Hand & Arm Protection Evolves, Adapts

Matt Burtney, Content Marketing Specialist, Superior Glove Works

Q. FIRST OF ALL, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, HOW WOULD YOU SAY THE HAND PROTECTION/GLOVE INDUSTRY HAS EVOLVED OVER THE PAST DECADE?
Hand protection has advanced leaps and bounds in the past 10 years, largely because of technological advancements. Where this has been most noticeable is the slender profile of current day gloves.

Ten years ago, most of our gloves—whether they were leather drivers’ gloves or cut-resistant, string-knit gloves—had some bulk. Since 2014, we’ve had the technology to not only make gloves that conform better to the hand, but also have increased protection, mainly from cuts. This is made possible by the innovations from our partners like Kevlar® and Dyneema®. A great example of this is our MXPG, a leather mechanics glove with ANSIlevel A4 cut protection but feels like a golf glove.

Q. IMPACT-RESISTANT GLOVES NEED TO BE HIGHLY SPECIFIED. WHAT TYPES OF INJURIES CAN SUPERIOR GLOVE’S IMPACTRESISTANT GLOVES HELP PROTECT AGAINST?
Our impact-resistant gloves are designed to protect from several injuries to the back of the hand, but our focus is protecting against metacarpal injuries. The human hand has five metacarpal bones, and anyone who has ever broken their hand has most likely suffered a metacarpal fracture.

To protect hands against metacarpal injuries, all our impact gloves feature, at minimum, padding across the back of the hand and along the fingers.
Some of our impact gloves also feature padding along the carpal bones in the wrist, since that is another leading cause of impact injury.

Q. WHAT TYPES OF MATERIALS ARE GENERALLY USED FOR IMPACT-PROTECTION GLOVES?
The most common material used in the industry is thermoplastic rubber (TPR), which is an excellent solution for most back-of-hand injuries. A member of our sales team once told me a story where her client was wearing a pair of our 378GKGVB Endura® Goatskin Anti-Impact Gloves while loading logs into his hydraulic wood splitter. His partner turned the switch while his hand was still in between the log and the wedge. Ordinarily, this would have resulted in a serious injury, but he was wearing the anti-impact gloves. He had time to alert his partner to shut the machine off without suffering any injuries.

We also use D3O® anti-impact technology on select styles of our premium anti-impact gloves, which is used in military helmets, football gear and Usain Bolt’s insoles. D3O® reduces shock by 44%, which makes it an excellent choice for high impact in all of these different fields.

Q. DO THE COMPANY’S IMPACTRESISTANT GLOVES MEET ANY SAFETY STANDARDS (SUCH AS ISEA HAND PROTECTION, OSHA, ANSI, ETC.)?
With the upcoming release of the ISEA 138 standard, we are set to test our gloves to this standard. We have tested internally, and we will have anti-impact gloves that meet the standard, but we can’t officially use this data because the standard requires testing to be completed by an independent third party.

However, several of our CE-certified, anti-impact gloves have passed the European standard according to EN 388.

Q. ONE OF THE STORIES IN THE MATERIAL HANDLING SECTION OF WMHS THIS MONTH DEALS WITH CHEMICAL STORAGE AND ANOTHER WITH CHEMICAL SPLASH PROTECTION. TELL US ABOUT YOUR LINE OF CHEMICAL-RESISTANT GLOVES. HOW WOULD AN EMPLOYER (OR WORKER) GO ABOUT CHOOSING THE RIGHT CHEMICAL-RESISTANT GLOVE FOR THEIR NEEDS?
Choosing the right chemical-resistant glove is imperative to successfully handling chemicals. Not all chemical-resistant gloves will protect you from all chemicals; for instance, latex is poor for use with diesel fuel, but nitrile is excellent for it.

To choose the best chemical-resistant gloves, the worker must know about the chemicals being handled; the concentration of the chemicals; the frequency and duration of contact with the chemicals; and whether it’s splash or total immersion.

The key factor to determining which type of chemical glove to use is to determine whether it is best suited to the application. The chemical’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is the best place to find a suggestion for which glove material is appropriate. To support the information on the SDS, we provide a chemical reference chart on our website that will identify materials that will protect from various chemicals.

Q. RELATED TO THE ABOVE QUESTION, WHAT IS THE INNOVATIVE “GLOVE SELECTOR” FEATURE ON SUPERIOR GLOVE’S WEBSITE?
The Glove Selector is a solution to customer confusion for choosing the best gloves for their job. We manufacture 3,500 styles of hand and arm protection; it can be difficult to know the best piece of protection for your job. The Glove Selector allows users to find the best glove for their needs based on “Hazard” or “Industry.” Once they have selected the glove they need, based on the requirements presented on the screen, they are given results of our best-selling gloves that match their needs. Users can then request a sample of the glove to trial at their business. It’s like a “Choose-Your-Own Adventure” but for hand protection.

Q. CAN YOU SHARE ANY FEEDBACK FROM CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE MADE USE OF THE GLOVE SELECTOR?
We have received a lot of positive feedback from the Glove Selector. It’s a hit with busy safety managers, as well as the younger generation of safety-minded individuals who are more comfortable using technology to find the answers themselves, rather than to speak with a representative
by phone.

Q. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE NEXT BIG FOCUS IN HAND/ARM PROTECTION—DO YOU HAVE ANY GENERAL PREDICTIONS FOR WHERE THE INDUSTRY IS HEADED?
One of the big things that we at Superior Glove have been working on is improved vibration protection from pneumatic tools. A lot of gloves have been developed to protect against very high vibration from tools like jackhammers, but low-frequency devices like sanders are overlooked.

We’ve found success with our gloves in windshield repair shops where employees used vibrating tools. The low frequency for extended periods of time results in Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), a condition that destroys muscle tissues. Our research and development team is looking for ways to provide the same amount of protection in better fitting, more comfortable gloves.

Q. SUPERIOR GLOVE HAS SEVERAL AWARDWINNING HAND & ARM AND WORKERSAFETY RELATED PRODUCTS. WHAT ARE SOME OF THESE AWARDS, AND HAS THE EXPERIENCE OF WINNING THE AWARDS GIVEN YOU ANY INSIGHT INTO WHAT IS MOST VALUED IN THE INDUSTRY?
Superior Glove has won awards from DuPont™ Kevlar® Innovation and Best in Show two years in a row with the National Safety Council expo.

These awards have been great for recognition of our products and give consumers confidence in our products. These awards have given us insight into the values our industry places on innovation. Our award-winning products include several world firsts like the thinnest arc flash glove, or pioneering technology like D3O® padding for stellar impact protection. WMHS