Our hands are one of our most exposed parts of the body and come into contact with multiple
surfaces and items on a daily basis. When working with materials such as hazardous chemicals or
corrosives, it’s important to protect the hands. It’s also imperative that workers are protected from
damage or injury that is likely to be caused by handing heavy equipment or using sharp tools.
Using personal protective equipment (PPE) is a large aspect of health and safety and will help
prevent damage to the skin. Protecting the hands can also prevent liquids or chemical waste being
transferred to other areas and subsequently protect other workers.
Wearing the correct type of gloves in the workplace will minimise the risk from various hazards. Here
we’ll explore some of these risks and how using protective equipment can prevent injuries or damage.
Burns and scalding
Working with hot or corrosive substances carries a risk of burning or scalding, particularly when
handling these materials. Choosing gloves with a low rate of permeation will minimise the risk and
enable the worker to carry out tasks safely.
Extreme heat or cold
Skin burns or frostbite can affect extremities such as the hands, so the appropriate gloves should be
worn when working in extreme temperatures. Thermal gloves should be used in very cold
temperatures, particularly if the task requires an extended amount of time. High temperature or heat-
resistant gloves are a good idea when working in the heat.
Loss of skin, nail or even your finger
Engineering and construction environments often use heavy equipment which carries a risk of
damage to the hands. In these situations, it’s important to wear the correct type of gloves to protect
the hands and fingers. The gloves should be heavy duty but also flexible enough to be able to carry
out tasks safely.
Cuts and scrapes
Cuts on the hands are common across multiple industries including construction, engineering and
mechanics due to machinery and tools. Wearing gloves which are tear-resistant is imperative and can
protect against serious injuries in these environments.
Bacteria and viruses
Certain work environments can place workers at risk of coming into contact with harmful bacteria or
viruses. Usually these are in workplaces such as labs, hospitals or animal facilities. As hands can
spread bacteria very easily, wearing gloves should be a priority when it comes to PPE.
Other factors to consider when choosing appropriate gloves is the correct fit, how comfortable they
are and whether they allow a worker to carry out the task as safely as possible. It’s also important to
use the right ones for the job and check they meet all standard safety requirements to ensure risks are