The workplace can create many hazards for your hands, whether from chemicals, cuts or burns. No single glove can provide appropriate protection in every work situation, so it is important to assess the risk inherent in each task and select a glove that provides specialized protection.
The National Safety Council lists the following gloves and the appropriate application for each:
Cotton and fabric gloves: These can keep hands clean and safe from abrasions, but may not be strong enough to handle work with rough or sharp materials.
Coated fabric gloves: This type of glove can provide protection against some moderately concentrated chemicals. They can be used in laboratory work, provided they are strong enough to protect against the specific chemical being worked with.
Rubber, plastic or synthetic gloves: These types of gloves can be used when cleaning or working with oils, solvents and other chemicals.
Leather gloves: These should be used when welding, as the leather can resist sparks and moderate heat. The risk of cuts and abrasions also can be minimized by wearing leather gloves.
Aluminized gloves: These gloves are recommended for welding, furnace and foundry work, as they provide reflective and insulating protection.
Kevlar gloves: These have a wide variety of industrial applications. They are cut- and abrasion-resistant and provide protection against both heat and cold.
Chemical- and liquid-resistant gloves: Several types of gloves help protect against specific chemicals:
- Butyl rubber gloves: nitric acid, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and peroxide
- Natural latex/rubber gloves: water solutions or acids, alkalis, salts and ketones
- Neoprene gloves: hydraulic fluids, gasoline, alcohols and organic acids
- Nitrile rubber gloves: chlorinated solvents