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You need your hands to perform everyday activities, so it’s important to keep hand safety front of mind. Based on the application, your hands may be threatened by abrasive surfaces, chemicals, broken glass, splinters, and scrapes or cuts, among various other hazards. Even a minor injury can mean the difference between finishing the month’s chores and being treated for an injury. Fortunately, there’s an affordable way to reduce the risk of hand injuries: safety gloves.

Safety gloves offer protection against various hazards and help ensure your medical bills don’t skyrocket. Unfortunately, few homeowners know how to choose a glove based on the risks they confront. With so many glove choices (along with standards regulating personal protective equipment), it can be difficult to identify the right glove for a specific application. This article covers the different types of safety gloves and the tasks they’re appropriate for.

Here’s a breakdown of the gloves:

1) Butyl Rubber Gloves

These gloves are designed to resist a wide range of chemicals, including esters, alcohols, acids, bases, rocket fuels, nitro-compounds, and ketones. Wearing these gloves can help prevent chemicals from burning or penetrating the skin and entering the bloodstream. Butyl rubber gloves can also protect your hands against cold, ozone corrosion, and abrasion. They’re ideal to use when your work requires you to be in extended contact with a substance.

2) Latex (Rubber) Gloves

These gloves are designed for gardening and construction applications. They not only offer protection from chemicals, solvents, and biohazards, but they also allow for movability courtesy of their form-fitting nature. However, latex gloves offer little heat or puncture resistance as the core material is flexible and thin. They’re also not suggested for people working with abrasive surfaces.

3) Vibrant-Resistant and Impact-Resistant Gloves

Homeowners in various cities are exposed to vibration — no wonder the interest in the topic of HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome) is on the rise. Thankfully, there are specialty gloves made to prevent this risk. If you’re working on a task where you will be receiving repeated impact or where energy could be transferred to your hands, vibration-resistant or impact-resistant gloves may provide the perfect hand protection. Both types of gloves are highly effective for work with pneumatic vibrating tools.

4) Leather Gloves

Leather gloves are known for their durability, insulation, and good grip. You can use them when welding; the leather will resist sparks and moderate heat. Additionally, leather gloves can help minimize the risk of abrasions and cuts, as they’re thicker than regular fabric. However, these gloves tend to fade, dry, or crack upon excessive exposure to high temperatures. Because of this reason, they’re not recommended for working with heat, though well-maintained leather gloves offer adequate burn protection.

5) Nitrile Rubber Gloves

If you’re looking for versatile, general-use gloves, there’s no better option than nitrile. You can find these gloves in a thicker variety for cases where there will be extended contact with solvents. Manufacturers also design them for incidental contacts, such as exam environments. The gloves are disposable and offer protection for many other materials, including greases, petroleum oils, gasoline, and some bases and acids.

6) Kevlar Gloves

The durability of these gloves makes them the ideal option for heavy-duty construction projects. They are abrasion- and cut-resistant and offer protection against both cold and heat (withstanding temperatures of up to 800°). Kevlar gloves are usually made from a combination of stainless steel, carbon fibers, and terry knit. They are a robust yet lightweight choice for hand protection, offering movability yet remaining solid under stress.

7) Aluminized Gloves

Aluminized gloves are high-heat-resistant, so they’re ideal for foundry and furnace work as well as for welding operations. Makers of aluminized gloves produce them with reflective and insulating properties, which is why they’re able to offer heat protection of up to 2,000° F when worn for specific applications.

8) Puncture-Resistant Gloves

Designed to emulate the skin of a fish, puncture-resistant gloves offer protection against puncture wounds. They rely on a flake- or scale-like structure to deflect penetration from shards, needles, and other objects that penetrate the skin. Puncture-resistant gloves allow for some movability, but they’re not as flexible as other safety gloves. They may not be the best choice for general-purpose tasks.

9) Anti-Static Gloves

Also known as ESD gloves, anti-static gloves are ideal for applications involving electronic components. Ask any appliance manufacturer for a safety glove recommendation, and you’ll hear ‘anti-static gloves’ without hesitation. Wearing anti-static gloves can protect the hands from electrostatic discharge, an important concern when working with printed circuit boards. It’s recommended that you use the gloves in conjunction with a ‘grounding wrist strap’ to achieve the lowest possibility of experiencing an electrostatic discharge.

10) Neoprene Gloves

These gloves offer protection against organic acids, alkalis, hydraulic fluids, and alcohols. They are known for having high density and offer better finger pliability and dexterity than most safety gloves. They’re more resistant to chemicals than latex and also offer protection against wear and tear. Sometimes, glove makers combine neoprene with other materials to create more cut-resistant, durable, and stronger gloves.

Don’t Forget the Importance of Maintenance

While it helps to know about different glove applications, you also need to focus on proper maintenance. Before each use, inspect your gloves to ensure they are not torn, punctured, or rendered ineffective in any way. Although a visual inspection is enough to identify tears and cuts, a more thorough analysis is required for detecting pinhole leaks. You can do this by filling the safety item with water and rolling the cuff towards your fingers. If the gloves are stiff or discolored, they probably have deficiencies. Common culprits are chemical exposure degradation and excessive use.

There you have it – a list of the best types of gloves to protect against hand damage.

If you’re dealing with the fallout from flood, fire or any other disaster, there are dangers inherent in working through the debris as well as in the chemicals used to support the cleanup effort. You’ll want to make sure that you have the right personal protective equipment, including masks, footwear, gloves, etc. The wrong gear could end up compromising your health and safety. Talk to our Utah disaster clean up specialists to find out how to gear up right or to seek help with your disaster clean up projects.