Before handing out PPE, the jobsites need to be assessed for what type of hazards exist. Common construction tasks include handling rigging, framing studs, electrical box installation, finishing concrete, grinding or chipping concrete, saw cutting, welding, and routine material handling. This assessment helps us identify which gloves will work best.
Types of gloves that are commonly used include the following:
Leather driving gloves – used to handle rough, abrasive material like rebar, rigging, and moderate heat. The limitation on these gloves is that your sense of touch is reduced.
Rubber dipped knit gloves (Maxiflex or G-tek) – good for form assembly, carpentry, pouring concrete, chipping and grinding, and mildly abrasive surfaces. These allow you to feel nails and smaller components that you need to pick up. These are not as good with chemicals as they can absorb through the knit.
Chemical resistant gloves – good for handling stronger chemicals, and working with epoxies or corrosive chemicals
Cut resistant gloves – Kevlar – needed for higher hazard work such as handling metal studs, or glass with unfinished edges
Welding gloves – depending on the type of welding and heat generated.
Entanglement in equipment is a concern when working around saws, lathes, drill presses and machinery with moving parts. Ensure tight fitting gloves are worn around these types of equipment.
We have purchased and are making available gloves and clips to all workers. Work with your foremen to determine which types of gloves you need and carry them with you at all times. Some general contractors are going to an “all gloves all the time” policy. This includes supervisors, visitors, anyone on site. We don’t want to go to this extreme, so please wear the gloves during activities that can cause injury.
Wear the right gloves for the activity. On a previous job with another company, there was a worker who had been wearing leather driving gloves while operating a table saw. The end of the glove got snagged by a tooth in the saw and pulled his finger into the blade. He only lost the nail on that finger, but could have had his hand cut off. Two things contributed to this incident: one, he was wearing the wrong gloves, and two, he did not use a push stick.
Keep your gloves from getting lost or damaged in storage. Some gloves, such as the rubber dipped knit ones, can be cleaned with soap and water and left to dry.
If gloves are not worn, the Activity Hazard Analysis (AHA) should indicate what alternate procedures are used to reduce risk when gloves are not worn.
But, don’t wait for a supervisor to tell you when you need to wear gloves. Look around your work area, and identify any hazards. Eliminate the risk when possible, and choose the right PPE when it’s needed.