Hand Protection for Emergency Responders

utility worker hand protection

When it comes to personal protective equipment or PPE, the 3 top priorities are generally your head, eyes and hands.  I have covered similar topics around PPE and lineman safety before, including proper work boots for crews, but today I’ll be focusing exclusively on utility worker hand protection.  Why? The reason is that there are over 1 million hand injuries that occur in the workplace, each and every year. Ouch!

A recent article from EHS Today focused on the ins and outs of hand protection, and I have summarized the key points below. Enjoy!

Utility Worker Hand Protection Trends

The overarching trends in hand protection include an increase in safety due to greater cut resistance and durability, less constricting / bulky materials, and greater comfort.

Hand protection is safer today than it was in the past because today’s gloves are more resistant to cuts and abrasions.  Coated knits and leather gloves continue to be the most protective types of glove material.  This is especially helpful for utility workers who regularly handle dangerous items.

Gloves are also being designed to be less bulky.  Some manufacturers even focus on offering ergonomically-optimized gloves!  This is beneficial for field crews because less and/or thinner material promotes greater flexibility and greater efficiency in movement.  For this reason, most hand protection manufacturers operate under the mantra of thinner is better.

A secondary trend is the emergence of multi-purpose gloves, as more and more workers are being asked to wear more and more proverbial hats. Another secondary trend is the ability for gloves to deliver hand protection in a variety of ways – for example, protection against a hard impact or even fire.

In the final analysis, it is critical to do your homework to identify the best hand protection for you and your employees.  Hopefully this article provided some initial guidance as far as what to look for, but the rest is up to you.  Good luck!

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