Safety at hand

Safety at hand

We chat to Amélie Nguyen, marketing communications and digital specialist at SHOWA – a fully integrated manufacturer of personal protective equipment (PPE) used for hands – to discover what companies should consider before they purchase this type of PPE, and how SHOWA can help.  

When considering the purchase of gloves, Nguyen emphasises that companies should prioritise several key factors to ensure the safety and efficiency of their workforce. These include:

Hazard identification: Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment within the workplace to pinpoint specific hazards that pose a risk to hand safety. This analysis should identify potential exposure to abrasions, cuts, chemical substances, and other potential threats. A clear understanding of these hazards is fundamental when selecting the appropriate protective gloves.

Determination of required resistance levels: Based on the hazards identified, ascertain the necessary resistance capabilities of the gloves. This includes evaluating their ability to withstand cuts, punctures, chemical exposure, and thermal hazards. 

Conforming to safety standards: Compliance with specific safety standards is necessary in different countries, such as adhering to EN 388:2016 within Europe.

Consideration of usage duration: Reflect on the anticipated duration of glove wear. For extended periods of use, prioritising factors such as breathability, flexibility, and overall comfort is essential to mitigate hand fatigue and maintain compliance with safety protocols.

Balance between dexterity and comfort: It is imperative that the selected gloves do not compromise on dexterity and comfort. Ergonomic features should also be considered to minimise hand fatigue during prolonged use.

Environmental considerations: The conditions of the working environment should influence the material and design choices for the gloves. Variables such as ambient temperature, exposure to moisture, or contact with oils and chemicals can significantly impact glove performance.

Incorporation of worker feedback: Actively engaging with the workforce to solicit feedback on the performance, fit, and comfort of the gloves can offer invaluable insights for future procurement decisions. By reviewing employee feedback, potential improvements can be identified and overall satisfaction can be increased.

“The market now demands gloves that provide comprehensive protection – spanning cut resistance, touchscreen functionality, lightweight features, and protection against electrostatic discharges. This evolution signifies a move towards gloves that offer broad safety features while maintaining comfort and dexterity, challenging manufacturers to embed diverse protective technologies into a unified, effective design,” Nguyen says.

SHOWA is leading this innovation wave by unveiling eight advanced gloves that cater to the growing demands for safety, comfort, and multifunctionality. “These gloves notably combine cut resistance with anti-static properties, marking a pivotal development in protective gear,” Nguyen notes.

“For workers in high-risk fields such as mechanics, construction, and automotive, the S-TEX series offers superior cut protection (from cut level D to F) to minimise the risk of injuries and accidents,” she continues.

The series includes the XC500 and XC800, which are made of natural rubber and rated at cut level E (or A5), while offering high dexterity. “Despite the inclusion of stainless steel, these gloves are designed to be flexible, thanks to a 13-gauge seamless liner. They are ideal for handling heavy equipment or for mechanical and engineering tasks,” says Nguyen. “The XC500 provides excellent grip and tactility in dry environments due to its PU coating, enhancing comfort, longevity, and cost-efficiency through increased durability. For those in contact with oils and liquids, the XC800 – with its nitrile foam coating – is recommended for even greater durability.”

Next up is SHOWA’s DURACoil (α) solution, which offers cut resistance and touchscreen comfort. “The DURACoil (α) series represents a complete solution for cut resistance, touchscreen compatibility, and environmental friendliness. The XC510 and XC810 stand out for their high-quality, eco-friendly materials, certified by OEKO-TEX,” Nguyen expands.

The OEKO-TEX certification indicates that the gloves are free from harmful chemicals, reducing allergy risks and ensuring quality. The XC810 is silicone-free to prevent metal contamination and also offers touchscreen compatibility. “Employees in the automotive, transportation, and electronics industries can carry out their tasks with peace of mind, thanks to the touchscreen application that protects them from cuts and facilitates easy manipulation of screens,” Nguyen points out.

For high-risk environments like explosive or flammable areas, the AC800 and AC200 under the DURACoil (α) family are designed to offer cut resistance, anti-static properties, and touchscreen compatibility. “Complying with EN16350 standards, these gloves ensure safety in flammable or explosive environments,” Nguyen says. The AC800 and AC200 are also designed for use in the automotive, transportation, and electronics fields, as they have a nitrile coating and conductive carbon strands that make them compatible with touchscreens. “This facilitates easier tool-screen interaction, eliminating the need to constantly put on and take off gloves, thereby saving users time. With improved surface resistance, these gloves support continued touchscreen use after three washes and leave no fingerprints,” Nguyen explains.

She adds that the AC800 and AC200 offer unmatched flexibility and grip: “Notably, the AC200 gloves are lighter and thinner than any others in their category, weighing just 33 grams. This ensures superior flexibility and dexterity without compromising worker safety.”

For general purposes, SHOWA is pleased to announce the launch of the touchscreen-compatible, silicone- and latex-free AP800 and AX200: indispensable for flammable and explosive areas. “The AP800 is equipped with a 13-gauge microfibre liner, which is designed to absorb sweat and moisture, yet dry 20% faster than nylon-based alternatives. The AX200 is the lightest and thinnest glove in its category, with a 16-gauge thickness and 0.58mm thinness, offering a second skin feel,” reveals Nguyen.

SHOWA has also launched a complimentary four-week trial programme aimed at gaining insights into customers’ specific needs. “Throughout this initiative, our experts conduct workplace visits to thoroughly assess the hand protection requirements of the workforce,” Nguyen elaborates. “Subsequent to this evaluation, we offer recommendations for suitable products and coordinate trials to ensure the selection of the most appropriate hand protection.”

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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