Different Types of Safety Gloves for Different Purposes, from Construction to Cleaning, Oil Rigs to Laboratories

By Jordan McDowell

Whether you work in a laboratory or you’re doing construction on the road, finding the right pair of gloves for you is about more than the perfect

fit. Different types of safety gloves provide unique types of protection and what’s effective for one job is useless in another. 

Did you know that Occupational Health & Safety found that over 40% of workplace incidents are hand accidents? Avoid hand incidents on the job with the ideal type of glove for you and your team. Read on here to discover nine different types of work safety gloves and when you should use them.

1. Disposable Gloves

You see these gloves in doctor’s offices around the world, but they’re also used in laboratories, janitor’s carts, and home cleaning services. These are gloves built for incidental contact with chemicals and contaminants. Once they’ve come in contact with a chemical or bacteria, they should be thrown away and replaced. You should also avoid flames and abrasive surfaces, as they offer minimal protection in these areas. Latex-style gloves are used in industries that need to maintain a high level of dexterity and sensitivity.

2. Fabric Gloves

The most common type of glove for general projects, fabric gloves are ideal for any work that doesn’t require a super high level of protection. Thin, flexible, and lightweight, fabric gloves prevent minor issues including scrapes and splinters. They won’t protect you against punctures, major cuts, or burns. If you’re a painter or a landscaper, these gloves are a perfect choice.

3. Coated Fabric Gloves

A step up from regular fabric gloves, coated fabric gloves offer additional protection against cuts, punctures, and chemicals. PVC, nitrile, and neoprene are among the most popular types of coating. Choose your coating based on the job you’re doing. PVC is best for mining operations as well as oil and gas industries; nitrile is recommended for automotive industries and machining; and neoprene is ideal for cleaning, draining, and transferring dangerous chemicals.

4. Kevlar Gloves

Like bulletproof vests, Kevlar gloves are a lightweight solution that offers robust hand protection. Resistant to most cuts and punctures, kevlar is commonly used as stitching or lining to enhance other kinds of gloves. You’ll find welders and other industrial applications using kevlar-enhanced gloves to protect their hands from heat and cuts.

5. Leather Gloves

While leather gloves aren’t the perfect choice for working in extreme heat, they do offer great grip, insulation, and durability in hot and cold temperatures. Far thicker than a fabric glove, you get more protection from cuts and reasonable burn protection when in good condition. Be wary of shriveling and drying and replace them if you see any cracking. Synthetic and cow leather are frequently used by welders with additional wool or cotton lining inside the glove for insulation.

6. Rubber Gloves

If you’re looking for a very flexible glove that can resist all sorts of chemicals, butyl rubber gloves are the number one choice. This type of rubber is non-absorbent and resists everything from alcohol and ketone-based chemicals to acids, bases, and rocket fuel. You also don’t have to worry about hot or cold temperatures, corrosion, or oxidation. 

There are different thicknesses of butyl gloves that make them compatible with jobs that need dexterity as well as jobs that require extra protection. Discover every thickness from the ultra-light five millimeters to super thick 14 millimeters.

7. Vibration-Resistant Gloves

You may not have thought that repetitive vibrations are a risk, but EHS Today found that HAV (Hand-Arm Vibration) is an occupational hazard for those using powered hand tools on a regular basis. Whether it’s hydraulic or battery-powered, you need protection from your tools with special gloves. 

Vibration-resistant gloves can reduce the impact of extended exposure to vibrating tools by absorbing much of the energy that would be transferred to your hands and arms. From those who work in the fabrication and automotive industries to roadwork and construction, find impact-resistant gloves for your team.

8. Puncture-Resistant Gloves

Specially woven to deflect sharp tools, any industry that has a high level of manual cutting benefits from puncture-resistant gloves. Construction workers, food service employees, and warehousing staff use these gloves specifically to resist punctures and cuts.

9. Aluminized Gloves

If you’re working in heat, aluminized gloves offer the best protection. Resistant to high temperatures up to 2,000º F, you can find these types of gloves in foundries, laboratories, and welding facilities. Most of the time, these heat-resistant gloves are often supplemented with wool lining and kevlar thread.

Your Responsibility

As a team leader, warehouse manager, or employer, it’s up to you to know the risks and supply your workers with the right type of glove for their job. Identify the hazards they face and explore your options to ensure you’re getting the best protection.

All pictures: Image Source

Jordan McDowell is a writer and content strategist. He specializes in manufacturing and often covers workplace safety, but also enjoys writing about the automotive industry and the great outdoors.