Potential hazards to hands and arms include skin absorption of harmful substances, chemical or thermal burns, electrical dangers, bruises, abrasions, cuts, punctures, fractures or amputations. Protective equipment includes gloves, finger guards and arm coverings.
There are many types of gloves available today to protect against a wide variety of hazards. The nature of the hazard and the operation involved will affect the selection of gloves. The variety of potential occupational hand injuries makes selecting the right pair of gloves challenging. In general, gloves fall into the following four categories:
There are several factors besides glove material to consider when selecting the appropriate glove. The amount of dexterity needed to perform a particular manipulation must be weighed against the glove material recommended for maximum chemical resistance. In some cases, particularly when working with delicate objects where fine dexterity is crucial, a bulky glove may actually be more of a hazard.
All gloves should be inspected for signs of degradation or puncture before use. Test for pinholes by blowing or trapping air inside and rolling them out. Do not fill them with water, as this makes the gloves uncomfortable and may make it more difficult to detect a leak when wearing the glove.
Disposable gloves should be changed when there is any sign of contamination. Reusable gloves should be washed frequently if used for an extended period of time.
While wearing gloves, be careful not to handle anything but the materials involved in the procedure. Touching equipment, phones, wastebaskets or other surfaces may cause contamination. Be aware of touching the face, hair, and clothing as well.
Before removing them, wash the outside of the glove. To avoid accidental skin exposure, remove the first glove by grasping the cuff and peeling the glove off the hand so that the glove is inside out. Repeat this process with the second hand, touching the inside of the glove cuff, rather than the outside. Wash hands immediately with soap and water.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and caring for reusable gloves.
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