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Ask The Experts: Trends in Hand Protection - Part 2


November 16, 2017

Shane Wood - National Category Manager Hand Protection for Blackwoods


The past decade has seen tremendous innovation in hand protection. Glove solutions are now more advanced than ever before, with designs and features tailored specifically to the job at hand.

Expectations have increased around the productivity and safety afforded by gloves, propelling each of the world’s top hand protection companies to ongoing investment into the research and development of new technologies.

In this three part series focussing on the state of hand protection in 2017, we speak with experts from four of the world leading brands to find out about major trends, new technologies and how to ensure correct glove selection.

What are the 3 most important things to consider in glove selection?

Dean Clark - Senior Marketing Manager for Ansell

We certainly recommend starting with a solid understand of what workers are trying do with their hands – and striking that tricky balance between having a different glove for every different task, which is hard for workers to deal with and even harder for businesses to manage, and having a heavily restricted range of options that doesn’t meet the needs of workers.

Once you really understand how workers hands are being used throughout the day, and the different things they are dealing with, then you can start the process of finding the right options that deliver on comfort, performance and protection.


Michael Riggall - Director Business Development and Product Management for uvex

Selection has to be focused on the hazard, the risk and the task, anything else can come later.

If the decision to issue hand protection has been taken by an organisation, then the hazard and potential for injury has be identified. The next piece in the selection puzzle is the task that the wearer needs to perform whilst wearing the hand protection. This is where we look at topics around such things as grip required, exposure to substances such as oil and grease, heat (both from wearing the glove and possible external radiant sources), for how long a period will the glove be worn etc.

But ultimately, a task or tasks need to be performed, often for long periods in varying climate conditions. 

Michael Popkiss – National Key Accounts Manager for Mechanix Wear

The days of “one-size-fits-all” work gloves are over, and good riddance. It’s tough to get people excited about hand protection, but new and developing trends in hand protection will certainly make working hands happy. The amelioration of “super materials” and new protective technology, combined with anatomically correct glove designs will not only ensure safety and durability, but comfort that lasts day in and day out.

When it comes to selecting the right work glove, it’s important to consider the following: glove type, protection level and comfort & build quality.


Wade Roberson - National Sales Manager for Safety Mate

1) Comfort – the two main factors that influence comfort are

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breathability and ergonomics/ glove fit. Gloves that are 360° breathable, ensure hands sweat less and thus cooler and easier to wear for longer periods of time. Gloves that fit well through form fit and feel will reduce hand fatigue, increase dexterity and provide greater comfort ensuring employees are able to get the job done effectively, efficiently and safely.

2) Performance/ protection – there are a few factors to consider here: a) Determining what protection is required and level of protection – i.e. cut, impact, chemical etc. this would be based  on what the main risks on site for hand injuries. b) Ensuring that the protection provided by the glove does not create any performance issues where the employee can not do their job effectively or safely. i.e. providing a glove with cut resistance that does not provide sufficient grip that creates dangerous slip potential and c) durability – gloves that last longer are more cost effective (and also reduce unnecessary waste/ landfill).

3) Handcare – the skin is the biggest breathing organ in the human body. Many of the glove coatings these days have not been tested to determine their hygiene, allergy or dermatologically effects on the skin and importantly, if brought into the bloodstream through the skin, the effects they may have on the body’s organs. Look for glove suppliers that provide a guarantee that their gloves are “Skin-friendly” and have been certified as such