Personal protective equipment (PPE) keeps us safe in potentially dangerous situations. An example is PPE; work gloves, also known as safety gloves.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, personal protection equipment (PPE) should be used to reduce exposure to risks that can potentially cause severe diseases and injuries.
There are dozens of random tasks available with customized specifications for the wearer’s demands in every industry that requires safety gloves.
These gloves are a kind of protective gear that completely covers and supports the hands and fingers while working on any project, guarding against accidents or workplace injuries like cuts, bruises, glass shards, tissue wounds, wood splinters, and burns from heat or chemicals.
Even though gloves don’t cover much of the human body, they do a lot to avoid the 25 percent of industrial accidents that result in hand and finger injuries.
To sum up, while working in any challenging or unfavorable circumstance, you should wear appropriate gear protection for your safety.
Therefore, we are here today; in this article, you will find a simple brief about safety gloves and their types, uses, and materials.
So, all you need to do is relax and read slowly.
Hopefully, you will find it enjoyable.
What Are Safety Gloves?
When performing a job, using the appropriate safety gloves is essential.
Then, what exactly are those gloves called “safety gloves”?
Simply said, they are coverings that protect your hands, fingers, thumbs, and wrists against specific external forces, chemicals, elements, and industrial hazards.
New chemical production and methods are evolving in this era of rapid technological development.
The necessity of having the appropriate safety equipment cannot be overstated because employees are more at risk in the workplace in many ways.
A hand injury could leave a worker permanently disabled in the worst-case scenario.
Furthermore, safety gloves must not only provide defense against risks from the outside but also ensure that the user can continue to work more effectively and efficiently while wearing them.
In addition to being comfortable, they must composed of materials that are kind to the skin and are not irritating.
There are hundreds of safety gloves, but those more commonly used in the workplace to protect workers are disposable or reusable gloves.
Types of Safety gloves
When it comes to safety gloves, the most expensive product does not always mean the finest quality.
The sort of glove to use would generally depend on the application, the type of conditions or contaminants present, the duration of the job, and the occupational environment.
Therefore, we will categorize them one time according to the hazards that may present in the job.
Secondly, we can categorize them according to the material used in manufacturing the safety gloves.
Numerous gloves are available for industrial and commercial use based on these factors.
1. Types based on the material
Lightweight Gloves ( Fabric & Cotton Gloves )
These gloves act as a thin, breathable barrier between the worker’s skin and the materials they’re handling or the tools used for the application.
Moreover, fabric gloves are suitable for keeping hands clean from contaminants such as dirt or dust.
Besides, these lightweight gloves may offer minimal protection against some abrasions and jagged materials.
However, they are generally ineffective in guarding against cuts, punctures, burns, or solid chemicals and solvents.
Finally, In some cases, these gloves are also used as liners worn inside more giant safety gloves to provide additional protection against low temperatures.
This is one of the gloves materials explicitly designed for heavy-duty work.
Leather gloves offer excellent grip, spark resistance, and protection against different surfaces.
They are also used to protect areas exposed to rough objects and moderate heat from welding or the friction from a rope sliding across the palms.
However, leather gloves are highly durable when adequately taken care of but can harden or fade when exposed to excess heat.
Besides, they can also dry out hands when they are not worn with a liner.
On the other hand, gloves produced from a combination of rubber and leather material for additional insulation are effective in preventing shock and burns from electrical contact.
Aluminized gloves have excellent heat resistance characteristics.
Therefore, They are suitable for welding operations, furnace and foundry work, and some laboratory applications that use high-heat ovens.
Aluminized material can also withstand extremely high temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, this glove requires an insert of a synthetic material to protect the skin.
Coated Fabric Gloves
Various materials, including latex, nitrile, polyurethane, and PVC, can produce this coated material.
These general-purpose gloves offer higher puncture, cut, and slip resistance for handling materials.
Although they provide excellent grip, asfor handling diluted oxidizing agents and oil-soaked components, they are not recommended for use with concentrated agents or solvents.
Moreover, coated fabric gloves offer improved chemical resistance compared to standard fabric gloves.
However, they are not a substitute for a dedicated chemical glove when one is needed.
They are designed for single use only.
For instance, disposable gloves can be suitable for applications with incidental contact, which means little to no exposure to the potential hazard, such as disposable examination gloves.
They manufacture it from thin materials like latex, neoprene, nitrile, and vinyl; users can still use their hands with sensitivity and skill while wearing them.
This quality, however, also renders them unsuitable for prolonged handling of sharp, abrasive materials or potent chemicals because they provide minimal defense against tearing, punctures, or chemical burns.
These gloves also can protect the wearer from solvents, petroleum oils, gasoline, greases, and some non-concentrated acids.
2. Types based on the task needed
Chemical and Liquid-Resistant Gloves
Chemical skin absorption can result in significant health problems.
