High Visibility Gloves


2,500 injuries per year are visibility-related

Nearly 100 road construction workers are killed and more than 20,000 are injured in highway and street construction accidents each year, according to NIOSH. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 2,500 of those 20,000 injuries are visibility-related.

Hi-vis apparel acts as a first line of defense to protect workers from being injured or killed in these visibility-related accidents. Brighter and safer: that’s the thinking behind the new standards and the products being produced to meet them.

Introducing hi-vis gloves
Hi-vis apparel is also important in work situations where being seen is not necessarily a life or death question. In these instances that do not call for the use of reflective vests, the addition of hi-vis protective gloves can be a key safety enhancement.

For this reason, hand protection manufacturers have begun to introduce specialized as well as general purpose hi-visibility gloves over the past few years — even though there is not yet a specific ANSI rating for these gloves.

Hi-vis gloves are being manufactured in the fluorescent colors (yellow, green, orange and red) known to provide contrast with prevailing ambient backgrounds found in daytime urban and rural situations. Fluorescent materials contain certain pigments that are activated by ultraviolet and short wavelength visible light for enhanced daytime contrast. The maximum effect of fluorescent materials is apparent during twilight and overcast conditions.

Some of these hi-vis gloves have special sponge nitrile palm coatings to provide oil and grease absorption in oily, slippery conditions. Research continues to make these gloves more and more comfortable and utilitarian.

Already hi-vis gloves are providing extra visibility on construction sites and in warehouses. They may also prove to be the answer for workers who only occasionally need extra visibility. For example, a truck driver could carry them in case he needs to step out of the truck on the roadway. A maintenance worker might have a pair of hi-vis gloves at the ready for those occasions where visibility is lessened.

Hi-vis lingo
The following seven terms are key to the discussion of hi-visibility materials:

  • Hi-visibility material is any material or device that generates its own light in an active or primary light source format to a brightness level that allows it to be seen easily. In a passive (or secondary light source) format, high-visibility materials reflect light generated by an active light source.
  • Reflectivity is the measure of a material’s ability to reflect light in an efficient manner. Hi-vis materials absorb less of the radiant energy that falls on them, and thus reflect a greater degree back.
  • Fluorescent materials are materials containing certain pigments activated by ultraviolet and short wavelength visible light.
  • Candlepower is a term used in the brightness measurement of retroreflective materials, and one that is useful in comparing products. One candlepower is a brightness level approximately 2.5 times greater than the brightness of white cotton fabric.
  • Decision sight distance is a term used in traffic engineering that assumes a 2.5-second reaction time, followed by a deceleration of a vehicle under human operation.
  • Angularity pertains to the ability of a material to act in a retroreflective manner when light is striking it at angles. A high degree of retroreflectivity is desired at angles of 30 degrees or greater.
  • Observation angle is the angle created by your line of sight to the reflective material, and the line from the reflective material to the light source.
Atlas 317 Hi-Vis Gloves

Atlas 317 Hi-Vis Gloves

What do you need?
If you are wondering what hi-vis apparel is appropriate for your workplace, ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 provides requirements for jobs that fit into one of the following three performance classes:

  • Performance Class 1 – For occupational activities that permit full and undivided attention to approaching traffic with vehicle and moving equipment speeds not exceeding 25 mph.
  • Performance Class 2 – For occupational activities where employees are performing tasks that divert attention from approaching vehicle traffic with vehicle and moving equipment speeds exceeding 25 mph, or work activities taking place in a close proximity to traffic.
  • Performance Class 3 – For occupational activities where workers are exposed to significantly higher vehicle speeds and/or reduced-sight distances, and the wearer must be conspicuous through the full range of body motions at a minimum of 390m, and must be identified as a person.

Smart business
For every dollar spent on safety, a company can save money on workers’ compensation, lost-time due to accidents and lower insurance premiums. In short, investment in hi-vis gloves and other apparel is smart business for most companies. As with most workplace safety initiatives, investing in preventative measures such as high-visibility apparel is significantly cheaper than losing workers to injury or even death.

While no product makes a wearer inherently safe, hi-vis apparel enhances the wearer’s visibility. In the end, the user’s behavior remains the key to safety.


Article written by Dave Shutt.

Dave,  product manager, coordinates Showa Best Glove’s new product development in general purpose, disposable and chemical-resistant glove lines among research and development, field sales and marketing teams, as well as distributor and end-user customers. A 20-year veteran with industry players such as Reichhold, he most recently served as Best’s Central Region Manager. He holds a degree in business administration from Malone College and is a Carnegie Graduate.

