Puncture-Resistant Gloves

Last updated: June 13, 2019

What Does Puncture-Resistant Gloves Mean?

Puncture-resistant gloves are gloves designed to resist puncture by sharp materials.

The most-recognized standards governing puncture resistance are EN 388 (used to determine resistance to large-object threats such as nails) and ASTM F2878 (rated for resistance to fine-object threats such as hypodermic needles).

Safeopedia Explains Puncture-Resistant Gloves

Large-object puncture resistance is often provided by glove coatings such as nitrile, while fine-object resistance is provided by gloves created with thicker, more robust materials. These include Kevlar, epoxy plates, and steel mesh, each of which has different advantages and disadvantages in terms of the comfort, dexterity, durability, and level of protection offered to workers.

The use of puncture-resistant gloves by workers who face a significant risk of puncture injury is a legal requirement in many jurisdictions. For instance, OSHA has fined correctional facilities for failing to provide prison guards with proper hand protection against accidental exposure to needle pricks and other medical sharps. Injuries due to fine, sharp objects are extremely common. U.S. hospitals collectively report 385,000 needlestick and sharps-related injuries per year.

A glove’s resistance to puncture is graded on a scale that reflects its ability to resist puncture. A glove must resist puncture when subjected to a force of at least 20 newtons to be certified as offering the lowest level of protection against puncture by large objects (e.g. nails), and it must resist at least 150 newtons to be certified as offering the highest level.

For puncture resistance to fine objects (e.g. needles), a glove must resist penetration by a fine object applied with a force of at least two newtons to receive level one protective certification and must resist at least 10 newtons to receive level five certification (the highest). A glove that has been rated for puncture resistance does not necessarily provide cut resistance, and vice-versa.


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