Injuries to the hands are second only to back injuries in work related accidents. Some type of glove should be worn by almost all industrial workers unless working near revolving machinery or within 6 inches of a powered cutting edge such as a grinder or drill bit. Gloves must be selected for the specific hazard. Gloves should be worn when it is necessary to protect the worker from rough, sharp edged objects, temperature extremes, toxic or corrosive chemicals, and energized electrical sources.
- Tasks. Employees should be protected by suitable gloves when engaged in operations hazardous to their hands.
- Electrical gloves. Rubber electrical gloves shall be used to protect workers against electrical shock while working around energized systems. Gloves shall not be used as primary protection when deactivation of the system could be used. Gloves must be visually inspected before use to verify integrity. Each glove must be conspicuously marked with the test date. Rubber protective gloves for electrical workers shall conform to ANSI Standards.
- Heat resistant gloves. Heat resistant gloves should be used for handling hot work and working near excessively hot equipment. Gloves should be asbestos free.
- Leather gloves. Leather gloves are tough and offer good resistance to abrasion and sparks. Leather gloves should be used to protect the hands from rough, sharp objects that may penetrate canvas gloves.
- Canvas gloves. Canvas gloves should be worn to protect worker's from wooden splinters, rough edges, and friction burns.
- Cut resistant gloves. Cut resistant gloves should be used in areas that regularly require handling sharp objects such as knives or sharp metal.
- Welder’s gloves. Specialized gloves should be worn by welders to protect their hands from sparks, heat, and molten metal splashes.
- Chemical resistant gloves. All employees required to work with chemicals should be provided with chemical resistant gloves. Chemical resistant gloves must be selected based on the chemical being handled. Gloves are not impermeable to all chemicals. In general, neoprene gloves protect against acids, bases, oils, grease, and solvents; nitrile gloves offer protection from acids, bases, lubricants, and chlorinated solvents; natural rubber resists mild acids, caustics, and detergents; and PVC gloves protect from bases, and oils. The manufacture's catalog or the Safety Office should be consulted for specific information concerning glove resistance to various chemicals.
- Blood. Workers will wear gloves made of vinyl, latex, or nitrile when it can be reasonably anticipated that hand contact with blood, other potentially infectious body fluids, mucous membranes, or non-intact skin is possible. Rubber household utility gloves will be used for housekeeping chores that involve handling items or surfaces contaminated with blood or body fluids to which universal precautions apply.
- Proper use. Gloves should be inspected before use for discoloration, punctures, or tears. Gloves should be cleaned or replaced periodically depending on the frequency of use and the permeability of the chemical. When handling highly corrosive and toxic chemicals, two pairs of gloves should be worn. The outer pair may be of a different material to increase the range of protection against a variety of compounds. Gloves should fit comfortably without restricting motion and they should be long enough to protect the wrist, forearm, or the entire arm depending on the application.