How to Choose the Right Type of Safety Gloves

How to Choose the Right Type of Safety Gloves

Gloves have always been an important aspect of workplace safety to protect workers’ most valuable tool, their hands. With new safety and hygiene protocols in place, safety gloves have become even more important. With a wide variety of gloves on the market, it can be challenging to choose the right hand protection.

Selecting the Proper Gloves

Safety gloves, like any safety product, need to be properly selected for the specific application. Knowing the challenges and protection needs a job entails will help you determine which protective gloves you need. It’s not uncommon for more than one type of glove to be required throughout a worker’s day.

Breaking Down the Most Common Types of Gloves

Rubber Disposable Gloves

Latex Gloves – A popular choice for the medical industry, latex gloves are tear-resistant, made of natural rubber, and biodegrade in less time than other disposable gloves. Latex provides a flexible fit and offers protection from viruses and contamination, but has a low resistance to petroleum-based products and chemicals.

Nitrile Gloves – Nitrile gloves are a synthetic rubber that provides high resistance to cuts and chemicals, plus added protection against petroleum-based products. Nitrile is more costly and used in various industries, especially for dealing with food, chemicals, and solvents. Also commonly used in the medical field as an alternative to combat latex allergies.

Vinyl Gloves – Vinyl gloves are most often used in the foodservice industry and short-term, low-risk tasks such as maintenance and painting. They are more susceptible to punctures and a low cost option. Vinyl gloves have a looser fit and contain anti-static properties.

To summarize:

  • Nitrile is the best choice for chemical resistance.
  • Latex and nitrile are the best options for high-risk tasks such as dealing with bloodborne pathogens. (Go with nitrile if latex allergies are of concern.)
  • All of the above materials are generally considered safe for food handling. Nitrile and vinyl are the most prevalent option in the industry though.
  • What glove is the more sustainable option? Although standard one-use gloves are not considered eco-friendly, latex does biodegrade in less time than nitrile.

Other Glove Types

Cotton Gloves

Cotton or fabric gloves are lightweight and often used for general work or used as inspection gloves. They should not be used to handle rough or sharp materials since they offer little abrasion protection.

Coated Fabric Gloves

Often used in laboratory work, coated fabric gloves offer moderate protection against chemicals, while offering more protection against abrasions than non-coated fabric gloves. Nitrile, PVC, and polyurethane are common coating types.

Leather Gloves

Leather gloves are most often used for welding and other general industrial purpose uses since the material resists sparks and allows for a good grip. Leather gloves are also moderately heat resistant and very durable.

Kevlar Gloves

Kevlar gloves are cut resistant, flame resistant, and protect workers from abrasions. They are also lightweight and flexible, making them a great choice for automotive, steel, glass, and metal workers.

Guide to Choosing Safety and Disposable Gloves

Fitting Safety Gloves

To encourage wear, make sure gloves are comfortable and fit correctly. For proper sizing, measure the circumference of the hand around the palm.

  • X-Small – 7”
  • Small – 7.5”
  • Medium – 8”
  • Large – 9”
  • X-Large – 10”
  • 2X-Large – 10.5”

Glove Maintenance & Personal Safety

No matter what type of glove you are using, any protective glove should be inspected before use to ensure there are no punctures or tears. Also, check for any discoloration that may have occurred from chemical exposure or excessive use.

When using disposable gloves, make sure all employees are aware of how to properly remove disposable gloves to prevent cross-contamination.

We'll Help You Get the Right Gloves for the Job

Knowing the hazards a job entails can help you choose the correct hand protection. Rocket Industrial offers a variety of work safety gloves and can help you find the best solution. Contact us for help exploring your PPE needs.

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