Anti vibration gloves are for use when anyone in your industry will handle pneumatic tools, rivet guns, or jackhammers. Many brands offer vibration-dampening, impact resistance, and metacarpal protection to reduce the risk of injury; however, studies show that these gloves only reduce the risks slightly, and do not prevent injury wholly.
The Risk of Injury From Vibration
Repeated trauma is a serious health and safety problem. Workers who operate heavy machinery are at risk for Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), and/or Vibration White Finger (VWF).
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is serious and disabling with nearly 2 million people at risk. Damage can include inability to do fine motor work with the cold as a potential trigger for finger blanching attacks. HAVS can cause pain, tingling, and a loss of sensation or strength. It is preventable, but once the nerves, blood vessels, and/or joints are damaged, it is permanent.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is when the median nerve, controlling sensation and movement in the thumb and first three fingers, is pinched or compressed. This compression results in numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in the hand. Solutions to help ease the pain in your wrist is to wear a wrist splint, relieving nerve pressure, as you sleep. The best practice is to cut down on the causes such as playing an instrument or using vibrating tools.
Vibration White Finger (VWF) is a form of Raynaud’s syndrome triggered by over-exposure and use of vibrating hand-held machinery, affecting 20% of the population worldwide. With this syndrome, the tips of the fingers turn white because of abnormal spasms in the blood vessels which limit supply to local tissues. The primary disease is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue (but VWF is a secondary characteristic of the syndrome), and can be treated or alleviated by wearing gloves in the cold. VWF can restrict blood supply and, in serious yet rare cases, it can cause ulcers, scarring, or tissue death (also known as gangrene).
Because of more awareness, these differing vibration-related syndromes are on the decline - only 635 documented disability cases in 2012 - due to the regulations on vibrations at work, mandating limited exposure for workers.
How To Reduce Risks
For you or your employees, make sure that when having to operate vibrating machinery, keep hands warm to improve blood flow and circulation. Take frequent breaks. Limit the time each person uses the equipment, and invest in equipment that has reduced vibration.
Wearing protective gloves can help - mostly against cold - so it’s a good idea to wear gloves when operating heavy, vibrating machinery. Specialty gloves aren’t mandatory, but it is required that employees are protected from the cold, so some form of glove is needed.
So, Anti Vibration Gloves: Do They Work?
Anti vibration gloves do provide the wearer some protection at work because they are most effective at keeping the hands warm and improving blood flow which is beneficial when operating machinery. Ensuring healthy blood circulation is crucial to help avoid developing long-term health issues in your hands. However, anti vibration gloves should not be viewed as a long term solution for employees who use machinery most of the time. Gloves do not reduce frequency related vibration injuries and believing that they do will only lull a wearer into a false sense of security. Anti vibration gloves offer many health and safety benefits but the best way to protect employees from potential risks (as mentioned above) is to monitor how often they use the machinery and provide other tasks for them to do so they can take a break.
The takeaway is that anti-vibration gloves don’t entirely protect the wearer from their intended purpose, but they do offer some level of protection that is vital. As an individual, a business owner, or someone trying to build a PPE kit (for yourself or your employees), you’re just as well investing in good quality, warm, well-fitted gloves as you are anti-vibration gloves specifically.
What Xamax Offers
Anti Vibration Gloves:
- Portwest Anti Vibration Glove, £11.39 per item
Recommended Alternative Gloves:
- Portwest Supergrip – High Performance Glove, £7.11 per item
- for maximum grip, silicone coated palm, reinforced thumb, and breathable sidewalls
- Portwest Cut 3 PU Palm Glove, £2.28 per item
- PU coating for abrasion resistance, palm dipped for dexterity and ventilation, breathable liner, 13-gauge liner for perfect fit
- Portwest A116 Thermolite Polka Dot Glove, £1.81 per item
- for cold, dry environments with pvc dots for extra grip, soft thermal lining for comfort and warmth