What types of gloves protect your hands from hazardous chemicals?
Check a safety data sheet and you might see a tip like “Wear impermeable gloves.” There are a couple of key issues with this type of generic safety recommendation:
- No glove can remain chemical-resistant forever
- No one glove material is resistant to all chemicals
There are a wide variety of glove materials available, and choosing the right one for your specific application is the only way to truly protect your hands from harmful substances (get all the protection you need by learning The Top 4 Pathways for Chemical Exposure). To find the right glove, begin by conducting an assessment to determine your needs, considering the following factors:
- Tasks being completed
- Hazards that require hand protection: tears, abrasion, punctures, temperature, fire, etc.
- Flexibility, grip, and touch sensitivity needed for the tasks
- Length of contact
Chemicals are usually broken down into classes, and safety experts note that gloves that perform well against one type of chemical in a particular class often hold up well against the rest of the chemicals in that class as well. Of course, be mindful that there is always an exception to the rule.
Once you’ve figured out what you need and the type of chemicals you’ll be working with, here is a handy overview to help you determine which gloves might work best for you (protect your workers from unnecessary exposure with Top Tips for Preventing Chemical Spills in the Workplace).
As you can see, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which gloves are best for chemical protection. By understanding your specific hazards and the requirements of the job, you can select the type of glove that is best for you.
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