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Gloves For Safety at Work

When you hear the word “work glove,” you may think of the bulky tough leather gloves employed in manual work. These are great for certain sorts of work. However, gloves of all kinds are becoming commonplace at work.

The gloves can be waterproof and protect against chemical burns and skin absorption while allowing excellent grasp and dexterity.

We’ll review the various kinds of glove materials and other factors to consider when choosing the right glove to use in your work environment.

Work Gloves

Suggested Read: Selection of Hard Hats For Safety At Work

How to Choose Gloves

Don’t treat gloves in isolation with other gloves for safety. Therefore, when choosing the gloves, be sure they provide the appropriate amount of protection against the risk (or combination of risks) that is inherent to the job.

Choose, and let every employee affected use the kinds of PPE to ensure that the employee is protected from the dangers that were identified in the hazard analysis.

Employers should base their choice of the proper hand protection on assessing the characteristics of the performance of the hand protection with the job to be done, the environment, and the duration of usage, as well as the potential hazards and dangers identified.

These guidelines indicate that although employees are entitled to a say when it comes to the selection of PPE, It is the job of the employer to ensure that the appropriate glove is used properly and suitable to the risk.

To figure out what kind of glove you require, you must do a risk assessment, determine the items your employees’ hands may be exposed to and choose the glove that is able to stand up to the chemical. Every chemical has its unique characteristics. In addition, the PPE portion on the safety data sheet of the chemical will provide the type of glove that is suitable to handle the product.

Another thing to consider is how much dexterity and grip you need to complete an activity.

Particular attention should be paid to instances when chemical mixtures or multiple chemicals are at risk simultaneously. The glove you choose must safeguard you against chemical hazards of all kinds.

When to Use Gloves

Gloves are an efficient method of handling chemical or biological agents that can contaminate the gloves. The process of decontamination is complex, costly, and lengthy. It’s logical, then, that you sacrifice durability to prevent it.

We suggest Gloves for work with low intensity or areas with a low danger of cutting or puncturing. Use them cautiously because the glove tearing can cause immediate and severe adverse reactions.


A few typical uses of chemical-resistant gloves include:

  • Change a cartridge of toner
  • Adhesive work
  • Cleaning the engine components
  • Maintenance and cleaning
  • Making an oil change
  • Decanting substances in a big container into a smaller
  • Painting

Common Gloves Materials and Their Uses


Latex gloves provide an effective barrier that provides the same size. Certain people are not able to wear gloves because of allergies.

Latex gives you resistance to many chemical and biological agents, which include:

  • Nitric acid
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Methanol
  • Acetone
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Some weed killers

Latex gloves are widely used in food handling laboratories, labs, chemical factories, janitorial, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture.

Advantages: Reliable barrier protection, consistent fit.

A disadvantage: The possibility of allergic reactions.


The vinyl gloves offer the most affordable choice and are utilized in jobs that don’t require a great level of tactile sensitivity, such as those in food processing. Vinyl is a good shield against bases, acids, peroxides, and amines. Fats.

You can use vinyl in:

  • Commercial fishing
  • Maintenance
  • Mining
  • Fuel oil
  • Mechanical work
  • Construction
  • Petrochemicals

Advantages: Less expensive than Latex and nitrile. Non-allergenic.

Disadvantage: Looser fit.


Nitrile gloves are among the most well-known because of their toughness, chemical, and abrasion resistance. They can provide three times the puncture resistance than vinyl or latex, which means you can tackle more difficult tasks with these. They resist acids, greases, bases, and oils. 

Advantages: The best quality substitute for Latex. A high level of chemical, puncture, and resistance to abrasion.

The disadvantage is that it doesn’t offer the same flexibility as Latex.


Polyethylene gloves provide a cost-effective solution to provide an indefinite barrier against contamination. They are a good option for those performing jobs that require a short time, such as within the food industry, where numerous changes are required. But, due to their fragility, their use is typically restricted to food-related services or cleaning.

Advantages: Economical.

Disadvantage: single-use application and loose-fitting.

Other Considerations

Nature of Contact

In the event of handling biological or chemical substances, the protection offered by them may be either proactive (for contact that is incidental) as well as reactive (for prolonged contact). You’ll need them to provide more protection when you plan for extended contact.

The most commonly reported cases of accidental contact include:

  • Splashes or spills that happen accidentally
  • Unintentional spillsprays from a device for dispensing
  • Infection control that requires barrier protection
  • To avoid contamination of materials in the course of handling

Extended contact refers to the following scenarios:

  • Cleaning materials with high levels of contamination
  • Immersing your hands in chemicals or other substance that is hazardous
  • Protection from physical hazards like extreme temperatures or sharp or piercing objects


Gloves are available in various sizes and thicknesses. The thicker the glove, the more durable and the time it takes longer for chemicals to penetrate thicker materials.

The thicker gloves come with their drawbacks. However, they have flaws: the thicker the material, the less the flexibility and agility of the hand. When you decide on the thickness of gloves, calculate the importance of these features. You should replace thinner gloves frequently if you require dexterity.

Gloves Color

While it’s not the main factor to consider when choosing a glove, the color of the glove may be a factor. When you’re assembling small pieces and dexterity is essential. A color that contrasts with the surrounding area will make it easier to identify the objects being handled, cutting down the task’s duration and minimizing the loss of components.

Gloves  Modulus/Rigidity

The kind of material used and its thickness determine how flexible a glove is. Gloves with the highest modulus (high rigidity) will require more workforce and may cause fatigue.

Most gloves with greater rigidity are stronger in tensile and require more strength to fracture them. Therefore, when excessive risk or dexterity is not a significant factor, a rigid glove may last longer and reduce the expense.

Finish Type

The smoother gloves offer better control, while texturized offer, at a minimum, the theory goes, a greater grip. You can determine the grip of glove by the nature of the glove or its coating.

Gloves  Size

The size that they come in is comparable to the size of safety gloves that are worn regularly, but with the caution that the majority of them are elastic, and consequently, they provide an ideal fit.


The choice of a glove which is the most suitable for the job is an overwhelming task, mainly due to their inability to resist mechanical forces and the severe consequences of choosing the wrong one could be. The number of chemicals we encounter used in our workplaces and the many available tasks make the decision more difficult. To make sure you’re making the right decision, you must know the working conditions of your place of work. 

Also Read: 8 Tips for Choosing High-Quality Medical Scrubs



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