Everyone knows it’s important to choose the right size of glove, but fit isn’t the consideration for glove selection. Choosing the right material is critical for protection from chemicals, biological agents, heat, and cold.The first step for selecting the proper glove for the job is identifying the hazards. Ask yourself:
- Are temperature extremes involved?
- Is there a risk of piercing or cutting the glove?
- What is the pH of chemicals involved?
- Is there a risk of exposure to infectious agents?
- Is there a risk of toxicity?
- What type of chemicals are present?
- How long will the gloves be exposed to the chemicals/agents?
If chemicals are involved, the next step should be to review MSDS sheets to learn about proper safety precautions.
Glove Comparison Chart
Don’t judge a glove by its color. Know its composition and make certain is the proper size for your hand. Don’t assume the most expensive glove is the best choice.
|Latex||Brief, incidental contact.|
|Nitrile||Available as disposable for incidental contact or reusable for repeated contact.|
|Butyl Rubber||Extended contact.|
|Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)|
|Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)|
|Stainless steel, Leather, Kevlar|
|Cryogenic resistant material (e.g., leather)||Incidental cold resistance.|
|Heat resistant material (e.g., asbestos)||Incidental heat resistance.|
Glove Safety Advice
No matter which type of glove you use:
- Inspect the gloves for punctures or tears.
- Remove gloves when handling everyday objects, like your phone, skin, computer, or door.
- Replace gloves if a chemical is spilled on them.
- Know the procedure for disposing of gloves exposed to biohazardous materials, toxic chemicals, or radioactive material. Don’t just throw your gloves in the trash.
- Remove gloves and replace them if you see signs of damage.
- Consider wearing a disposable glove inside another glove for added protection.
- Don’t re-use disposable gloves! Don’t wash them. After one use, they’re done.