Arm Guards: Employee Safety Series

Using arm guards to protect arms and hands while checking slit coilEmployee safety is a top priority for us at Metalwest. We want to ensure each of our employees leaves work each night the same way they come in each morning. It is important for employees who are handling sheet metal material to be equipped with the right protective gear.

Arm guards are worn by employees who work directly with the metal, scrap, or banding. They help protect employees from being cut by sharp edges, burned, or exposed to chemicals.

Because we are constantly looking to advance the safety for our employees, Metalwest is in the process of testing a new type of arm guard for material handlers. While testing is still in the early stages, the new arm guards are proven to last longer and provide more protection than other types. They also obtain an ANSI rating of 5.

Choosing the Right Arm Guards

Climate and Comfort

All of our locations experience seasonal changes, but the changes vary from branch to branch. Some may have frigid, wet winters, while others are on the more mild side. Some may have dry, hot summers, while the others have humid ones.

The variation in climates can cause discomfort. Our material handlers are currently in the process of testing out arm guards and have positive feedback on the comfort level, but summer will determine if the reaction will be the same.

It is important to find products that protect our employees, but are also comfortable for them to wear all year long.

Using arm guards to protect arms while checking sheetCut Resistance and Injury Prevention

Another important consideration for arm guards is the level of cut resistance. Because our employees are working with thin sheet metal, cut resistance is a key component to making a decision on which arm guard is the right fit.

While there are many different hazards that employees can face on a day-to-day basis, there are a few key things to consider when looking to test or buy arm guards.

  1. Are employees working with any type of material or equipment that has the ability to cause abrasion or possibly amputation?
  2. Do workers risk being exposed to dangerous chemicals, liquids, or other harmful substances?
  3. Are employees at risk of being burned whether by heat or chemicals?
  4. Do workers pose the risk of being exposed to electrical wires or other types of electricity?

There are different types of arm guards (and gloves) suited to different needs. Because we need cut resistance at Metalwest, we require gloves/arm guards with a cut/abrasion ANSI rating of at least five.

We value our employees’ safety at Metalwest. After all, we are not just about the steel.


Collaboration with the Metalwest Safety Team.