UNDERSTANDING THE LIMITATIONS OF LEATHER WILL LEAD TO BETTER DECISION MAKING IN HAND PROTECTION SELECTION. THE FOLLOWING ERRONEOUS BELIEFS HAVE GIVEN LEATHER AN UNDESERVED REPUTATION
LEATHER REPELS WATER
Leather offers poor protection against liquids. Some forms, such as cow-hide, stiffen when re-dried, limiting both flexibility and tactility. It also offers no thermal defence when wet, meaning the wearer will experience discomfort along with a loss of mobility.
LEATHER IS DURABLE
Despite being regarded as long lasting, leather is still susceptible to wear and tear. More importantly, if a glove offers the wearer little or no protection against hazards, product life span is a meaningless measure.
LEATHER OFFERS CUT RESISTANCE
Leather’s reputation and use against cut injury is unwarranted, as it is one of the poorest rating materials — even heavy cotton canvas outperforms leather in cut resistance testing. Understanding the limitations of leather will lead to better decision making in hand protection selection. The following erroneous beliefs have given leather an undeserved reputation.
THE HEAVIER, THE BETTER
Thick leather offers no more protection than a lighter weight alternative. In fact, heavier leather impedes grip, movement and dexterity, making it difficult to work with tools or small components.
COMFORT AND FIT
Leather is one of the least comfortable material options. Sewn flat, gloves usually feature irritating interior seams. Leather lacks the fit, form and breathability of other available materials.
A (FALSE) ECONOMY
Selecting a general-purpose solution in the name of economy is more expensive in the long run, potentially leading to productivity loss, injury and decreased moral. Providing a glove choice that meets the demands of a task increases safety policy compliance.