Therefore, It’s essential to have proper protection from harmful liquids in various work settings, including the chemical industry.
Chemical and liquid-resistant gloves commmonly for prolonged exposure to large amounts of acids, alkalis, and other aqueous solutions.
Depending on the specific chemical or solvent used in the application, different materials can protect against other chemicals.
Then these gloves come in a variety of colors and designs as follows:
Synthetic rubber is commonly for protection against many chemicals, including:
- Ketones, Esters, Alcohols
- Nitric acid
- Sulfuric acid
- Hydrochloric acid
- Strong bases, Aldehydes
- Rocket fuels.
Additionally, butyl maintains its flexibility at low temperatures and offers a defense against abrasion, ozone corrosion, and oxidation. They also provide resistance to water and steam permeation.
They are considered multi-purpose gloves and are commonly used for light-duty operations, medical and laboratory procedures, or cleanrooms.
Latex gloves are suitable for biological hazards and water-based liquids.
In addition, this kind of glove is appropriate for complex and delicate tasks, as they are less bulky than other gloves, comfortable to wear, and offer tensile strength and elasticity features.
It is the ideal material to protect those materials, such:
- Hydraulic fluids
- Organic acids
This synthetic rubber is beneficial for workers that require finger movement and flexibility; Also, These gloves have high density and provide high tear resistance.
Nitrile rubber creates versatile, general-use gloves (such as disposable examination gloves).
They are also known as nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR).
These gloves can withstand exposure to those materials:
- Petroleum oils
- Some acids and bases
- Chlorinated solvents
Besides, nitrile gloves offer outstanding durability, sensitivity, and dexterity levels.
Nitrile gloves are considered the perfect alternative for vinyl gloves! Check our guide on vinyl alternatives.
For additional insulation and safety sealing requirements, neoprene may be added to or treated into nitrile gloves.
Such as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Polyethylene.
First, Polyvinyl Chloride, commonly known as vinyl chloride plastic.
PVC-coated gloves are commonly formulated to be waterproof, making them suitable for handling a range of detergents, aqueous solutions, diluted oxidizing agents, and oil-soaked components.
Secondly, Polyethylene is commonly used in the food handling process.
Also, this material is used to create thin, disposable gloves for operations similar to latex.
Tear, Puncture, and Cut Resistant Gloves
These gloves are specifically to guard against hand puncture wounds.
Furthermore, Gloves are often constructed from materials such as:
- high-grade stainless steel gloves
- poly para phenylene terephthalamide PPTA
(e.g., Kevlar) which contains fiberglass and para-aramid core.
Also, these gloves commonly feature a mesh aesthetic, scale- or flake-like structure that emulates fish skin.
Because of their unique manufacture, they become resistant to damage from sharp or abrasive objects such as glass, knives, needles, shards, and other puncture hazards.
Besides, when they are produced with linings composed of more robust materials, such as plastics, they offer even more effective abrasion or cut protection.
Finally, as we mentioned, we can use the following for tasks requiring light to moderate handling of sharp or abrasive materials.
C- Thermal or Heat Resistant Gloves
Thermal proof gloves or heat resistant gloves protect against extreme temperatures, either hot or cold, including:
Aramid or Kevlar Gloves
Kevlar is a heat-resistant para-aramid synthetic material that gets its strength from a complex chemical structure with many inter-chain bonds.
This material has significantly influenced industrial hand protection, giving the possibility of producing lightweight and durable gloves.
Kevlar Gloves provide the user protection against both heat and cold.
Also, as we mentioned before, they can protect against cuts and abrasions.
Aluminized gloves mainly for heat resistance.
As we mentioned before, They can protect you from heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to their insulating and reflecting qualities.
Therefore, these gloves are suitable for welding operations, furnace, or foundry work, and also in laboratories that use high-heat ovens.
Notably, It is also -as a kevlar glove- ideal for use in areas where a worker needs protection against cold.
As we stated before in this article, these gloves protect the wearer from moderate levels of heat, such as the heat produced from welding.
They are also used as puncture-resistant gloves.
Looking for the best leather gloves on the market? click here for our leather gloves guide!
Neoprene gloves are commonly used for protection against frost and burn injuries, as in the case of firefighting gloves.
Besides its thermal resistant characteristics, as we mentioned before, this flexible and durable material is effective for various operations.
D- Impact-Resistant and Vibration-Resistant Gloves
Although they first appear harmless, continuous vibration exposure can be dangerous.
In particular, if workers have been exposed to these dangers for a long time, absorbing this energy is essential to protecting them.
Occupational exposure to prolonged vibrating hand tools causes hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
This syndrome affects the peripheral nerves of the hands and causes musculoskeletal problems to the wrists, forearms, and elbows.
Thus, these gloves can absorb any impact and vibration during industrial operations, such as those produced during fabrication, automotive industries, and construction work.
