Here’s a frightening statistic: Lacerations and cuts are responsible for nearly 30-percent of work injuries leading to lost time in North America, and most of those happen to the hands. The best way of defending against such injuries is, of course, slipping on gloves capable of resisting blunt-force actions that result in cuts and lacerations, but not all cut proof gloves are created equal. Knowing when to use and how to choose cut resistant gloves is essential to protecting oneself in dangerous physical environments, and this article is going to cover pretty much everything there is to know about such hand protection.
How are “Cut Resistant Gloves” Defined?
What makes a glove cut proof? It’s a question we hear all the time. As these gloves are an essential part of most safety programs in harsher work environments, they’re specially designed to protect hands from cuts while employees work with sharp tools like knives or rigid materials like metal. Now, as we mentioned above, not all cut proof gloves are created equal – but this doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative, depending on the severity of the hazards being faced.
Additionally, there are two common standards utilized for measuring the cut resistance properties of gloves, with one used primarily in North America and the other in Europe and Asia: The North American Standard (ANSI/ISEA 105-2016) and European Standard (EN 388).
Differences Between the Types
When it comes to protecting workers from cuts and lacerations with gloves, it’s all about the yarn. Traditional cut resistant work gloves and sleeves are made from yarn constructed with an inner core bound by an outer wrap, this outer wrap typically boasting cut resistant material (HPPE or Aramid) with some additional filler such as polyester, nylon or spandex so the material remains flexible.
This aforementioned core, providing traditional machine knit gloves their higher cut resistance abilities, can be made from any of several different materials – or even a few materials combined.
- Fiberglass – Offers the lowest cut resistance (from “A2” to “A4” classification).
- Steel – Provides higher cut resistance but is the heaviest core material (and also the most rigid and stiff).
- Basalt – Offers cut protection as high as classification A4, with fibers boasting low moisture absorption and high thermal resistance.
- Blended Core – Any of the aforementioned materials blended together in different combinations; while this approach can improve cut resistance efforts, it can also yield a heavier glove.
Some manufacturers produce cut resistant work gloves that are made from rings of stainless steel (referred to as “metal mesh gloves”), from a resistant material cut to shape and sewn into a glove (often referred to as “cut-and-sewn gloves”) or knitted in one piece from high-strength yarns such as para-Aramid (Kevlar) or high-performance polyethylene (TenActiv), products referred to as “seamless knit gloves.”
The Bottom Line
The best of these types of products are classified as PPE – personal protective equipment – for a plethora of different worker types, particularly those who are employed at hazardous jobs. These gloves serve as the ultimate line of defense among employees, especially when they are delving into the world of risks and safety hazards on a day in, day out basis.
Indeed, punctures, lacerations and other injuries can be avoided if the right PPE is worn, and this counts double for work gloves. Keep your most valuable hands safe by ensuring they wear the perfect protection.