Without gloves, hand injuries are inevitable for mechanics. Whether your day-to-day job involves general maintenance and repairs or you specialize in a particular system or vehicle type, mechanics are at a higher-than-average risk for both sudden injuries and repetitive strain injuries. The best way to minimize and even prevent injury is to wear good automotive gloves whenever you’re working.
So what type of gloves do mechanics wear if they want to keep their hands safe in the shop but also work efficiently and maximize performance? Let’s start by looking more closely at the biggest hazards mechanics (and their hands) are up against.
Most common types of mechanic hand injuries
Most mechanic hand injuries occur during normal job activities — someone distracts you at just the wrong moment, you strain too hard trying to remove a stubborn bolt, or you drop a heavy part while you’re trying to maneuver it into place.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most prevalent types of occupational injuries involving days away from work among auto technicians and repairers are:
- Sprains, strains, and tears
- Cuts, lacerations, and punctures
- Bruises and contusions
- Burns from heat
- Chemical burns
As you can imagine, these injuries frequently happen to the hands.
Best mechanics’ gloves for preventing injury
If you’re a mechanic, the best way to protect yourself from these kinds of injuries is to find the right gloves and wear them consistently. Dexterity is extremely important for mechanics. Gloves should not be overly bulky because mechanics sometimes have to work in tight spaces, but they also need to provide the level of protection you need.
First, your gloves need to protect you against the types of injuries listed above, namely sprains, strains, tears, cuts, lacerations, punctures, fractures, bruises, amputations, and burns. For that, you need gloves made with sturdy materials that offer cut-and-puncture resistance and impact protection. Impact protection helps protect the fingers and backs of hands from falling objects, crushing, pinching, and accidental strikes.
Repetitive strain injuries
Mechanics are also at a high risk for developing repetitive strain injuries, which involve damage to muscles, nerves, and/or tendons that are caused by repetitive movement and overuse.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a well-known example. Another is hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), which is an extremely common repetitive strain injury that’s caused by long-term use of vibrating tools such as pneumatic torque wrenches, grinders, socket wrenches, and others. Symptoms of HAVS often include tingling, numbness, white fingertips, and (eventually) loss of hand strength.
HAVS and other repetitive strain injuries can be debilitating and sometimes even force people to change careers. That’s why you need anti-vibration gloves whenever you’re working with vibrating tools. Anti-vibration gloves are made with materials (like our Hexagonal Memory Gel®) that prevent repetitive strain injuries by absorbing the vibrations from tools before they reach your hands.
Other factors to consider
Depending on your job and working conditions, you may need other types of protection as well. For example, people who work in below-freezing temperatures in a non-heated garage may also want a pair of mechanics’ winter gloves for the coldest months.
If that sounds like you, you’ll want to look for a pair of winter work gloves that have good cut-and-puncture resistance and impact protection (and potentially anti-vibration materials if you find that your regular anti-vibration gloves aren’t enough to keep you warm).
Need help finding the perfect gloves?
All of our gloves are designed through extensive research and testing, and they’re built to offer superior protection without hindering your ability to work with your hands. If you have questions about how to choose the best mechanics’ gloves for the type of work you do, we’re here to help. Contact us today!