The industrial glove market has progressed quickly over the last few years – from impact protection technologies to innovative fabrics and palm materials. The significant need for these advancements is clear; the cost of an average fracture is $106,0001.
Major oil & gas operators drive the advancement in safety glove technology by challenging glove manufacturers to develop new products to further improve safety and impact protection in the workplace.
When choosing an impact glove, one of the most important features to evaluate is the Thermo Plastic Rubber (TPR). This is the molded material on top of the glove that provides impact protection in safety gloves. The best-designed TPR provides maximum coverage and disperses impact force energy away from the bone, without sacrificing flexibility and dexterity, helping to prevent hand injuries.
How to rate impact protection
TPR Coverage: Does the TPR cover the thumb, fingers, knuckles, and top of the hand to protect phalanges, metacarpal, and carpal bones?
Dexterity: How is the dexterity of the thumb and fingers’ TPR? Will it be easy or difficult to manipulate tools and operate equipment when wearing the gloves?
Finger Tip Coverage: Does the TPR also cover the tips of the fingers, providing impact protection covering the full length of the top of the hand?
True TPR Material: Is the material providing impact protection genuine TPR, or is it a lower-quality material designed to look like TPR?
Unfortunately, many emerging glove companies are simply adding TPR, foam, or other materials without fully grasping the science and engineering behind effective impact protection.
30% of hand injuries are caused by wearing the wrong glove. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the science and engineering behind building impact protection technologies; impact gloves should be developed with the end-user’s task, and work environment hazards, in mind. TPR must have the adequate thickness paired with the correct softness or hardness, depending on the application. Dexterity and flexibility of the fingers and thumb should also be carefully considered. Compromising any of these factors can easily result in events as minor as increased hand fatigue, or as major as a permanent hand injury.
Last few tips for impact protection
Making educated decisions for all of your personal protective equipment is the smart and safe thing to do. The next time you’re in the market for safety gloves with optimal impact protection, remember – not all TPR is created equal. Inspect the gloves closely, ask questions about the impact protection materials, and try them on to ensure proper fit, form, and function. After all, your hands deserve the best protection you can give them, because they’re worth it™.
How is Impact Protection Rated?
Download our best-in-class study brochure to learn how gloves are evaluated and rated, and see exactly how the tests were performed.