Hand Protection

Your hands are superbly designed tools of amazing strength and dexterity. They can
pinch, grasp, twist, lift, hold and manipulate while doing a wide variety of other specific
tasks and it is important to keep them protected.

Hand and Finger Protection Gloves can protect hands and forearms from cuts,
abrasions, burns, puncture wounds, contact with hazardous chemicals, and some
electrical shocks. Not every job requires gloves – never wear gloves working with or
around reciprocating or rotating machine parts. Choose the right glove for the right job:
Glove Type Level of Protection Metal Mesh and Kevlar Knit Prevents cuts from sharp
objects Leather Protects against rough objects, chips, sparks, and moderate heat Cotton
Fabric Protects against dirt, splinters, and abrasions – improves grip Rubber, Neoprene,
Vinyl Protects from chemicals. Read specifications on the chemical package or material safety data sheet for proper use.

There are many gloves and sleeves specially designed to protect hands and arms:


Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride) disposables are economical, reusable or disposable. In addition to offering excellent sensitivity, vinyl disposable gloves are chemical resistant and ambidextrous. Available as a disposable, coated or vinyl impregnated style, Vinyl offers softness, flexibility and strength. Vinyl coated is an inexpensive choice for applications where cut and abrasion resistances are needed. Vinyl gloves are stronger than polyethylene gloves, and offer greater comfort for jobs like food preparation, bussing, and cleaning where gloves will be worn for a greater period of time. 


Nitrile Gloves are the perfect compromise between latex and vinyl. Nitrile is made from an allergy safe compound that feels a lot like latex but it’s much stronger, costs less, and is comfortable to wear. Nitrile offers superior resistance to snags, punctures, abrasions and cuts in the disposable glove arena, blended and nitrile gloves offer greater chemical resistance over standard latex. Will not weaken or swell like rubber (latex) or neoprene in many solvents and animal fats. Nitrile is perfect for demanding applications, especially cleaning and dishwashing.


Latex offers super strength and dexterity, liquid proof and chemical resistance protection. Disposable latex is the perfect solution for one time use applications. Thinner, with more dexterity and improved sensitivity, it is an excellent choice for protecting product from contamination or handler from product. Coated rubber is a great choice for more cut resistance, comfort and value. For a versatile solution, you can expect abrasion resistance, handling sharp edges or building materials like concrete block, tile or lumber from coated rubber.


Neoprene offers a broad spectrum of protection providing excellent resistance to a wide range of chemicals including oils, acids caustics and solvents as an unsupported glove. Reinforced neoprene coating provides better all-around resistance to abrasion, cutting and chemicals. Lining on a coated neoprene enhances puncture and snag resistance.


Nylon is a low lint synthetic fiber which provides high tensile strength that excels in applications such as inspection and parts assembly. Nylon gloves will help protect product from finger prints and contamination.


PU is mainly used as a coating in knit gloves. It offers great dexterity, softness and strength with a comfortable fit. Resistant to oils, solvents, greases, gasoline and more. Many polyurethane coated gloves offer to protect from minor cuts and scrapes.


String Knit 

String Knit gloves are an economical glove for package handling. They also work well as a thermal protection liner for other gloves in cold applications.


PE are economically priced synthetic, ambidextrous disposable gloves with an embossed grip for a variety of uses. PE gloves are most often used for light duty tasks that require frequent glove changes. This glove has a loose fit design for easy on and off applications, and is especially useful in food service lines, deli counters, and other high volume applications. PE gloves are mainly used in food preparation and industrial environments.


Leather gloves can be used for all types of applications and budgets. For strength, durability, and protection, leather is the first choice. Traditionally used to provide excellent and sturdy protection for cuts and abrasions. Breath-ability will vary from hides but overall very durable and comfortable to wear. Excellent choice for handling sharp objects.


Wool is a natural fiber that is known to provide excellent wind, water and cold resistant. A comfortable, hard-working, cold weather glove that provides excellent insulation.

Rough Finish

Rough coating provides optimal grip and is commonly used in applications such as fisheries, petrochemical industry, mining, and any work that involves handling slippery objects or materials.

Cotton or Terry Cloth

Cotton canvas/terry cloth/ Jersey gloves are made from premium materials, providing excellent protection at very reasonable prices. Cotton gloves are soft and comfortable while canvas provides a more rugged feeling glove for tougher jobs. cotton canvas is an excellent choice for protection against abrasion. Is lightweight and breathable for light-duty applications. Can be washed and bleached. Also offers good insulation depending on construction.

There are many gloves and sleeves specially designed to protect hands and arms:



Sharp Edges

Chemicals and fluids



General Duty

Product Contamination

Welding, Rough Surfaces


Slippery objects/materials

Electric Shocks and Burns



Reinforced heavy rubber, staple-reinforced heavy leather

Less Severe:

Rubber, plastic, leather, polyester, nylon, cotton


Metal mesh, staple-reinforced heavy leather, Kevlar®

Less Severe:

Leather, terry cloth (aramid fiber)

Mild with Delecate Work:

Lightweight leather, polyester, nylon, cotton

**Risk varies according to the chemical, its concentration, and time of contact among other factors.

Dependant on chemical

Examples include: Natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile rubber, butyl rubber, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl alcohol 

Leather, insulated plastic or rubber, wool, cotton

High Temeratures (over 350 deg C):


Medium High (up to 350 deg C):

Nomex®, Kevlar®, neoprene-coated asbestos, heat-resistant leather with linings

Warm (up to 200 deg C)

Heat-resistant leather, terry cloth (aramid fiber)

Less Warm (up to 100 deg C):

Chrome-tanned leather, terry cloth
Aluminized fabris of nylon, rayon, asbestos, wool or glass


Cotton, terry cloth, leather

Thin-film plastic, lightweight leather, cotton, polyester, nylon

Thick Leather

Lead-lined rubber, plastic or leather

Rough Finish

Insulated material often made of rubber and worn inside leather gloves

Note: To protect yourself properly from chemical products, it is a good idea to contact the supplier or manufacturer.

What are some other points to remember about skin and hand protection? Since there are many hazards, hand protection can be provided in a variety of ways:

  • Choose hand protection that adequately protects from the hazard(s) of a specific job and adequately meets the specific tasks involved in the job (such as flexibility or dexterity).
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care, decontamination, and maintenance of gloves.
  • Be aware that some materials may cause reactions in some workers such as allergies to latex. Offer alternatives where possible.
  • Make sure the gloves fit properly.
  • Make sure all exposed skin is covered by gloves. Gloves should be long enough so that there is no gap between the glove and sleeve.
  • Do not wear gloves with metal parts near electrical equipment.
  • Do not use worn or torn gloves.
  • Clean gloves as instructed by the supplier.
  • Inspect and test gloves for defects before using.


Advice for protecting your hands

  • Your hands must be protected against the hazards of the particular job.
  • Gloves should not be worn around machines with moving parts that could catch them and pull the hands into danger areas, for example, machines with pulleys or power-driven machines with rotating shafts.
  • Protective sleeves should be long enough to leave no gap between the gloves and the sleeves.
  • Do not wear gloves with metal parts when working near electrical equipment.
  • Some situations call for protection other than gloves. Find out if you would be better protected with barrier creams, finger guards or cots, hand protectors or leather products, arm protectors, sleeves or wristlets.



Government of Canada, Workplace Health and Safety, Health and Safety Reports and Publications
OHS Canada, Safety-Gloves Advice in the Palm of Your Hands

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