With the construction industry gearing back up after the lockdown, the next topic in our blog series will look at how to find the best builders work gloves for your application. As with most industries, construction can mean different things to different people, and the range of hazards a construction worker will come up against makes finding the right PPE crucial.
In this guide, we will outline the key factors in specifying gloves for construction workers, and provide some examples along the way of the types of hand protection best suited to the construction industry.
Warm construction gloves
One of the defining features of construction work is the amount of time spent outside, and as such, one of the top priorities will always be to find warm gloves for construction workers. Thermal construction gloves are a particularly good option for the coldest months, and for sites where the entirety of the project is exposed to the elements.
We’ve covered winter construction gloves here, outlining the various factors involved and how to find the right ones. The key is to find gloves that will provide thermal protection, but also enable wearers to continue to carry out their work effectively. As we will cover throughout this blog, there are a diverse range of factors that will determine which glove is right for you.
Waterproof gloves for construction
Rain often goes hand-in-hand with the cold, and even the most insulated construction gloves will fail to keep the wearer warm if they cannot prevent water from getting through the inner lining. For locations and seasons that expose workers to cold, harsh rain, winter work gloves which are water-repellent and can offer thermal protection should be preferred. Pawā’s PG241 is a multi-norm glove that offers construction workers protection against wet and cold conditions.
Equally important as protecting hands in cold weather is to ensure comfort in warmer conditions. Anyone who has experienced the British summer will know all too well how quickly showers can move in, even when temperatures remain relatively high. In these circumstances, opting for waterproof construction gloves that offer water resistance and grip, such as Pawā’s PG201, will provide the wearer with the best possible protection.
Grip and fit
Wet weather also raises the question of grip, as does any work involving lubricant or liquids. The best construction gloves will offer good grip, which ensures the wearer can carry out tasks without fear of dropping something. When you consider that a lot of construction work is carried out at height, this becomes particularly important from a health and safety perspective.
A frequently overlooked factor when it comes to grip is hand fatigue. This is closely linked with the comfort a glove offers the wearer, and how supple the material is in terms of finger movement. It’s important to note that tired hands don’t grip well, which is a recipe for disaster. Pawā gloves are ergonomically designed to minimise hand fatigue, ultimately benefitting the wearer and ensuring grip remains constant.
Another way to ensure construction work gloves offer grip is to get them fitted correctly. Product features such as an elastic cuff can help to keep work gloves in place on the wearer’s hand, but it is also important to cater for hands of all sizes. It is an element of PPE specification that is often an after-thought, but buying a range of glove sizes can increase the safety and comfort of workers. After all, one size really does not fit all.
This is a factor we have discussed throughout our blogs, and that’s because it is critical across all industries. The primary purpose of construction safety gloves are to protect the wearer, but this must not be at the expense of the ability to do their job. Construction sites are home to an enormous range of applications, which means a worker must have the dexterity to undertake several different tasks in any one day.
The other issue associated with low dexterity is the likelihood that construction workers will remove the gloves, if they find them frustrating or prevent them from completing a task effectively. This is particularly dangerous on construction sites, where hazards are everywhere, and anytime an individual removes PPE, they are putting themselves at risk. Pawā offers a range of construction gloves that provide the wearer with a high degree of dexterity and comfort, offering safety and practicality for the construction industry.
Cut and abrasion resistance
Construction sites are often home to heavy machinery and tools, and anyone operating such equipment must wear gloves that provide resistance against cut and abrasion. We’ve discussed cut resistant gloves in a previous blog in detail, but in the context of construction it is worth highlighting the PG530. This is a heavy duty glove for construction that offers a high durability, and is perfectly suited to those working with heavy machinery or cutting tools.
It’s something we have touched upon already, but the range of tasks that a construction worker has to complete makes versatility a critical element of PPE. For example, the hazards on a traditional building site compared with roadside construction mean a different approach has to be taken. Highway maintenance exposes workers to the risk of fuel and oil being thrown up by passing traffic, and in this case gloves such as the Pawā PG202 or PG510 are recommended to provide protection against dermatitis.
It is also true that removing a pair of work gloves places the wearer in danger, as does continuing to wear gloves that are not suited to the application. While there is no silver bullet for this, there are gloves that can offer protection against multiple hazards which make them appropriate for use on a construction site. Known as ‘multi-norm’, Pawā offers hand protection which is designed to keep wearers safe across multiple applications. Not only can this prove to be safer, but it can also be a more cost-effective way to protect against the range of hazards on a construction site.
Another challenge for those specifying PPE in the construction industry is the size of workforces. A construction team can be composed of anywhere between a handful of people, up to several hundred on large projects. This is where it becomes critical to purchase a range of sizes, but also to engage with the team and discuss why hand protection is so important.
One of the most effective ways to encourage employees and contractors to buy into PPE is to invite a supplier on to site for some informal demonstrations (provided social distancing rules can be followed). This enables the supplier to have the ‘quid pro quo’ with the team working on site, and talk through both the tasks they are working on, and the importance of matching them with task-specific gloves. It also provides an open and honest platform to promote the fact that this approach is the best way to make life easier on site, rather than disregarding or modifying PPE themselves.
Identifying the best construction gloves be challenging, with the range of applications and personnel throwing the notion of ‘one-size-fits-all’ completely out of the window. There are a range of options available on the Pawā website, but perhaps the most important first step is to open a dialogue with manufacturers and suppliers of PPE, to establish what type of hand protection is required.