distributor of scientific instruments, laboratory and industrial equipment, and supplies, has an online tool for checking the
compatibility of safety gloves at
Disposable industrial or laboratory
gloves limit contamination in cleanroom
environments, microchip production,
laboratories, and medical facilities. They
are worn when handling blood,
pathogens, germs, or other potentially
hazardous biological samples. Because
finger sensitivity and dexterity is important for these applications, these gloves
are made of pliable materials such as
polyethylene, latex (see Figure 2), nitrile
(Figure 3), or vinyl. Disposable gloves
may also be used in food safety, technology, and preparation applications as
well. Typically, these disposable safety
gloves carry a label stating they are
compliant with FDA regulations for food
Figure 2. A latex disposable glove.
Figure 3. A nitrile glove.
Electrical safety gloves are generally
rubber-insulated to protect electricians
who are working with live wires and
electrical charges. As an effective nonconductor, rubber offers voltage-resis-tance according to specified levels.
Sometimes electrical workers wear
leather gloves on top of the rubber-insulated gloves to further protect against
abrasions and cuts.
Figure 4. A glove for work in cryogenics.
Temperature-resistant gloves keep skin
from experiencing the effects of extreme
heat or cold. Those working outdoors in
freezing conditions or indoors in freezers, cold storage units, or cryogenics (see
Figure 4) need to protect their hands
from frostbite. Welders, firefighters, and
other workers toiling around open
flames need glove materials that can
withstand high levels of heat up to 600ºF
(see Figure 5). Similarly, extreme temperature gloves are knitted with materials
that allow users to safely work with diffusion furnaces, hot/dry glassware, and
liquid gas flasks.
Figure 5. A heat-resistant glove.
Cut-resistant gloves safeguard wearers
from snags, punctures, abrasions, and
cuts and are most often found in industrial settings or animal handling applications. Cut-resistant gloves may be
constructed of metal mesh or Kevlar,
If the Glove Fits | FEATURE
perhaps with another material integrated
in the fabric or added as coating to enhance the grip.
Figure 6. A cut-resistant glove.
Leather work gloves crafted of cowhide,
goatskin, horsehide, deerskin, or pigskin
are often tough yet pliable for farming
and agricultural uses, carpentry, driving
heavy machinery, and related applications.
Fingerless gloves for cycling, sailing,
and road racing also can be useful in
work settings where optimal dexterity is
necessary and there is no need to protect
fingers from moving parts, contamination, or other hazards.
Finger cots cover one or more fingers
for protection when an entire glove is
unnecessary. Made of nitrile, latex,
vinyl, or rubber, they are used when
handling Class II static-sensitive or ESD-sensitive devices with thresholds above
Which Style Fits Best?
The style options or characteristics of a
safety glove may produce optimal work
performance and enhance comfort,
which cannot be overlooked when users
repeat motions for several hours a day.
Dexterity, or the agility of fingers, wrist
and hand within the glove. Workers requiring a high level of manual dexterity
should choose pliable gloves made of
Tactile sensitivity, which enables users
to distinguish between items they are