Most accidents involving hands and arms can be classified under four main hazard categories:

  • Chemicals
  • Abrasions
  • Cuts
  • Heat/cold

There are several types of gloves that provide protection against and opposes corruption and pervasion to chemicals. Confiding in the type and concentration of the chemical, performance characteristics of the gloves, conditions and duration of use, hazards present, and the duration of time a chemical has been in contact with the glove, all gloves must be replaced periodically.

Gloves must be worn at any potential danger like chemicals, cuts, lacerations, abrasions, punctures, burns (heat/cold), biological materials, or harmful temperature extremes and when utilizing chemicals that are easily ingested through the skin and/or particularly hazardous. The correct utilization of hand protection can shield from potential chemical and physical hazards

Selecting the Proper Gloves

Proper selection of the glove material is essential to the performance of the glove as a barrier to chemicals/biological materials/physical hazards. Several properties of both the glove material and the chemical/biological material/physical hazard with which it is to be used should influence the choice of the glove. Some of these properties include: permeability of the glove material, breakthrough time of the chemical, temperature of the chemical, type of the possible physical hazard, thickness of the glove material, and the amount of the chemical that can be absorbed by the glove material (solubility effect). Glove materials vary widely in respect to these properties; for instance, neoprene is good for protection against most common oils, aliphatic hydrocarbons, and certain other solvents, but is unsatisfactory for use against aromatic hydrocarbons, halogenated hydrocarbons, ketones, and many other solvents.
Please see Chemwatch for selecting the proper gloves.

Double Gloving

“Double-gloving” is a common practice used with disposable gloves. Twofold layer of assurance is provided by wearing two pairs of gloves on each other. If the outer glove becomes contaminated, starts to degrade, or tears open, until removing and replacing it, the inner glove continues to offer protection. The best practice is to check outer gloves frequently, watching for signs of degradation (change of color, change of texture, tears, etc.). At the first sign of degradation or contamination, always remove and dispose of the contaminated ones immediately and double-glove with a new set. If the inner glove appears to have any contamination or degradation, remove both pairs of gloves, and double glove with a new pair.

It is desirable to double glove with two sets of gloves made from different materials when working with mixtures of chemicals. If one chemical infuses through the outer glove material, the inner gloves can still protect by this method. The type of the glove materials should be chosen depending on the chemical worked with.

Glove Removal Precautions

Removing disposable gloves depends on simple rules: Firstly, grab the cuff of the left glove with the gloved right hand and remove the left glove. After that, while holding the removed left glove with the gloved right hand, insert a finger under the cuff of the right glove and gently invert the right glove over the glove in the palm of your hand and dispose of them properly. Finally, wash your hands with soap and water (See Figure 3.2).

how to remove gloves

Figure 3.2 How to remove gloves

(Courtesy of GIT Laboratory Safety Manual)

Types of Gloves

Table 3.3 represents the types of gloves:

Table 3.3 Types of Gloves

Latex gloves

Resistant to ketones, alcohols, caustics, and organic acids.

Nitrile gloves

Resistant to alcohols, caustics, organic acids, and some ketones.

Cryogenic gloves

Cryogenic gloves are used to protect hands from extremely cold temperatures.

PVA Gloves

Resistant to chlorinated solvents, petroleum solvents, and aromatics.

Cut-resistant gloves

Cut resistant gloves are gloves designed to protect the wearer's hands from cuts while working with sharp tools.

Heat-resistant gloves

Working with metal and glass forming and hot surfaces requires gloves that offer the highest level of protection against the multiple hazards of a high-heat workplace.

(Images courtesy of Egebant)

Adopted from Cornell University, Environmental Health & Safety department.

Latex gloves

Natural Rubber Latex - Resistant to ketones, alcohols, caustics, and organic acids.

Due to the fact that latex gloves can degrade severely in seconds while in use with common chemicals, the use of them are not really encouraged. Latex contain several proteins, so latex gloves can also result in allergic reaction in some users. Symptoms can include nasal, eye, or sinus irritation, hives, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or unexplained shock. Using latex gloves should be stopped if any of these symptoms become apparent.

The use of latex gloves is only appropriate for:

  • Most biological materials.
  • Nonhazardous chemicals.
  • Clean room requirements.
  • Medical or veterinary applications.

Very dilute, aqueous solutions containing < 1% for most hazardous chemicals or < 0.1% of a known or suspected human carcinogen.

Nitrile gloves

Nitrile - Resistant to alcohols, caustics, organic acids, and some ketones.

Cryogenic gloves

Cryogenic gloves are used to protect hands from extremely cold temperatures. These gloves should be used when handling dry ice and when dispensing or working with liquid nitrogen and other cryogenic liquids. For further information please consult Cryogenic Safety section.

PVA gloves

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) - Resistant to chlorinated solvents, petroleum solvents, and aromatics.

Cut-resistant gloves

Cut resistant gloves are gloves designed to protect the wearer's hands from cuts while working with sharp tools.

Heat resistant gloves

Thermal safety is also another part of personal protective equipment. Working with metal and glass forming and hot surfaces requires gloves that offer the highest level of protection against the multiple hazards of a high-heat workplace.

References and sources for information from the relevant websites and documentation of different universities, NGOs and government agencies used in the preparation of this website are provided at references.

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