Dylan Morrill
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Glove Protectors Win Top Tools of the Trade Competition

Feb. 7, 2020
Hi-Line Utility Supply Hi-Grip Xtremes are both cut-resistant and arc-rated to safeguard linemen.

T&D World’s Top Tools of the Trade competition honors excellence in innovation in the utility industry. For 2019, Hi-Line Utility Supply won top honors for its Hi-Grip Xtreme Glove Protectors, which are now arc-rated and provide ANSI cut-resistance.

Hi-Line invented the product to meet the needs of field users and safety managers who were looking for a way to further protect their dielectric rubber gloves. By listening to the end users within the electric transmission and distribution community, Hi-Line recognized the need to create the Hi-Grip Xtreme Protector.

“Rubber gloves can be thick and difficult to work in, and the protectors also needed to perform no matter what the conditions were,” said Brandon Metz, Hi-Line operations manager. “Many of our users are linemen who use these protectors in the worst of conditions to restore power. The gloves needed to perform in wet, cold, and humid weather, help improve dexterity, reduce fatigue and protect the wearer and the rubber gloves underneath. The goal was to make it easier to complete the work at hand, improve safety and create a product that would hold up against the day to day.”

Upgrading the Design
Hi-Line redesigned and upgraded the glove protectors to offer greater dexterity and increased protection. The product is designed not only for the utility industry, but also for workers in telecom, electrical contracting, wind, rail and construction. Before introducing the product, Hi-Line invested a significant amount of time in the design and field testing of the Xtremes. Hi-Line pulled in linemen, arborists and field users who would put the protectors to the test and put them through the ringer.

“They never let us down by telling us what they really thought or what we should do better,” Metz said. “The feedback was used in the creation of the initial design and in the latest 2019 redesign.”

Metz said linemen gave him a lot of feedback that they wanted a cut-resistant glove protector to further protect their rubber gloves.

“Since there wasn’t anything on the market that would satisfy this need, I began working with my manufacturing partner on how we could make a better protector,” Metz said. “We tested many different options before landing on the early version of our current design. With the help of many line workers in the field providing feedback after trials the glove design was perfected using all of this feedback.”

Putting Them to the Test
Jeff Van Deusen, a construction manager for D&D Power in Cobleskill, New York, voted for the glove protectors as the winner of the safety category in T&D World’s online poll.

“The Hi-Grip Xtreme Gloves gave me superior dexterity while I was performing my job as a lineman, whether in the bucket or in a manhole doing underground work,” Van Deusen said.

Jon Fox, a lineman for D.H.E. in Stanford, Kentucky, also voted for the glove protectors. Finding a high-voltage glove with leather protectors is a big challenge in line work, he said.

“These gloves make every lineman’s job easier,” Fox said. “The gripping and hand fatigue really come at a price if you drop a bolt or nut 90 ft off the ground or on a live transformer. We need a glove that grips our tools and hardware well.”

Matt Ahern, journeyman lineman for Intren, agreed. He said that other standard protectors are smooth, making hot sticks and tools slip and slide around.

“You have to get a real strong grip, and the thicker the rubber glove, the less dexterity you have to begin with,” Ahern said. “Plus, this time of year, we start to tackle the colder weather, which makes everything harder. But with the Xtreme Protectors, you don’t need to worry about any of that. Your gloves always have a great grip, even when they are wet.”

Protecting Linemen
As of fall 2019, the glove protectors are now arc rated to ASTM F2675/F2675M-19 standards of up to 28 cal/cm² and ANSI Level 2 cut-resistance on the entire glove. These safety improvements protect the end user and the dielectric gloves beneath them, which are the first line of defense in an electrical incident.

The Hi-Grip Xtremes feature a full, silicone grip palm with a Kevlar underlay and Kevlar stitching. Hi-Line upgraded the straps to reinforced leather and made its cuff all-leather. The added cut resistance adds to the durability and longevity of the protectors, holding up the day-to-day wear and tear, while also providing additional protection for the rubber gloves.

“These protectors provide additional protection above standard protectors,” Metz said. “The Kevlar underlay provides additional cut protection and the FR silicone on the palm helps with grip to reduce fatigue while working in wet conditions. The protectors have also been arc tested to 28 cal to ensure they will provide protection against an arc blast.”

Hi-Line, which displayed its glove protectors at the 2019 International Lineman’s Expo, now offers new sizes and mitt-style protectors with an improved thumb design for better dexterity. The product now includes a wear guard on top of the hand for greater protection. By giving the gloves a grip in the most-needed areas on the protectors, the user can get their job done quickly, efficiently, and safely with less fatigue.

“The linemen seem very happy to have a complete solution available to them that isn’t overly bulky,” Metz said.

Casey Corey, operations director of Hi-Line, said the company is honored to win the Top Tools of the Trade competition for 2019.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that a product we invented to keep linemen safer is this widely accepted and appreciated to this level by the ones who use them every day. It’s the highest compliment.”

Congratulations to the 2019 Category Winners
Hi-Line Utility Supply was not only the top winner, but also won the safety category for the Top Tools of the Trade. In addition,  T&D World would like to recognize the winners in the other five categories. Thank you to all of the companies who participated in this year’s competition and to all of our subscribers who voted both in our online polls and at the T&D World table at the International Lineman’s Expo. Congratulations to these category winners and runners up, who competed for the 2019 Top Tools of the Trade.

  • Lineman Tools Winner: Milwaukee Tools for the M18 Fuel 7/16 in. Hex Utility High Torque Impact Wrench with One Key Runner Up: MADI for the Impact-Rated Multi-Use Tool
  • Safety Winner: Hi-Line Utility Supply for the Hi-Grip Xtreme Glove Protectors. 
    Runners Up (Tie): Milwaukee’s USB Rechargeable Utility Hot Stick Light and ILLUMAGEAR’s Halo Light
  • Truck Equipment Winner: Utility Solutions' Bucket Stick Storage Case
  • Runner Up: Condux Tesmec’s PT2600 hydraulic puller tensioner
  • Lineman Rigging Winner: Utility Solutions for the Conductor Lift Snatch Block 
    Runner Up: Hi-Line Utility Supply’s QUICKEEZE
  • Climbing Gear Winner: Buckingham’s Adjustable Body Belt 
    Runner Up: Sherrill’s Notch Carbon Fiber Pole Hooks
  • Workwear Winner: Hoffman for the New Powerline Extreme Boots 
    Runner Up: Lakeland Industries Mid-Weight Layering System

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