THE WELDERS’ GLOVES ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE
Whether in the workshop or on a work site, welders are subjected to many thermal or mechanical risks that must not be overlooked. Protecting hands with personal protection equipment is a no-brainer for welders. Both strong and effective, welders’ gloves must adapt to the morphology of the hands and to the risks while preserving the dexterity required for welding techniques.
What is a welders’ glove?
Welders’ hands are the body parts most exposed to heat and electric conduction when handling their various tools. The only way to effectively protect the hands is to wear protective gloves. These must fulfil two essential functions for the safety of the welder: mechanical protection from cutting by slicing and tearing, and excellent thermal insulation from contact and convective heat. Flames, molten metal, abrasion and perforation are everyday risks that need to be protected against. The composition of the protective glove is therefore essential; leather is the main material in welders’ gloves. Their inside is lined with a heat-protection fleece. They are completed by a cuff that provides reinforced hand protection extending to protect the wrists and forearms.
Read another related article: HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WELDING GLOVES
Welders can choose from two types of glove:
- Unlined gloves: without a textile backing, this glove offers a tenfold increase in tactile sensation but lower thermal performance. But with extended use, it causes perspiration which is particularly uncomfortable for welders. A pair of under-gloves is then required;
- Lined gloves: designed with a textile backing, the whole is particularly abrasion resistant, it is a model with a service life that is much longer than the unlined version
Welders’ glove characteristics
The different types of welders’ gloves
Welders’ gloves comply with European standards, including the EN 407 standard which tests these gloves for different strengths:
- Fire behaviour
- Contact heat;
- Convective heat;
- Radiant heat;
- Small splashes of molten metal;
- Large splashes of molten metal.
Next comes the EN 388 standard which specifies the resistance levels of gloves to abrasion, cuts, tears and punctures.
Finally, the EN12477 standard which classifies welders’ gloves into 2 categories:
- Type A gloves: these have average dexterity but high hand protection regardless of the weld type except TIG welding
- Type B gloves: these have a high level of dexterity, which implies a medium level of hand protection. This fingers on these types of glove are very supple and are ideal for TIG welding.
The different welders’ gloves materials
Depending on the origin of the welders’ gloves leather, there are subtle differences in effectiveness:
- Made from goat or lamb bovine grain leather, the glove will be supple and provide correct abrasion and puncture resistance;
- Made from cowhide, the rougher appearance of the glove will provide less suppleness but more abrasion resistance.
Standards governing welders’ gloves
It is essential that welders’ gloves meet the standards that guarantee their effectiveness. These are clearly indicated by markings directly on the gloves:
- EN 420 and EN ISO 21420: the base for all protective gloves;
- EN 12477 is specific to welders’ gloves: it combines the requirements of the EN 388 standard for mechanical strength and those of the EN 407 standard for fire and
- heat resistance. This standard confirms that the gloves have undergone a battery of tests of their resistance to abrasion, slicing, tearing, puncture, flammability, contact heat, convective heat and even molten metal splashes. The higher the score, the higher the performance: a simple number can therefore be used to identify the level of protection being sought.
Finally, it is important to correctly choose the glove size because the length of the gloves is specific to this activity: from size 6 (30 cm) to size 11 (35 cm).
Welders’ gloves: one of several items of equipment for welding
Welders’ equipment is not limited to hand protection gloves. Other personal protection equipment is also essential for the protection of welders, of which many body parts are permanently exposed to serious risks. Thus, welders should not hesitate to complete their protective clothing with:
- Welders’ cuffs to protect the arms;
- A welder’s apron;
- A welder’s balaclava to keep the head and hair safe;
- A welders’ helmet or welding goggles to protect the eyes and face while working;
- Welder’s gaiters;
- Welder’s shoes, without laces and with an insulating sole.
- A welder’s jacket and trousers.