such as the junction of a three-conductor splice
The material that gloves are constructed with will depend largely on what is being handled.
• Cotton, canvas and terrycloth are the most widely used glove materials. The gloves provide good dexterity and protection against moderate heat or cold, dirt, chafing and abrasion.
• Leather is used for light and heavy-duty work. It protects against heat, sparks, rough surfaces and scraping objects, and is especially good with highly-abrasive materials. Leather provides cushion against blows.
• Split leather’s superior strength and suppleness provide long wear and comfort.
• Capeskin and goat skin are suitable for light-duty work only. They provide good dexterity.
• Jersey is a machine-knitted cloth that provides a snug-fitting glove.
• Kevlar is a DuPont fiber that, when knit into gloves, provides superior cut resistance to cotton and leather and can also withstand temperatures up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Kevlar gloves should be worn whenever using an unprotected sharp-bladed tool, open bladed knife or handsaw.
• Ergonomic gloves should be used with vibrating equipment, rotary drills, jackhammers, paving breakers and tampers.
• Chemical gloves include gloves made of butyl, neoprene, nitrile, PVA and PVC. Due to complexity of use, these will be covered under a separate Tailgate.
When you think about it, the hand is actually your most commonly-used tool. Keep your hands protected so they serve you for a lifetime of use!
About the Author: John Boyle is Vice President of Quality and Safety for InTren, an electric, gas and telecommunication construction company based in Union, Ill. Boyle has more than 26 years of experience, and has worked in nuclear and wind power generation and electric and gas distribution.video