Revision 6/08 Hand Protection

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,
  • Punctures,
  • 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.

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