Welders, steel mill workers, ironworkers, shipyard workers, and sheet metal workers all need appropriate personal protective equipment in order to do their jobs safely and effectively. Heat resistant gloves are essential for people in these industries.
But what tasks require heat resistant gloves? And do you really need heat protection, or are there other glove features you should prioritize?
Let’s look at each profession one at a time, break down the types of tasks that require heat protection, and talk about how to choose the right gloves.
Heat Resistant Gloves for Welders
What types of gloves do welders wear? A better question might be, what types of gloves are appropriate for different types of welding? Do all welders need heat resistant gloves?
The answer is, all welders need gloves with heat protection, but different types of welding produce different levels of heat, which means different gloves may be appropriate depending on the type of welding you’re doing. For example:
- Stick welding involves very high heat and lots of splattering. You need heavy-duty gloves with the highest level of heat protection if you’re stick welding — ideally, gloves that extend past the wrist and partway up the arm.
- TIG welding, on the other hand, requires a higher level of dexterity and poses less of a risk for burns from heat and splattering. High-quality goatskin gloves are great for TIG welding. Just make sure they are comfortable and fit properly.
- MIG welding exposes you to more heat, sparks, and splattering than TIG welding. You may feel most comfortable using the same heavy-duty gloves you’d use for stick welding, or you might choose slightly lighter weight heat resistant gloves that are easier to move your hands in.
Heat Resistant Gloves for Steel Mill Workers
Blast furnaces heat air to temperatures from 1,650° to 2,300° F (that’s 900° to 1,250° C). Steel mill workers also often have to handle items that are both very heavy and very hot. If there’s anyone who needs heat resistant gloves, it’s people who work in steel mills.
Look for gloves with materials that can withstand high temperatures without igniting — like these. Other features you want are: grip control, durability, comfort, and cut resistance. It’s extremely important that gloves fit properly too. If they’re too tight or too loose, steel mill workers are at risk of burns and other injuries.
Any task involving tools that generate heat, such as a cutting torch or any welding and burning equipment, requires high-temperature gloves with heat resistant materials. Gloves designed for welders are a great choice for ironworkers who use these types of heat-generating tools.
But what about ironworkers who are not actively working with heat? If you’re working with heavy steel beams, columns, or girders, for example, you definitely need gloves with impact protection and good grip control. Any time ironworkers are cutting metal, they should be wearing cut resistant gloves with the right level of cut protection for the job.
Gloves for Shipyard Workers
Shipyard workers often work in close proximity to fire and electricity, so burns and shocks are legitimate concerns. For this reason, many shipyards only allow people who have completed a training or apprenticeship program to do welding or burning jobs. For many of these jobs, welding gloves are a great choice, but shipyard workers may have additional glove needs that welding gloves alone won’t address. For example:
- The machinery used on shipyards is often huge and difficult to handle, so impact protection is crucial.
- Some shipyard work involves working in small, cramped spaces, in which case, lighter weight gloves may be necessary.
Again, anyone who is cutting metal should make sure their gloves have cut-resistant materials.
What about Gloves for Sheet Metal Workers?
As always, the right-hand protection depends on the task. In general, what you really need are cut resistant gloves for sheet metal work, but there are definitely situations where heat protection is a must for sheet metal workers.
For example, you may want to use heat resistant gloves for using a grinder, since angle grinders produce sparks when cutting ferrous metals, like steel. But serious injuries are more likely to be from cuts and abrasions when using a grinder, so cut resistance is still the highest priority for sheet metal workers.
Tips for Choosing the Right Heat Resistant Gloves
The right heat resistant gloves will be different for each person. It depends on the specific job tasks you’re performing. Once you know what type of heat protection (and other features) you need, there are several other factors to consider before you make a purchase. Here’s some advice:
- Get the fit right. It’s not just about comfort, but safety too.
- Invest in high-quality gloves. Your hands will thank you.
- If you perform a variety of different tasks at work, you may need to get more than one type of gloves.
- For certain tasks, you need to be able to easily move your hands, so find a good balance between protection and dexterity.