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If a workplace hazard assessment reveals that employees face potential injury to hands and arms that cannot be eliminated through engineering and work practice controls, employers must ensure that employees wear appropriate protection. Potential hazards include skin absorption of harmful substances, chemical or thermal burns, electrical dangers, bruises, abrasions, cuts, punctures, fractures and amputations. Protective equipment includes gloves, finger guards and arm coverings or elbow-length gloves.

Employers should explore all possible engineering and work practice controls to eliminate hazards and use PPE to provide additional protection against hazards that cannot be completely eliminated through other means. For example, machine guards may eliminate a hazard. Installing a barrier to prevent workers from placing their hands at the point of contact between a table saw blade and the item being cut is another method.

Types of Protective Gloves

There are many types of gloves available today to protect against a wide variety of hazards. The nature of the hazard and the operation involved will affect the selection of gloves. The variety of potential occupational hand injuries makes selecting the right pair of gloves challenging. It is essential that employees use gloves specifically designed for the hazards and tasks found in their workplace because gloves designed for one function may not protect against a different function even though they may appear to be an appropriate protective device.

The following are examples of some factors that may influence the selection of protective gloves for a workplace.

  • Type of chemicals handled.
  • Nature of contact (total immersion, splash, etc.).
  • Duration of contact.
  • Area requiring protection (hand only, forearm, arm).
  • Grip requirements (dry, wet, oily).
  • Thermal protection.
  • Size and comfort.
  • Abrasion/resistance requirements.
  • Gloves made from a wide variety of materials are designed for many types of workplace hazards. In general, gloves fall into four groups:
  • Gloves made of leather, canvas or metal mesh;
  • Fabric and coated fabric gloves;
  • Chemical- and liquid-resistant gloves;
  • Insulating rubber gloves (See 29 CFR 1910.137 and the following section on electrical protective equipment for detailed requirements on the selection, use and care of insulating rubber gloves).


Source : OHSA

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