Type of glove
Acids, bases, caustics, solvents, diluted-water solutions of chemicals, alcohol — high resistance to cuts
Canvas or cloth
Dirt, wood slivers, sharp edges
High resistance to cuts and scratches
Heat and flames
Hypo-allergenic and powder-free
Skin problems in workers with allergies
Liquids trickling down into the glove
Nitrile (synthetic rubber)
Oils, many solvents, esters, grease and animal fat — high resistance to cuts and abrasions
Broad range of chemicals, oils, acids, caustics and solvents — less resistant to cuts, punctures and abrasions than nitrile
Polyvinyl chlorine (PVC)
Acids, caustics, alkalis, bases and alcohol — good abrasion and cut resistance (some types are susceptible to cuts)
Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)
Aromatics, chlorinated solvents, esters and most ketones — resists cuts, punctures and abrasion (PVA breaks down when exposed to water and light alcohol)
Ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) also called flat film gloves
Highly resistant to chemicals and hazardous materials — little resistance to cuts and tears (usually worn as a liner under PVC or nitrile gloves)
Acetone and dimethyl formamide — not useful against cuts, punctures, and abrasions
Benzene, methylene chloride and carbon disulfide — little resistance to cuts, punctures, and abrasions
Finger cots that protect a single finger or fingertip.
Mitts with two divisions, one for the thumb and another for the fingers.
Thimbles that protect the thumb or the thumb and first two fingers.
Hand pads that protect the palm of the hand from cuts, friction, and burns from hot objects. These can’t be used when manual dexterity is required.
Sleeves or forearm cuffs protect the arms and wrists from heat, splashing liquids, impact, and cuts.
Hand lotions and barrier creams are best used with gloves or finger protection and should not be considered a substitute for gloves.
Select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when their hands are exposed to hazards such as:
- Skin absorption of harmful substances,
- Severe cuts or lacerations,
- Severe abrasions,
- Chemical burns,
- Thermal burns, and
- Harmful temperature extremes.
Base your selection of the appropriate hand protection on the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the tasks to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.
Gloves are often relied on to prevent cuts, abrasions, burns, and skin contact with chemicals that are capable of causing local or systemic effects following dermal exposure. But, there is no one glove that provides protection against all potential hand hazards, and commonly available glove materials provide only limited protection against many chemicals. Therefore, it’s important to select the most appropriate glove for a particular application, determine how long it can be worn, and whether it can be reused.
It is also important to know the performance characteristics of gloves relative to the specific hazard. These performance characteristics should be assessed by using standard test procedures. Before purchasing gloves, request documentation from the manufacturer that the gloves meet the appropriate test standard(s) for the hazard(s) anticipated.
Other factors to be considered for glove selection include:
- Replacement: As long as the performance characteristics are acceptable, it may be more cost effective to regularly change cheaper gloves than to reuse more expensive types.
- Work activities: Study how the employee performs job tasks to determine the degree of dexterity required, the duration, frequency, and degree of exposure of the hazard, and the physical stresses that will be applied.
When selecting gloves for protection against chemical hazards:
- Determine the toxic properties of the chemical(s);
- Generally, any “chemical resistant” glove can be used for dry powders;
- For mixtures and formulated products (unless specific test data is available), select a glove on the basis of the chemical component with the shortest breakthrough time, since it is possible for solvents to carry active ingredients through polymeric materials; and
- Be sure employees can remove the gloves in such a way as to prevent skin contamination.
Teach employees to wash hands often to prevent a build-up of sweat and dirt. It’s this combination that can cause skin irritation for the glove wearer. Check gloves for cracks and holes, especially at the tips and between the fingers and replace worn or damaged gloves promptly. Keep gloves clean and dry as much as practical and it’s a good idean to keep a spare pair of gloves for unexpected damage or loss.
Many hazards can threaten the torso:
- Splashes from hot metals and liquids,
- Impacts and cuts,
- Acids, and
A variety of protective clothing is available, including vests, jackets, aprons, coveralls, and full body suits.
Wool and specially treated cotton are two natural fibers which are fire-resistant and comfortable since they adapt well to changing workplace temperatures.
Duck, a closely-woven cotton fabric, is good for light duty protective clothing. It can protect against cuts and bruises on jobs where employees handle heavy, sharp, or rough material.
Heat-reflecting clothing such as leather is often used to guard against dry heat and flame. Rubber and rubberized fabrics, neoprene, and plastics give protection against some acids and chemicals.
Disposable suits of paper-like material are particularly important for protection from dusty materials or materials that can splash. If the substance is extremely toxic, a completely enclosed suit may be necessary. The clothing should be inspected to assure proper fit and function for continued protection.
Exposure to high noise levels can cause hearing loss or impairment. It can create physical and psychological stress. There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, so the prevention of excessive noise expossure is the only way to avoid hearing damage. Specifically designed protection is required, depending on the type of noise encountered.
Preformed or molded ear plugs should be individually fitted by a professional. Waxed cotton, foam, or fiberglass wool earplugs are self-forming. When properly inserted, they work as well as most molded earplugs.
Some earplugs are disposable, to be used one time and then thrown away. The non-disposable type should be cleaned after each use for proper protection. Plain cotton is ineffective as protection against hazardous noise.
Earmuffs need to make a perfect seal around the ear to be effective. Glasses, long sideburns, long hair, and facial movements, such as chewing, can reduce protection. Special equipment is available for use with glasses or beards.
For extremely noisy situations, earplugs should be worn in addition to earmuffs. When used together ear-plugs and earmuffs change the nature of sounds; all sounds are reduced including one’s own voice, but other voices or warning signals are easier to hear.
Disposable and reusable earplugs:
- Wash hands and inspect plugs before insertion;
- Wash reusable plugs daily and store in a clean case;
- Replace plugs that are hard or discolored as soon as possible;
- Make sure the plug fits properly inside the ear canal. If done correctly, the wearer’s voice will sound louder to him/her; and
- With headband plugs, do not bend or twist the band.
- Check cushions with each use and wash them as needed; and
- Ensure that there is a tight fit as loose muffs will not reduce the noise.
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