Choosing the Right Gloves for the Automotive Industry
March 08, 2016
Working in the automotive industry means using your hands almost constantly. But finding the right glove to protect your hands in each application can be difficult. Traditionally, automotive workers opted for latex gloves, but many have switched over to powder-free nitrile gloves instead. As for leather gloves, their low level of cut resistance makes them a bad choice for most automotive applications. Choosing the best glove for the job, though, depends on which area of the industry you’ll be working in.
If you’re working in a stamping plant, you’ll want a glove with high abrasion resistance to prevent it from becoming worn from reuse. Ideally, you’ll want to go with a 7-gauge glove that has a minimum of 2000 grams of cut resistance, ANSI level 4.
For assembly-related applications, gloves should generally be cut resistant and have a solid grip, especially if you’ll be working with oily metal or glass products. At the same time, you’ll need them to be sensitive enough that you can manipulate and feel the parts that you’re handling.
Most nitrile or polyurethane-coated gloves would be viable options, but one outstanding option for this application is the ActivGrip KEV. These gloves are finished with a suction cup coating that actually allows for a better grip. For applications that do not require high cut resistance, the ActivGrip Advance or the more economical 3716 Caliber glove will do the trick.
For painting applications, cut resistance is generally less important. The ideal glove in this case would protect against chemicals in the paint, while at the same time preventing dirt from your hands from contaminating the paint, leaving craters in the car’s surface.
Your best bet? Choose a paintline glove, which is designed to be lint-free. To cut down on sweat, you can wear knit liners underneath these or other nitrile gloves to wick away sweat and improve your comfort while wearing the gloves.
Manufacturing powertrain components and systems requires a glove that can stand up to abrasive conditions, so you’ll want to opt for a coated glove. Nitrile is best for oil-based compounds. If you’ll be working with water-based compounds, however, you’ll want to avoid nitrile gloves; choose latex-coated or PE-coated gloves.
When it comes to cut resistance, some safety directors require very high ANSI levels for employees working with powertrain systems, even in situations where a lower ANSI level may suffice. While ANSI 4 or 5 gloves have a very high level of resistance, they can also lead discomfort, hand fatigue, and a lack of dexterity, so it’s important to find the right balance for each application.
Whatever your position in the automotive industry, it’s important to make sure that your hands are protected – without limiting your ability to do your job well. Choosing the right glove for each application can go a long way towards ensuring safety and quality in your workplace.