Cryogenic Gloves for Drivers – why Hazchem Gloves are different
Delivering Cryogenic products such as liquid Nitrogen, Oxygen and Argon, which have temperatures as low as -195 C, presents serious occupational hazards to tanker drivers. The exceptionally low temperatures of the liquid means that drivers handling the hoses and couplings need to wear protective gloves which must perform at the low temperature without cracking or tearing on the cold surface while providing adequate thermal protection and dexterity.
In 2014 Hazchem Safety was approached by Air Products as the Health and Safety officer had serious concerns about the cryogenic gloves for drivers that were available on the market. The typical cryogenic glove used in industry was made of cow hide with Thinsulate® lining and knitted cuff. The main issue with this style of glove is the absence of any significant degree of water-resistance. When these gloves become wet the thermal conductivity increases which makes the risk of freeze burns and frostbite more frequent as well as causing discomfort for the driver. It was frequent to see lorry cabs with the gloves lined up on dashboards to dry them out between deliveries. During the winter months the wet gloves would stick to the freezing surfaces causing layers of leather to be stripped from the gloves.
Having been given a brief to address these issues the team art Hazchem set to work developing a glove which was waterproof, had greater dexterity, thermal insulation and wearing properties. The team quickly ruled out the use of synthetic materials since the cryogenic temperatures coupled with the industrial environment caused gloves made from man-made materials to breakdown very rapidly. After a process of elimination, a good quality goat-hide was selected for as it provided good dexterity and excellent wearing properties in the trials. The addition of a Porelle® waterproof membrane provided the necessary water proofing. As the trials progressed different levels of insulation were trialled before the optimum level of thermal insulation and dexterity was obtained for working with liquid nitrogen. To increase the longevity of the glove an additional layer of leather was added to the fore-finger and thumb as these areas were wearing prematurely. The elasticated cuff with leather wrist protector made the design very popular with drivers in thee cryogenic industry. Soon after, the glove was in full use by Air Products and came to the notice of the BCGA (British Compressed Gasses Association). After a full assessment by the BCGA Technical Manager a recommendation was made to the BCGA members that the GL9823 cryogenic glove is the safest cyogenic glove available to the industry. In due course other large industrial gas companies began to specify the GL9823 glove and it has now become the industry standard.