Safety for the Hand: Guide to Choosing the Correct Glove

Posted by Melanie Predolich on

As we all know, working in virtually all industries poses some sort of  threat to hand injuries. Depending on the industry you work in, these threats can range from cuts and punctures, to chemicals or burns. Not all gloves are created equal, so when you are deciding on a glove for your specific task, it is important to take into consideration the hazards you face and choose accordingly.
We’ve compiled a list of the most common glove materials, so you can have a good reference point and starting place when you have to choose your next pair of work gloves.
Cotton or Fabric gloves: This type of glove material provides a very basic and minimal level of protection. It will help to keep your hands clean (when working in a garden for example) and protect from mild abrasions, but these will not offer enough protection against cuts from sharp and rough materials.
Coated Fabric gloves: This glove material is particularly suited for handling mid level chemicals. Therefore, they are great for use in laboratories, assuming the chemicals are not extremely harsh or concentrated.
Rubber, Plastic and Synthetic gloves: All three of these glove materials have a wide versatility, and are typically found in a disposable glove, which means none of them have super high levels of cut resistance, but they can withstand minor abrasion risks. Natural rubber gloves (latex) will offer some chemical resistance, however synthetic and plastic gloves like nitrile or vinyl will offer a higher level of protection against chemicals and solvent as well as oils.
Leather gloves: Since leather is technically a skin, this glove material is not recommended for use in protecting against cuts or punctures, because just like our skin, it cannot withstand those hazards. Leather gloves are suitable, however, for use in welding or environments that have moderate heat and spark risks.
Chemical and Liquid Resistant gloves: Many different glove materials within this category provide varying levels of protection. These gloves are typically ones that are reusable:
            Butyl Rubber gloves: This type of rubber glove can withstand harsh chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, peroxide, sulfuric acid, and nitric acid.
            Latex Rubber gloves: This natural rubber material can withstand mild chemical and water solutions including alkalis, ketones, and salts.
            Neoprene gloves: This glove material can withstand a variety of chemicals like alcohols, gasoline, hydraulic fluids, and organic acids.
            Nitrile Rubber gloves: This glove material can withstand many moderate chemicals, which makes them very versatile. They can withstand many chlorinated solvents.

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