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The Purpose Of Work Gloves

By Elena McDowell

At some time in your career you will find it necessary to wear some form of protection on your hands, no matter what your profession. You can find a variety of work gloves associated with almost all forms of employment, but their intended uses are often quite different. Although they all share the same aim, and that is to protect the wearer.

A profession that everyone is familiar with involves medicine, and possibly most have seen a surgeon or a dentist wearing latex on their hands. The latex is there to help prevent the spread of contamination between doctor and patient, and illustrates a good example of protection being made use of in the working environment. Thanks to the thinness of the material protection is there but it causes no loss of the sense of touch.

At the other end of the scale are the old fashioned butchers. In their daily lives they are cutting up meat using a lot of very sharp knives. Some of you might have noticed them wearing what looks like an old fashioned chain mail gauntlet, this will protect their hands and fingers should a knife slip.

Also consider the refrigeration units where the meat carcases are stored. The sides of meat where often hung up on big hooks. To prevent the butcher losing his feeling in his fingers, and so possibly his grip lifting the sides of meat down, other safety hand coverings would be worn.

The military are not exempt from these requirements either. With them so much depends on where they will be operating and what their intended tasks are. So imagine a winter's exercise inside the Arctic Circle, and it involves working on modern aircraft. In just one day a variety of different challenges will be faced.

In those areas the weather can be brutally cold, and any area of exposed skin can soon suffer. Modern aircraft have metal surfaces, and an unprotected hand can soon stick to the metal once the temperature dips below a certain level. Therefore hand protection has to be worn, but it can't be too bulky otherwise some jobs would be impossible.

One of the most common examples completely covers the hand and wrist, but has rubber blisters on the palms and fingers. The rubber blisters enable tools to be used, and controlled, while still wearing the gloves, and they are of a loose knit which prevents the hand sweating.

Even such routine operations involving oils and fuels can be problematic. Any fuel which splashes onto any skin is liable to cause a cold burn. The normal hand wear with the rubber blisters will not afford the required protection as the whole hand needs protecting. So a pair made from cotton and coated in a rubberized compound is used. Even when not involved in operations everyone needs to cover up.

So as you can imagine the roles which work gloves can play are many and varied. They have to suit the purpose for which they are intended, and this will include the material from which they're made. If they are too heavy and thick the wearer will have a limited sense of feel. Whereas if they're light and flimsy they will not offer much protection against possible punctures.

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