Why is choosing the right glove so important? Shouldn’t I just pick what’s comfortable?
Thanks to the multi-functional nature of the tower industry, using industrial tools, climbing rope, hauling loads, dodging yellow rain, and placing heavy steel into position is all in a day’s work. With the exception of those rugged arm muscles, it’s your hands that generally take the beating and a good pair of climbing gloves can make a world of difference.
Any time that your hands can be exposed to lacerations, burns, electricity, or extreme temperatures, OSHA recommends that gloves be worn for hand protection. When choosing a pair of gloves for tower work, it’s important not only to find the right balance between durability and functionality, but to choose the right gloves for the job at hand. I mean, you wouldn’t use fingerless gloves for rope access work, any more than you might use dental floss as a Y-lanyard. Sure, we’re exaggerating, but you see our point.
So, I should only stick with leather?
Not necessarily. Without a doubt, leather gloves are the sturdiest, and many climbers prefer using a more durable material that stands up to the toughest jobs. Leather is a great choice for protection against cuts, burns, and electrical sparks, making it ideal for the rugged environments characterized by most tower sites. Once broken in, they can be pretty comfortable, but their tough, non-breathable material provides less flexibility while climbing. This also means that if working with small tools, you’ll have to stop and peel off the glove in order to mount a 3/8″ butterfly hanger. Do that 50 times a day and you’ll start developing a revenge plot against every living cow.
If you don’t need a rugged tuffed glove, many climbers prefer fabric such as cotton or synthetic. While they generally need to be replaced more often (depending on abuse levels), they are comfortable from day one. The fingers are flexible and maneuverable and feel more like a second layer of skin. Style is, as it should be, low on the priority list, but synthetic gloves generally offer a greater plethora of styles and colors than leather.
What about insulation?
Whether you’re working in a Minnesota winter or a sunny Florida summer, insulated gloves are an ideal choice for anyone that needs protection against extreme heat or cold. Since the majority of temperature damage occurs on the palm, look for insulated gloves with a double palm. This is especially useful for protection against broken and stray pieces of metal.
Good to know, but I meant electrical insulation.
Hang on, I’m getting there. When tower climbing, grip and durability are key. But when you add electricity in the mix, you need a specialty glove that’s rubber insulated, made from either a synthetic or natural non-conductive rubber. They will be labeled specifically so never assume that if it’s made of rubber it must be insulated.
What if a job requires a lot of detail work?
You should probably be using fingerless gloves. As mentioned above, your palms generally take the heaviest beating. Fingerless gloves protect most of the hand (including the palm), but leave the fingers exposed to facilitate the handling of small bolts, screws, and nuts.
Connect-It recommends 2 types of fingerless gloves, depending on your material requirements. For leather, we recommend PMI’s Fingerless Gloves. All five fingers are exposed while the rest of the hand is constructed of a pliable goatskin, as well as an extra layer of durable cowhide across the palm. On the other hand (we couldn’t resist), Ergodyne’s Proflex Fingerless Trade Gloves are an excellent choice if you prefer a synthetic material. Constructed of Amara™ synthetic leather, they’re not only soft and flexible but offer double protection across the palm.
I do a bit of everything throughout the day.
Then your gloves should too. You’ll need something that provides, above all, ample hand protection while still offering a flexible, comfortable feel. Here, you have an excellent array of options. Connect-It recommends trying Klein’s new Journeyman™ series. Journeyman™ uses a new technology that provides improved safety, comfort, and functionality. Try the standard Journeyman™ or the Journeyman™ Extreme. Both are constructed of synthetic leather, with the Extreme offering a new impact absorbing padding material called PORON. The palm and thumb are reinforced with synthetic leather and the top of the glove has a flexible thermo plastic rubber and EVA foam across the fingers, knuckles, and back of the hand.
Okay, so what if I’m working with ropes all day? The concern isn’t hand protection so much as making sure the rope doesn’t slip through my palms.
Why can’t you have both? We recommend PMI’s Rope Tech Gloves if hand protection is your concern. These are great for belaying and rappelling. For a glove that combines “the precise fit of a fine driving glove” with the durability of a work glove, we recommend Petzl’s Cordex Gloves. Their ergonomic cut allows for high dexterity and the double-layered leather made from high quality goat skin provides superior protection for the hands. Both of these gloves offer not only rugged hand protection, but are specially designed for rope access work, including hauling.
How do you know so much about tower climbing gloves?
I am Connect-It, your fall safety expert.
*Just as you would carefully choose your helmet, harness, or rope, getting the right glove for the job at hand is important. If your gloves are torn, thinning, or just appear worn, it’s time to replace them. Not sure if it’s quite time? Stop by Connect-It in Jupiter for a free consult. If it’s time to lay those mitts to bed, we’ll help you through the process of finding the right pair, even if it’s not from us.
*Connect-It has hand selected the most reliable, industry-tested and approved fall safety products to make sure you’re getting only the highest quality equipment.