Imagine working with a handheld power tool, like a rivet gun or air-powered tool. You have one hand holding and operating the power tool and the other hand holding the bolt or screw being secured. Then, imagine one of your gloved hands getting too close to the rotating end of the rivet gun.
Maybe you’re not paying attention. Maybe someone bumps you. Maybe your hand slips. Either way, the next thing you know, your gloved finger is getting sucked into the tool’s rotating head.
What happens next?
With HexArmor’s Safe Finger Release (SFR) technology, the knit portion of the caught finger would start to tear away, allowing you to pull your whole hand away from the power tool quickly and safely. Depending on the application, this could narrowly avoid an injury or worse.
So, what is our breakaway safety glove technology? Think of it as taking the last line of defense to the next level when it comes to hand PPE – and yet another reason why HexArmor® is a global leader in hand safety.
So, let’s learn more about it.
What is Safe Finger Release technology?
Created by HexArmor® alongside a concerned customer, Safe Finger Release (SFR) technology features breakaway fingers. This means the gloves’ fingers have a section near the knuckles that uses a lighter, perforated knit. This ‘zone’ can be easily torn if caught, pinched, or snagged.
If you look at any of our gloves with SFR, you can easily see the perforated knit zones on each finger between the knuckles and the first finger joint. This zone offers the chance to prevent the entire hand from being sucked in or wrapped around the tool or material being worked on. More on this below.
When is Safe Finger Release technology needed?
Because of the nature of handheld tools, a gloved hand works closely alongside rotating parts, such as the handheld power tool we mentioned above. Due to hand slippage, slippery material, or other slips or movements, a glove can be unexpectedly caught, pulling the hand or finger into the equipment and causing severe injury to tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
Helping to mitigate these kinds of injuries, possible applications for SFR gloves are workplaces where handheld pneumatic or electrical screwdrivers are used, including:
- Handheld power tools
- Rivet drivers
Note that SFR gloves should not replace administrative or engineering controls by any means but rather offer an additional level of safety on the job.
How does Safe Finger Release technology work?
Because of the perforated knit zones, if one or more fingers get caught in a power tool, this perforated knit breaks away and allows the operator to pull their hand away from the tool.
To help understand how the knit can do this, it’s interesting to look at the force needed to tear a knit.
For example, our Helix® knit gloves that are not designed to tear away take about 70+ pounds of force to tear (note this depends on the knit and the glove and can vary dramatically; 70 pounds is on the lower end). But the knit used in the perforated section of our SFR technology takes about 15-21 pounds of force to tear the finger portion off.
This difference in pounds of force can mean either injury or safety. Both are designed to protect your hand, but each has different features based on the application. SFR anticipates the unexpected in specific tasks and offers the chance to safety.
Our disclaimer for products with Safe Finger Release technology
Please note that before any gloves with SFR are used, a safety manager must conduct a thorough workplace risk assessment. Based on the risk assessment, if it is determined that safety gloves must be worn because the risk of hand injuries is higher without safety gloves than with safety gloves, than gloves with SFR may be used.
Additionally, engineering controls and operator training must be prioritized to prevent the safety gloves from being caught and drawn into machinery. In particular:
- Any contact with rotating tools and parts should be avoided.
- The operator’s hand should not be intentionally placed in the critical area.
- All tools must be equipped with guarding for the rotating parts to prevent protruding parts from grabbing the safety gloves.
Please note that when wearing gloves with SFR, the risk of severe hand injuries may be reduced significantly – however, there is no 100% guarantee that hand injuries will not occur.
HexArmor® makes no warranties of the fitness of any of our gloves for a particular purpose. The user shall be exclusively responsible for assessing the product's suitability as specified for any individual application or use.
What gloves have tear-away technology?
There are currently three manufacturers who use this technology in the United States. However, each is a little bit different.
Here’s a quick introduction of each:
- HexArmor® Safe Finger Release (SFR) safety gloves – Our tear-away zone is located near the base of the fingers.
- Ansell HYFLEX® safety gloves – The whole back of the hand includes a knit that can be torn away.
- Tilsatec® safety gloves – These gloves have tear-away fingers, with the tear-away zone located near the finger's base.
HexArmor® can help
We have four work glove options with SFR that are used by many customers across many industries. To understand which glove might be best for you, look at the chart below.
If you do not need SFR, we offer a variety of hand safety information and glove products in different sizes and types so you can be properly protected for your specific application and environment.