The correct gloves for the correct chemicals

It’s important to ensure that you have adequate protection when handling chemicals that are potentially hazardous to your health. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right gloves to handle the different chemical applications and hazards.

Some of the most common workplace injuries involve the hands. This is unsurprising as they are the part of the body responsible for carrying out the work. However, as anyone who has ever had a hand injury can tell you, hand injuries can be the most painful and take the longest to heal, which means down time from work and a drop in productivity.

Injured hands account for up to 45% off all workplace accidents and it is estimated that at least 60% of those injuries could have been avoided with the correct protection. So what can you do to avoid such injuries? It starts with simply wearing the correct gloves.

Which gloves for which hazard?

Powercoat® Nitraf

This glove is ideal when it comes to protecting your hands against a variety of chemicals and solvents, as it allows for good grip when dealing with greasy products, and provides the best protection against paints and varnishes.

This glove consists of a nitrile formula, which is also used in the nuclear industry to make protective gloves, so you can rest assured you’re getting the best coverage! This glove has been designed to have excellent elasticity and superb dexterity, with a large cuff to protect the forearm. A cotton-flocked interior provides the wearer with greater comfort, while a rough finish improves the grip. It is particularly suitable for the handling of oils, greases and hydrocarbons.

Powercoat® Mix-Colour

If you’re looking for a hand gear that protects against a wide range of chemicals, then this is the perfect glove. The neoprene/latex blend makes this glove suitable for use of chemicals found in industrial cleaning, maintenance work and industrial surface treatments. Double-dipped, it ensures a good level of protection from chemical and mechanical hazards.

Powercoat 950-30 Neofit

This glove protects against acids, bases, solvents as well as industrial adhesives. It is ideal for long-term heavy industrial work, general maintenance, assembling transmissions, and surface treatment for metals.

It is made of neoprene which provides high flexibility and double coating ensures a good level of protection against chemical and mechanical hazards. The cotton interlock lining strengthens the glove’s mechanical performance while absorbing hand perspiration for added comfort. The cuff also helps to protect a large part of the forearm and a rough finish provides a better grip in a damp environment.

General safety tips when handling chemicals

Gloves are a great way to protect yourself from injuries that can occur with chemical spills, but they are far from all that is required to adequately protect yourself against harsh fumes, or accidental splashes. While an employer should do their utmost to ensure their employees are protected, it is also up to each employee to ensure they are correctly trained and given the right equipment for the job. Here are a few tips to ensure you are always protected on the job.

1) Know the SOP for the chemical you are handling

  • Each chemical has its own unique method of handling, or Standard Operating Procedure, in the event that an accident does occur.
  • You should ensure that you are properly trained against the hazards of each chemical you are required to handle in the workplace.

2)  Always use your safety equipment

  • Ensure that your workplace has provided you with the correct safety equipment for handling various chemicals.
  • The basics include the correct gloves, eye protection, apron, boots, head gear, and nose and mouth cover.

3) Establish a safety station

  • If a spill or contamination does occur, you need to know where to go in order to contain it as quickly as possible.
  • This may include rinsing off or disrobing in the correct manner. There should be a spill kit, eyewash station, drench shower, fire extinguisher and emergency numbers readily available, depending on the nature of the chemicals used.
  • Such areas and equipment should all be well sign-posted and easily accessible.

4) Make sure there is adequate airflow

  • Proper ventilation is essential when there is exposure to chemical fumes in the workplace.
  • If you haven’t been told, ask your employer about the airflow systems in case you need to know how to deal with opening or shutting extraction fans or exhausts in an emergency.

5) Remember your training and use your common sense

  • If you are tired, sick or otherwise incapacitated, don’t handle chemicals that could be hazardous to your health, as you’re more likely to make a mistake.
  • Make sure your work area is always clean and neat to minimise accidents.
  • Always ensure you follow the correct procedures with regards to waste disposal.
  • If you feel you need more training or are not being given the right tools for the job, speak to your manager immediately.

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