Take care of safety gloves so that they can take care of you! – Personal Protective Equipment that is supplied by employer alone is not enough to guarantee a safe working environment. Like with any other item provided for safety or security reasons, the level of maintenance will determine its ultimate successful performance. In today's blog I will discuss how to take of gloves.
Gloves are used to improve grip, prevent skin contact with hazardous or toxic chemicals or fumes or to prevent abrasions on hands. We, therefore, accept that gloves have to be replaced often. But even though most gloves can be purchased cheap, the quality and lifespan of gloves can be extended by maintaining them correctly.
The way gloves are stored is essential in ensuring that they remain in the condition that they are supposed to be in.
Rubber-insulated gloves should be stored in a cool dark area far from stream pipes, radiators or any source of heat. Radiation caused by direct sunlight and heat can deteriorate the strength of the material gloves are made of and contribute to their wearing out. Such gloves may malfunction and expose employees to hazards.
Containers used to store gloves should be chosen carefully and used adequately. If gloves would be stored inside a box or tool bag, employees are encouraged to ensure that nothing else is placed on top of that particular box as that would distort their shape. That would weaken the strength of the gloves.
If employees store their protective gloves in glove bags, they should ensure that they place a gauntlet end in the bottom of the bag and hang the bag from a peg.
Dos and Don'ts
- Do not store gloves in an environment where electrical testing is done.
- Do not wear or store your gloves inside out as the folding process can cause the rubber to tear which will make its protective function void.
- Do not leave the protector (leather) inside the rubber glove when the glove is cleaned.
- Do not bleach gloves as the bleach will affect and deteriorate the rubber.
There is a specific way that gloves should be cleaned to ensure that their strength is not weakened as well as to ensure that they are clean and free from germs that might cause illnesses. Most rubber gloves can be both hand and machine-washed.
When washing them, it is advised to use tap water and mild soap. The gloves should be rinsed thoroughly and be dried before they are used again. However, drying temperatures should not exceed 65 degrees Celsius. Heat can weaken rubber gloves and cause them to crack when temperatures significantly drop. This can expose employee's hands to the unforeseen dangers of getting in contact with hazardous elements like chemicals and electric wires. Like most other accidents, this always happens when they are the least expecting it.
In cases where gloves come in contact with products like transformer oil, petroleum based products or inhibitors, it is essential that employees ensure that they are cleaned with manufacture-approved liquid cleaner. Such oils are dangerous as they are highly flammable and if a case of fire was to occur, employees might be at a risk of being engulfed by the fire at an escalated rate.
Like all other aspects of the workplace, PPE should be inspected, assessed and tested. This applies to gloves as well as they should be checked for defects and any hazards. To ensure that a glove is safe and free from cracks, employers can check such by rolling the gloves gently between their hands. It is a simple but an effective way of checking gloves for defects and any embedded materials. To ensure that more security is achieved, gloves should be electrically tested at certain intervals depending on work intensity by a professional. Employees are encouraged to have their gloves assessed on an interval not exceeding 12 months.
In industries where hazardous and electricity is used, employees should ensure that torn, worn out or deteriorating gloves are disposed and replaced constantly. As mentioned above, it could contribute to electrocution or employees getting skin damage from chemicals.
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