Workers in the janitorial and sanitation industry need the protection of disposable gloves to guard against various health and safety risks. The primary hazard these employees encounter is the very chemicals they use to clean. According to the Hawaii Department of Health, six out of every 100 professional janitors suffer chemical-related injuries, which include burns to the skin. Various harmful chemicals can be found in glass, metal and other cleaners, including hydrofluoric acid, nitrilotriacetate, and phosphoric acid.
The second hazard is contact with bloodborne pathogens. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, this risk includes on-the-job transmission of germs. Transmission can occur if janitorial staff members come into contact with infected bodily fluids on soiled surfaces, sanitary napkins or tissues.
Considering these risks, janitorial employees need a barrier to protect themselves. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dunn and Bradstreet and AMMEX Corporation showed disposable glove revenue in the janitorial industry reached nearly $200 million in 2012 while experiencing 30 percent average annual growth, indicating the need for comprehensive protection.
Furthermore, janitorial staff members need to switch gloves between tasks. If they are cleaning toilets in a facility, for instance, they should don a new pair of gloves before they clean sinks to avoid transferring pathogens and chemicals from the toilets to the sinks. Janitorial employees use many harmful chemicals, which is one reason they should wear gloves while they work.
With these considerations in mind, here are some of the glove materials typically used in the janitorial industry:
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or vinyl, gloves are the most commonly used janitorial gloves in SanJan applications. These gloves are an inexpensive alternative to latex and nitrile gloves.
Vinyl gloves can be purchased in powdered or powder-free and exam- or industrial-grade variations. This gives janitorial staff members options to find the right level of protection for their work environments. Exam-grade gloves, for example, are for applications involving exposure to bodily fluids and go through special testing at the factory level that is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
With regard to chemical resistance, vinyl gloves are recommended for protection against various substances. They can withstand hydrofluoric, phosphoric and 10 percent concentrated nitric acid, among other chemicals typically present in janitorial applications. Always confirm by conducting chemical resistance on-site testing of any glove before use.
For guarding against bacteria, there are antimicrobial vinyl gloves. These products have additional protection in the glove material to prevent the growth of microorganisms by disrupting cell walls.
“Vinyl gloves can withstand hydrofluoric, phosphoric and 10 percent concentrated nitric acids, among other chemicals typically present in janitorial applications.”
Nitrile and latex
These two glove materials are also used for janitorial applications.
Nitrile gloves provide superior chemical resistance, standing up to harmful solvents such as 38 percent concentrated hydrochloric acid, 2-butoxyethanol and sodium hypochlorite. As always, perform on-site chemical resistance testing of any glove before use. These latex-free gloves are made from a durable synthetic rubber that is extremely puncture and tear resistant and perfect for heavier duty tasks.
Natural rubber latex gloves also stand up to many of the chemicals that are present in the janitorial industry and provide tear and puncture resistance. These attributes are perfect for addressing the specific needs of this industry, but latex gloves are not as widely used because many people have latex allergies due to the rubber’s proteins. Additionally, repeated exposure to the material can lead someone to develop a latex allergy. Reactions can range from dermatitis to anaphylaxis.
With these considerations in mind, vinyl gloves are the most cost-effective option for janitorial employees. Contact us today to learn how we help our distributors grow their glove sales on average of 31%!