Gloves are a necessity in many industries, but the cost adds up quickly for workers who go through a lot of gloves. Some industries, such as food service or manufacturing, require more frequent glove changes than others. For this reason, the industry trend toward thinner, lighter, low cost disposable gloves, are the best choice for short duration tasks that require frequent changes.
Businesses where Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) or other regulations are a factor are required to follow strict rules to remain compliant. These rules are in place to protect the safety of workers and consumers, but they require employees to pay close attention to their activities and don and doff gloves frequently. Under HACCP, employees need to change gloves whenever they are used or torn, whenever staff begin a new task. This adds up to 20 pairs each day on average for each employee. When you consider how many employees are on each shift throughout the day at a food service establishment, the glove count grows quickly.
“Food service workers use 20 pairs of gloves each day on average.”
New technology, new trends
As manufacturing capabilities improve, it is possible to produce lighter weight gloves and still maintain the protective barrier needed. In the past, 4-5 mil gloves were the standard weight for disposable gloves. Now 3mil has become the industry standard, with the previous weight serving as the new premium grade. In addition to being lighter, these gloves have the benefit of greater flexibility and tactile sensitivity.
A growing number of industries, including automotive, janitorial, agricultural and more, are adopting the use of disposable gloves to protect workers’ hands. Occupations that traditionally did not require gloves now encourage workers to don gloves.
The need for the right glove
Not all glove decisions are solely price driven, many buyers are focused on finding the right glove for the job. According to a 2013 study from TriComB2B in partnership with the University of Dayton School of Business Administration, price dominated just 55 percent of all purchasing decisions. Product features, benefits and brand are other attributes that come into play.
For instance, many buyers in the automotive industry choose nitrile gloves over latex because the material is not as easily punctured. In addition, nitrile does not react in gasoline, as latex does. Automotive workers deal with heavy tools and sometimes sharp objects, creating a need for a heavier glove. Choosing the right glove for the job is typically more cost-effective in the long run because it results in fewer glove changes.
Many considerations go into buying disposable gloves. Cost may be a factor, but it is more important to make sure the gloves you choose are up to the specific task you need them for.