PLH GROUP NEWS
Hand Protection that ‘Fits like a Glove’
Date: February 23, 2022
A Pipeworx welder wears gloves to protect his hands from thermal heat while ensuring pipeline quality and integrity in Canada’s cold climate.
According to the American Burn Association (ABA), 400,000 people receive medical care for treatment of burn injuries every year. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report found 9,760 people sustained hand injuries requiring days away from work in 2020. So how can workers protect their hands from injuries, specifically burns? It’s easy – by routinely wearing hand protection. But with so many different types of personal protective equipment (PPE) for hand safety, the answer may not be that simple.
“Our hands are our most valuable tools. It’s not enough to just wear PPE to protect them, but we need make sure we identify the best hand protection for the task and work conditions,” said Vice President of Safety, Health, and Environmental Elsie Bentley.
While performing expert power line and pipeline construction, repair, and maintenance services throughout North America, employees of PLH Group and its business units may encounter chemicals, extreme heat, and live electric components – all presenting potential safety hazards.
“We equip our employees with the knowledge and protective equipment to safeguard themselves from chemical, thermal, and electrical burns,” said Bentley. “Our employees are routinely trained on hazard identification and mitigation, and discuss these risks within their teams during routine safety meetings.”
PLH Group’s employees wear gloves to protect their hands while performing intricate power line services.
But when it comes to gloves, one size — and type — does not fit all. Hand protection, as with other forms of PPE, has been methodically and meticulously designed to protect against various hazards to hand safety.
Types of gloves combatting burns include:
- Aluminized gloves: Protects against heat with reflective and insulating protection
- Aramid fiber gloves: Protects against heat while also providing protection against cuts and abrasions
- Butyl gloves: Protects against a wide-variety of chemicals
- Electrical: Protects against direct or indirect electrical contact
- Insulated: Protects against extremely high and low temperatures
- Leather: Protects against sparks and moderately hot materials and equipment
- Natural (latex) rubber gloves: Protects against most water solutions
- Neoprene gloves: Protects against hydraulic fluids, gasoline, alcohols, organic acids, and alkalis
- Nitrile gloves: Protects against chlorinated solvents, oils, greases, acids, caustics, and alcohols
- Rubber, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA): Protects against chemical burns and irritations
- Synthetic gloves: Protects against burns, cuts, and some chemicals
Choosing a glove for the task alone is not enough to provide protection. With such a sizable variety of gloves offered, employees must consider more than just the type of protection. Consider all factors prior to choosing the best hand protection for the task, including the nature and duration of potential contact, area requiring protection (hand, forearm, arm), grip requirements, fit, and comfort.
Bentley added, “Our employees know that if there is ever uncertainty, supervisors and other site leadership are always available to help make decisions to ensure a safe work environment for those throughout the job site.”
Once the most appropriate pair of gloves is identified, gloves must be inspected for care and quality. Before using dielectric gloves, ensure gloves are not torn or have holes of any type. Discoloration indicates potential past contact with chemicals, which could degrade the gloves’ performance. Though a visual inspection is effective, OSHA recommends filling the gloves with water and rolling the cuff toward the fingers to reveal pinhole leaks that may have been missed with a visual inspection.
“We are fortunate that the science and design behind PPE offer us a variety of options to not only have effective protection, but allows all workers to find the perfect fit,” said Bentley.
PLH Group is a leading full-service construction and specialty contractor that serves the electric power and pipeline markets. PLH Group has assembled a North American team of top-quality companies that deliver services covering the broad range of needs of its customers – from pipeline construction and related directional drilling to electric transmission, distribution and substation construction, including specialized foundations and helicopter airborne operations. Safety, expertise, and collaboration distinguish PLH Group’s diversified infrastructure service solutions.