Mechanics regularly handle sharp and bulky mechanical components and dangerous fluids that can damage their hands. In 2019 alone, 1,900 mechanics endured occupational hand injuries while on the job. This career’s high-risk nature makes it vital for mechanics to protect themselves with disposable or reusable automotive gloves.
Hand injuries are far more likely to occur for mechanics who do not wear automotive work gloves. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of workers who experience hand injuries are not wearing gloves at the time of the affliction. You can significantly minimize the risk of injury by investing in high-quality gloves designed for optimal protection.
You can find the best mechanic gloves for the job by considering various factors, such as materials and the pros and cons of disposable vs. reusable mechanic gloves.
Why Should Mechanics Wear Gloves?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that employers must require their workers to use appropriate hand protection when performing jobs that expose their hands to hazards, such as punctures, cuts or lacerations, chemical or thermal burns, severe abrasions, extreme temperatures and harmful substance absorption. OSHA also enforces hand protection specifically for auto mechanics to protect them from heat, sparks, sharp objects and solvents.
In addition to complying with federal safety guidelines, mechanics should also wear automotive work gloves to reap the many benefits of this personal protective equipment. Here are some of the many advantages of reusable and disposable mechanic gloves.
- Grip strength: It’s easy to break a sweat when working in an industrial field, which can make it challenging to safely grab and handle objects without slipping. Work gloves give you extra gripping power with secure finger pads and durable construction.
- Callus prevention: Mechanics constantly handle tools and other objects on the job, creating harsh calluses on their hands. Wearing gloves minimizes the formation of rough, thickened skin by creating a barrier between the hands and the items they contact.
- Reduced hand fatigue: Automotive gloves provide continuous hand support, reducing hand fatigue at work.
- Injury protection: Perhaps the most essential benefit of wearing mechanic gloves is protecting the hands from scrape-, impact- and contact-related injuries and their long-term effects.
- Application versatility: Protective gloves are useful for various applications, from handling machines to picking up trash to performing yard work.
What Types of Gloves Do Mechanics Use?
Mechanics use numerous types of automotive work gloves in the workplace. These gloves comprise different materials, each with specific strengths. You can determine the best automotive gloves for you by learning about the benefits of the following PPE materials.
Latex is among the best-known glove materials. Automotive gloves comprising latex have various structural advantages, including moderate puncture and tear resistance and easy hand conformity. However, despite their durable qualities, latex gloves aren’t entirely puncture-proof. This material may sustain small holes that can expose mechanics to harmful chemicals and solvents.
Latex gloves come in powdered and unpowdered varieties. The powder in disposable mechanic gloves is excellent for sweat and moisture absorption but can contaminate vehicle paints, sealants, varnishes and finishes if particles escape into the air.
Nitrile is a synthetic polymer that doesn’t contain latex, making nitrile gloves the preferred choice for mechanics with latex allergies. Nitrile comprises three monomers — carboxylic acid, acrylonitrile and butadiene. These substances can withstand many of the dangerous chemicals and solvents that mechanics handle regularly, such as oil, gasoline and grease. In addition to protecting workers from harmful fluids, nitrile gloves also minimize the number of times mechanics must replace their gloves every day.
Nitrile automotive work gloves exhibit better puncture resistance than latex gloves and are highly flexible for uninhibited hand movement. Nitrile lacks latex’s elasticity, but will conform to the hand as it retains body heat.
Leather work gloves are highly durable, meaning you can use them for prolonged periods, no matter the application. These gloves are typically heat- and spark-resistant and minimize the risk of cuts, burns and abrasions, making them a popular choice for welders. Leather mechanic gloves also provide a reliable grip and are available in thin and thick configurations. Many automotive gloves are synthetic leather, a faux material designed to resemble natural leather with added benefits, such as water resistance.
Though leather gloves have many benefits, they can be more expensive than other work gloves and may dry out and crack over time.
Disposable vs. Reusable Automotive Gloves
All the best gloves for mechanics fall into two primary categories — disposable and reusable. Though these terms are pretty self-explanatory, many differences between both glove types go beyond the number of times you can use them.
Disposable Mechanic Gloves
Most mechanics perform repair and maintenance services that require them to touch messy or toxic fluids like grease, oil, coolant and other chemicals. Disposable mechanic gloves hold up against these commercial substances and allow workers to easily discard them after use rather than cleaning them between each job. They can also protect individuals from high temperatures and sharp tools while providing excellent agility for more precise tasks.
The most common types of single-use gloves are nitrile, vinyl, thermoplastic elastomer and latex gloves.
Though disposable gloves have protective properties, they’re better for lighter maintenance work, as they’re more vulnerable to cuts and burns than reusable gloves.
Reusable Mechanic Gloves
Reusable gloves consist of durable materials like rubber and leather that protect the hands against common mechanical threats like abrasions, cuts, water, gasoline, heat and lacerations. These automotive work gloves are washable and require users to pay a higher initial cost than disposable gloves. However, you can save more money in the long run by using your gloves over and over again.
Reusable gloves are extra thick for optimal durability but, in turn, sacrifice sensitivity and elasticity. Though reusable gloves are better for protecting your hands than disposable gloves, they’re not necessary for minor maintenance and repair work.
What to Look for in a Mechanic’s Glove
You can find the best gloves for the automotive industry by considering the following characteristics.
- Durability: The more durable your work gloves are, the better they’ll protect your hands. The best mechanic gloves will withstand extreme temperatures, extended chemical exposure, abrasion and scratches.
- Comfort: As a mechanic, you probably work long hours in the shop, which means you may wear the same gloves for eight to 10 hours a day. That’s why comfort is essential when choosing work gloves, including factors like breathability, flexibility and softness, depending on your preferences.
- Grip: The gloves you wear should be limber and functional while exhibiting reliable grip strength, so you can handle components of all sizes with optimal precision. You can purchase mechanic gloves with finger and palm pads to ensure a robust gripping surface.
- Tear resistance: When gloves tear, they expose your hands to sharp objects, extreme heat and harmful chemicals. With work gloves that prevent tears, you can minimize your risk of injury.
Shop Disposable Gloves for Mechanics at SUNLINE Supply
You can find the best automotive gloves in the industry at SUNLINE Supply. We are an FDA-certified company dedicated to providing customers with nothing less than the highest-rated PPE products, paired with fast shipping speeds, unbeatable bulk prices and 24/7 sales availability. With over 80 years of experience serving customers across industries ranging from construction to healthcare to food and beverage, we’re the dependable suppliers you can trust.