Reprint from Industrial Safety and Health News July 2009
ISHN is a business-to-business monthly trade publication targeted at key safety, health and hygiene buying influencers at manufacturing facilities of all sizes. This publication is designed for the busy professionals. They pack each issue with vital editorial on OSHA and EPA regulations, how-to-features, safety and health management topics, and the latest product news.  For more information, visit http://www.ishn.com/

View our High Visibility Gloves here

History of Showa Atlas Gloves

Showa_Atlas_Logo_400Atlas Gloves are manufactured by Showa Company, a leading Japanese hand protection manufacturer. Showa introduced Atlas Fit gloves into the American market in 1994 and since then the Atlas brand has built a reputation for quality and service you can trust.

In October 2007 Showa Glove acquired Best Manufacturing, one of America’s largest producers of high quality gloves, and the combined company was incorporated as Showa-Best Glove. In 2016 as part of Showa’s global branding strategy, the Atlas and Best labels will evolve into the Showa name.

Showa Co, the head office in Japan.

Showa Co, the head office in Japan.

In keeping with Japanese tradition, every day Showa searches for ways to increase its expertise, and for innovations to offer the users of its gloves greater comfort. With its objective of a “zero defects” policy, the company chooses only high quality raw materials, and implements increasingly thorough quality control, before, during and after production. PalmFlex has sold over a million Atlas gloves, and none of our employees recall an Atlas glove being returned because of a defect.

Shorubber, Showa's Glove Plant in Malaysia

Shorubber, Showa’s Glove Plant in Malaysia

Innovation, research and development, and preservation of the environment are three factors that make Showa one of the global market leaders.


Glove Innovation

Glove Innovation

Before 1954, cotton and leather were the only options available in terms of hand protection. At this time, Showa introduced the first gloves made from flexible and durable PVC. This major innovation enabled the company to quickly take 40% of the Japanese market. Since then, many innovations have followed.

– The 1980’s: Several patents are applied for: anti-germ treatment for glove liners, oil-resistant PVC and a slip-on coating that makes putting on and removing gloves easier. During this period, Showa develops seamless liner technology.

– 1983: Showa devises the Soa Tech range of gloves, including the Palm Fit model, which is both light and supple. These gloves allow high-precision work to be carried out quickly and accurately, thus maximizing productivity.

– 1990: A range of thin Nitrile gloves is developed.

– 1993: Showa launches partial coating, resulting in a balanced compromise between comfort and dexterity. The Flat Dip Technology coating technique is born.

Glove Manufacturing

Glove Manufacturing

Since then, innovations have been made by applying hi-tech, cut resistant textiles such as Kevlar® and Dyneema® to gloves, an important step forward towards greater hand safety.

With their seamless knit design, coated palm and ventilated back, Showa gloves are designed to limit perspiration. They undergo an antibacterial treatment to reduce both the accumulation of bacteria and odors caused by perspiration.

Today, Showa offers a range of gloves that is suited to the most complex and dangerous operations and which offers a level of protection that is widely recognized by professionals. As a result of Showa’s relentless pursuit for quality, it has many prestigious customers in the automotive, aeronautical, electronics, metallurgical chemical, construction, fishing, food services and agricultural industries.

Because Showa Glove consistently leads the market, as soon as the company brings out innovations, they are copied. Therefore it is important to look for the genuine Showa logo when purchasing palm coated gloves.


Glove Research & Development

Glove Research & Development

Showa’s capacity for innovation is only possible by placing Research and Development at the core of the company’s mission. At its plant in Malaysia, which employs 1,500 people, Showa has the industry’s most advanced research laboratories at its disposal. This research has just one goal: ensuring maximum protection against injury from cuts and chemicals, and greater comfort for users.


The Environment

The Environment

The latest challenge Showa has set concerns the protection of the environment. Showa chooses only raw materials that will neither harm the environment nor the user’s hands. Because it is conscious of the fact that the world has limited natural resources, Showa is developing a recycling program for production materials. Showa would like to leave the world clean for our children, and has made this a duty for its employees. Their philosophy is: “We live in a wonderful world and we must be ever-conscious of this in order to preserve it.”.

Showa’s revolutionary technology has resulted in the manufacture of gloves that offer ever-greater protection, and which allow the tasks they have been created for to be carried out, easier and more effectively. PalmFlex is proud to be a prominent Showa glove dealer.

AtlasFit 300 Gloves

Atlas Fit 300 Gloves are now Showa 300 Gloves

Click here for our selection of Atlas gloves.

Copyright © 2016 Darryl Abrahms