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Specific equipment intended for hand protection. Selecting the proper gloves is very important when handling hazardous materials. These materials usually consist of caustic or toxic chemicals, biological substances, electrical sources, or extremely cold or hot objects that may irritate or burn a worker?s hands. In addition, traumatic injuries such as cuts, sprains and punctures may also occur. With the wide range of hazards, there also exists a wide range of gloves that may be used as PPE. It is important to know that not all gloves are protective against all chemicals.

When protective hand wear is required for a job, it must be assured that the gloves fit well, are comfortable to wear, are rated to guard against the particular hand hazards present, and are checked often for degradation.

The following is a guide to the most common types of protective work gloves and the types of hazards they can guard against. 

  • Disposable gloves, usually made of light-weight plastic, can help guard against mild irritants. 
  • Fabric gloves are made of cotton or fabric blends. They are generally used to improve the workers grip when handling slippery objects. They also help insulate hands from mild heat or cold, and they protect against dirt, slivers and abrasions. Adding a plastic coating will strengthen some fabric gloves. 
  • Leather gloves are used to guard against injuries from sparks or scraping against rough surfaces. They are also used in combination with an insulated liner when working with electricity. 
  • Metal Mesh gloves are used to protect hands from accidental cuts and scratches. They are used most commonly by persons working with cutting tools or other sharp instruments. 
  • Aluminized gloves made of aluminized fabric are designed to insulate hands from intense heat. These gloves are most commonly used by persons working molten materials. 
  • Synthetic gloves of various materials offer protection against heat and cold, are cut and abrasive resistant and may withstand some diluted acids. These materials do not stand up against alkalis and solvents.
  • Chemical Resistance gloves are made with different kinds of rubber: natural, butyl, neoprene, nitrile and fluorocarbon (viton); or different kinds of plastic: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyvinyl alcohol and polyethylene. As a general rule, the thicker the material, the greater the chemical resistance, but thick gloves may impair grip and dexterity, having a negative impact on safety.



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