E- Heavy-Duty Gloves ( Insulated Gloves )
Those gloves are made of a mixture of leather and natural or synthetic rubber, which are good at preventing shock and burns from electrical contact.
Due to their protection from electrical risks, these are most frequently used by employees who operate with electricity.
Furthermore, The majority of these electrical gloves are OSHA-compliant and are categorized by voltage class and whether they are resistant to ozone or not.
Ultimately, these gloves are frequently used in applications and activities like factory and facility procedures and power utility maintenance.
How do I choose the Right Safety Glove?
Unfortunately, with the given variety of options available, many employees and crews are still unaware of the most recent hand protection requirements.
Indeed, not every pair of safety gloves is the same.
For this reason, here is a simple guide for safety glove selection criteria.
Know the risks or the Hazardous materials
All you have to do is match each person’s gloves for the different types of work they undertake, along with the hazards and safety requirements.
This includes relatively minor injuries; even a scrape or cut might result in an infection that necessitates medical attention and time off work.
Choosing the right material
Therefore, we mentioned each type of material available on the market and its possible uses.
Besides, gloves provide varying degrees of protection against a particular threat, so it’s essential to ensure they match the task’s specifications.
In addition, you will need to take notes about the resistance experienced during the job and the grip requirements for every task.
Generally, thicker gloves provide additional protection and may reduce grip and maneuverability.
There is also significant competition between choosing a glove’s material for better protection or high skill.
Therefore, you will need to decide how to prioritize them because there are situations when a trade-off between these two criteria is unavoidable.
Choosing the right size
The wrong-sized gloves may prevent workers from moving their fingers or maybe excessively loose and risk catching on equipment and supplies.
Also, small gloves can tear easily during the job and not provide proper breathability.
However, a fit and comfortable size will give the worker better dexterity.
Because of this, instructions included with each safety glove will assist you in limiting your options.
Finally, Special orders for more specialized gloves can be necessary, particularly if workers have hands that are exceptionally large or small.
Inspect before every shift
Like all personal protective equipment, gloves should always be checked for signs of aging and physical damage such as wear, tear, discoloration, or swelling.
First, in the case of reusable gloves, they should be inspected before every use, even if they only receive light service.
Second, you should pay close attention to the hems and seams of gloves with seams or fabric lining.
Third, in the case of disposable gloves, once they are on, workers should perform a short visual assessment on each pair, especially if they have rubber components.
As rubber can be a severe safety risk since it tends to get stiff over time,
Also, compared to other gloves, nitrile and latex gloves are more likely to have tears and holes.
Ideally, the gloves should be completely airtight, but if they aren’t, you may need to replace them.
In other words, workers can try filling the glove with water or compressed air, tying off the wrist, and checking to ensure it doesn’t leak.
If water or air comes out of the side, you might need to invest in a new pair of safety gloves.
Proper storage and Expiration
Each pair of gloves should be kept in the way suggested by the manufacturer.
This generally means that personnel should put gloves in a dry, excellent environment when a shift is over.
So, this helps to ensure a long working life for their safety gloves.
Finally, never use a glove past its expiration date or after inspecting a minor tear on the surface.
Safety glove Regulations and Standards
Significant entities have specific regulations for choosing the right glove for each task.
For example, ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials.
ASTM measures the force in grams needed to cut through a cut-resistant material with a knife.
In addition, there is also the ANSI, or the American National Standards Institute, which is the primary organization supporting the development of technology standards in the United States.
ASNI provides a guideline for acceptable cut levels for protective glove manufacturers in the United States.
Of course, the International Organisation for Standardisation, or ISO, measures the force needed to cut through a cut-resistant safety glove, but in terms of newtons, not grams.
Last, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, famously known OSHA.
Of course, protective glove manufacturers have to consider those standards when designing and producing gloves.
OSHA Hand Protection Requirements
It is mandatory to use adequate hand protection.
Besides, employers are responsible for providing the necessary PPE for personnel to do their tasks safely.
Therefore, these regulations are an obligation for every employer.
- OSHA Standard 1910.38 states: 
- 1910.138 (a). General requirements.
“Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards such as skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.”
- 1910.138 (b). Selection.
“Employers shall base the selection of the appropriate hand protection on an evaluation of the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the task(s) to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.”
Safety gloves protect workers’ hands against various risks, as they can protect against chemical exposure, electrical dangers, cuts, abrasions, burns, and other hazards.
The human hand is a tremendously sophisticated tool capable of carrying out many activities.
If it suffers a severe wound, it might not have the strength and accuracy to carry out critical tasks.
There is a wide range of potential hand hazards in several sectors.
Therefore, safety gloves can provide a strong line of defense against workplace dangers and protect individuals from injuries that could end their careers.
There are two main types of safety gloves: reusable and disposable gloves.
Moreover, It’s crucial to understand that different materials provide various levels of workplace protection.
Thus, the kind of glove a worker should wear is determined mainly by the job performed and potential risks.