One of the occupational hazards of working with vibrating power tools and other machinery is the risk of the hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and the carpal tunnel syndrome. These conditions results from prolonged exposure to vibrations from the equipment. Interruptions in blood circulation to the hands and fingers damages the nerves and blood vessels and causes numbness, tingling sensation, pain, whiteness on the fingertips and reduced mobility in the hands and fingers. Wearing anti-vibration gloves is one way to reduce the vibrations from the power equipment. This can protect the hands from their long-term negative effects.
Safety regulations require anti-vibration gloves to be tested and to meet the set standards to show that they can effectively protect the hands from unsafe levels of vibrations. This means that the risk of injury and HAVS is higher when you use regular gloves to work with equipment that produces high levels of vibration. It is therefore important to check that the anti-vibration gloves you choose are approved by credible regulatory bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization and the American National Standards, the OSHA guidelines among others.
According to the DoD Ergonomics Working Group, ISO certified anti-vibration gloves should meet or exceed the ISO 108819. These are designed to reduce at least 60 percent of vibrations transmitted at 200-1250 cycles per second in key frequency range. Gloves that meet the ANSI standards have an ‘ANSI S2.73/-ISO 10819′ label.
Made for Tough Conditions
Because of the nature of work that involves the use of vibration transmitting equipment, anti-vibration gloves have features that enhance their performance. Exposure to vibrations is high in manufacturing, construction, mining, logging, infrastructure maintenance jobs and many others. To withstand the stress from rigorous work, anti-vibration gloves should be made with tough material such as leather.
Depending on the brand, the manufacturer may combine different features to maximize on performance. Some gloves may therefore offer more features to meet higher demands of the job. For example, a combination of materials may be used on areas of the gloves that are exposed to most stress to enable them to withstand the wear and tear. Manufactures may add extra cushioning and incorporate material that has been tested as effective for reducing vibrations such as foam, gel pads and foam.
The fact that anti-vibration gloves incorporate hard-wearing material does not mean that they are uncomfortable. Comfort is an important aspect even as the gloves protect hands from vibration, injury and cuts. The padding that is meant to absorb vibration also helps to enhance comfort and keep the hands warm in cold weather. However, this cushioning should not be too thick that it reduces the hands’ dexterity.
A breathable, elastic material may also be incorporated to make the gloves fit comfortably and to improve ventilation while the hands are at work. Cotton, an absorbent material, is also usually incorporated into the fabric to keep the hands free of sweat. Many brands have an elastic wrist strap with Velcro to secure the gloves in place and prevent debris from getting in.