There are a number of industries, such as construction, agriculture, and transport, that involve extensive outside work. Workers in these sectors spend much of their day exposed to the elements, and while this can be viewed as a benefit during the summer months, the work doesn’t stop in winter.
With rain, sleet, wind, snow, and worst of all, the cold, all hampering an operator’s ability to do their work, it is crucial they are equipped with a good pair of winter work gloves. Designed to keep hands warm and dry in extremely cold conditions, opting for the right PPE can significantly improve the comfort and performance of wearers.
This guide will outline the key considerations for choosing warm work gloves, covering the core features to look out for, and how to make sure you are specifying the right pair for your employees.
The most important feature to look out for when working in cold weather is the thermal properties of a glove. Much like with other parts of the body, the most effective way to keep your hands warm is to ‘layer up’. While on the torso and legs this may mean wearing multiple different garments on top of one another, the latest insulated winter work gloves have built-in layers to achieve the same outcome.
• A latex micro-foam grip
• A smooth latex, highly dexterous liquid repellent layer
• A fleece-like Brushed Terry Acrylic thermal layer
By combining three distinct layers into a single glove, these extreme cold weather work gloves help to keep fingers warm during fiddly tasks.
One of the major challenges in finding the best gloves for working in the cold is making sure that wearers can still complete the tasks that are required of them. Operators may be required to do all sorts of things, from working with small components to recording stock on touch screen interfaces, all of which needs a high level of manoeuvrability.
High dexterity cold weather work gloves allow operators to work as normal, regardless of how cold the outside temperature is. The best way to ensure maximum dexterity is to opt for gloves which are designed precisely with this in mind.
Pawā’s PG400 thermolite glove is the thinnest coated thermal glove on the market, and the only single-layer Thermolite® direct dipped glove to be rated EN511 level two for protection from contact cold. This makes the PG400 extremely dexterous, allowing the wearer to use items such as handheld barcode scanners and tablet styluses accurately, without sacrificing thermal comfort.
This combination of thermal protection and dexterous freedom marks the PG400 out as the best thin winter work glove on the market, offering wearers unrivalled operational capacity even in the coldest of applications.
Waterproof work gloves for winter
Consider the warmest, wooliest, most comfortable jumper you own. Now imagine going swimming in it. It doesn’t matter how thermally proficient gloves are, if they are being used in applications that bring them into frequent and sustained contact with water, they must be waterproof to be effective.
The best work gloves for cold weather will be equipped to handle the heavy rainfall that autumn, winter, and early spring bring. Waterproof gloves, such as the PG241, contain water-repellent technology to protect the wearer’s hands during long hours outside.
In order to maximise employee comfort, preference should be given to waterproof, breathable gloves, which reduces the chances of operators taking the gloves off at any point throughout the day. We’ll cover how to encourage employee engagement later, but at this stage it’s worth noting that the best cold weather waterproof work gloves will blend thermal and water-repellent properties, alongside maximum comfort for the wearer.
Cold weather grip gloves
Linked closely with dexterity, the grip of a glove has a massive impact on an operator’s ability to do their job, not to mention a host of safety issues. While grip is often jeopardised by wintry weather, it can also be affected by liquids that operators are working with.
This becomes a particularly important issue when working with sharp objects, as one slip can lead to disastrous consequences for operators. In these circumstances, thermal gloves that feature grip as well as cut-resistance properties are the best option.
Pawā’s PG540 is an ISO level D cut-resistant glove for use in cold environments. They are perfectly suited for applications in cold and slippery environments, providing wearers with a layer of defence that can prove vital in extreme working conditions. Despite their status as heavy-duty gloves for winter environments, the PG540 is extremely comfortable thanks to an ergonomic design.
Along with cold and wet conditions, working outside inevitably often means working in the dark. This is particularly prevalent in some industries, with transport and cold weather construction gloves required to be highly visible in order to protect wearers in the dark.
In circumstances which necessitate work in low light, opting for gloves which are designed to be highly-visible is recommended. The PG241, which we’ve already covered, is coloured orange, helping wearers to stand out during the cold, dark winter months.
Engaging the workforce
One of the issues that faces the PPE industry as a whole is getting buy-in from those who will be wearing the gloves. You can spend significant money on the best high dexterity cold weather gloves available, but if your workforce doesn’t see the value in using them correctly, they will do little to help with productivity or health and safety.
Promoting a safe working culture is a crucial part of the process, and it often helps to get a PPE supplier on to site for a toolbox talk. This enables the supplier to engage 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 gloves themselves.
Two birds, one pair of gloves
One of the most common situations that occurs on site during winter is operators using multiple different gloves throughout the day. They might use one pair of gloves that are ideal for wet work, others that are extreme cold work gloves, and another for tasks that require high levels of dexterity. The issue with this is twofold:
• Firstly, every time an operator changes gloves, they are exposed to their surroundings. This can put them in danger, discomfort, or simply slow them down – none of which is ideal for productivity.
• Secondly, specifying cheaper gloves that only provide one type of protection actually results in more gloves being bought. It’s a false economy to buy more cheap gloves, as these will need to be regularly replaced, and ultimately cost more altogether.
Across the Pawā range, multi-norm gloves provide significant versatility for the wearer. This means that they aren’t just equipped with warm gloves for working outside, but with dexterity, cut-resistance, water-repellency, and high visibility.
With so much of the UK economy reliant upon industries where outdoor work is commonplace, it is crucial that our workforce is equipped with insulated work gloves for cold weather. The key is to look at the type of applications that employees will be required to undertake and specify hand protection accordingly.
To view Pawā’s range of thermal safety work gloves, please visit: https://www.pawaworkwear.com/category/gloves/feature/thermal-gloves/