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Are ESD Finger Cots as Effective as Full Gloves in ESD Protected Areas?

One of the options, when you need gloves for handling static sensitive items, is anti-static finger cots. These small coverings offer protection for the tops of the fingers, but are they any better or worse than traditional full hand covering gloves? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

What Are ESD Gloves?

Anti-static gloves are an important safety measure when working in an ESD protected area. If you don’t use suitable protective equipment when handling items that are sensitive to electrostatic discharge, an electrical current could transfer from your body and cause damage to the component in question. Furthermore, effective safety equipment, like ESD gloves, help to protect people from electrostatic discharge too.

As you might imagine, ESD gloves cover the entire hand, thumb, and each finger but there are many different types of gloves available. Latex gloves are particularly common for use in ESD protected areas, as they are a cost-effective way to ensure ESD safety. Alternatively, ESD nitrile gloves can also be used as disposable, ESD safety protection.

If you routinely work in an ESD protected area or you regularly handle items that are sensitive to ESD, fabric anti-static gloves may be a better option. As well as offering increased comfort, fabric ESD gloves can be re-worn, which makes them an economical choice.

Top Fit Gloves - BondlineWhite ESD Gloves With Dotted Palms - Bondline

What Are Finger Cots?

Anti-static finger cots work in a similar way to ESD gloves, but they are worn on an individual finger, as opposed to covering the whole hand. If necessary, multiple finger cots can be worn at once to offer increased protection.

Typically, ESD finger covers are available in either latex or nitrile, although fabric ESD finger cots are also available. Due to this, they’re generally considered to be a disposable form of ESD safety protection.

Although ESD finger cots can be a highly effective way to prevent electrostatic discharge, they do offer limited protection compared to ESD gloves. This is because less of your skin is covered and, if you inadvertently touch an ESD-sensitive component with an uncovered part of your hand, a static current could be discharged.

When you’re working with particularly small components or carrying out very detailed work, however, finger cots may provide you with enhanced dexterity and enable you to complete the task more easily.

Do ESD Gloves or Finger Cots Offer Better ESD Protection?

Both ESD finger protectors and ESD gloves should provide adequate protection and be suitable for use in an ESD protected area, providing they meet the IEC-61340-1-5 International Standard. While both options can provide a high level of protection from ESD, the fact that anti-static gloves cover a larger area generally means they offer better protection and carry less risk of current transference.

If you plan on using ESD tweezers to pick up sensitive components, for example, anti-static finger covers may provide all the protection you need. However, if the item slips or you forget that a large proportion of your hand is unprotected and accidentally touch the component, you risk causing irreversible damage. In contrast, anti-static gloves will allow you to use any number of ESD tools and provide enhanced protection if you do happen to touch the item with your palm.

Of course, finding the right ESD safety equipment depends on numerous factors, including the type of work you’ll be carrying out, how often you’ll be working in an ESD protected area, and which items you find most comfortable. By taking these key points into account, you can find the best ESD safety equipment for your needs.

Operative inserting ESD grounding cord into an underbench bonding point - Bondline

Choosing ESD Gloves and Finger Covers

If you’re concerned that anti-static finger protectors won’t provide sufficient ESD protection, anti-static gloves may be a better choice. In many instances, disposable ESD blue gloves are an easy and effective way to prevent electrostatic discharge but, if these aren’t comfortable or you don’t find they allow for maximum dexterity, fabric ESD gloves could be what you’re looking for.

As well as being reusable, ESD fabric gloves can offer enhanced comfort and a better fit. Elasticated wrists keep the gloves in place, for example, while non-slip surfaces on the palm and fingertips make it easier to complete complex tasks.

An ESD glove with an elasticated wrist for a better fit

Bondline coated palm glove with elasticated wrist for safe handling of electronics

Should You Use ESD Garments Too?

Both ESD gloves and finger covers are essential forms of ESD protection, but they aren’t the only type of safety wear you should use in an ESD protected area. ESD wrist straps and cords ensure you remain grounded, for example, and reduce the risk of electrostatic discharge. Similarly, ESD shirts and lab coats can enhance the level of protection and prevent unnecessary damage from occurring.

While heel straps, footwear, and ESD garments are all important ways of preventing electrostatic discharge, anti-static gloves and finger covers are particularly important as it is your hands and fingers that are most likely to come into contact with sensitive components when you are working in an ESD protected area. If you’re building or repairing electrical equipment, for example, ESD finger covers and gloves will enable you to work with these sensitive components while reducing the risk of ESD.

ESD Smocks - Bondline

Creating and Maintaining an ESD Protected Area

An ESD protected area is essential if staff will be working with ESD sensitive items on a regular basis. Fortunately, it is easy to create the right environment when you plan ahead and have the right safety equipment to hand.

With ESD matting, flooring, and benches, for example, you can ensure that workers have the basic equipment they need in an ESD protected area. When you combine this with ESD garments, tools, and disposable or reusable ESD gloves and finger covers, you’ll provide your staff with the safe work environment they’re entitled to and enhance operational performance in the process.

For More Information, Contact Bondline

To learn more, talk to our experienced team to find out what type of ESD safety equipment is best suited to your needs. Simply fill in the enquiry form below or contact us on 01793 511000 or sales@bondline.co.uk. Alternatively, browse our range of ESD gloves and protective wear now!

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