Permeability — Every glove has a specific permeability for every substance. No glove is 100 percent chemical proof for an indefinite period. In general, the higher the chemical resistance, the higher the cost and the more bulky the material will be. There is no point in over protection. You should choose the right glove for the right use. That is not to say that a safety factor would not be prudent, but simply selecting the highest level of protection is neither wise nor safe.
The table below provides some general guidance for hand protection materials. Use this as a starting point, and then select the glove that provides the best protection for all the exposures you can anticipate.
For more information
Once you have made some basic decisions, it is time to choose.
There are many resources available to assist you in selecting the perfect glove. A simple search engine query using “hand protection” leads to hundreds of suppliers, each with their own glove selection guide. You just need to know the conditions you may encounter.
Finally, review the references below to ensure you are fully prepared to make the best decisions when it comes to safety.
- ANSI/ISEA 105-2005, American National Standard for Hand Protection Selection Criteria. (Ordering information is available at www.safetyequipment.org/glovestd.htm)
- 29 CFR 1910.132 Personal Protective Equipment (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9777)
- 29 CFR 1910.138 Hand Protection, (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9788)
OSHA published its final rule on employer payment of PPE on Nov. 15, 2007. This rule applies to all forms of PPE with some special exceptions. Hand protection is just one of the issues covered under this ruling. If you want to read more about the rule, visit the OSHA at www.osha.gov/briefing.html.
Table 1: General Properties of Selected Glove Materials
Glove Material Applications*
Butyl A synthetic rubber material that offers the highest permeation resistance to gas and water vapors. Especially suited for use with esters and ketones.
Neoprene A synthetic rubber material that provides excellent tensile strength and heat resistance. Neoprene is compatible with some acids and caustics. It has moderate abrasion resistance.
Nitrile A synthetic rubber material that offers chemical and abrasion resistance — a very good general-duty glove. Nitrile also provides protection from oils, greases, petroleum products, and some acids and caustics.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) A synthetic thermoplastic polymer that provides excellent resistance to most acids, fats, and petroleum hydrocarbons. Good abrasion resistance.
PVA™ (polyvinyl alcohol) A water-soluble synthetic material that is highly impermeable to gases. Excellent chemical resistance to aromatic and chlorinated solvents. This glove cannot be used in water or water-based solutions.
Viton A fluoroelastomer material that provides exceptional chemical resistance to chlorinated and aromatic solvents. Viton is very flexible, but has minimal resistance to cuts and abrasions.
SilverShield A lightweight, flexible laminated material that resists permeation from a wide range of toxic and hazardous chemicals. It offers the highest level of overall chemical resistance, but has virtually no cut resistance.
4H A lightweight, patented plastic laminate that protects against many chemicals. Good dexterity.
Anticipating health and safety issues and taking action to prevent them is a long-term and profitable investment for companies. For more information on industrial hygiene and methods for promoting health and safety in the workplace, as well as a listing of industrial hygiene consultants, please visit the American Industrial Hygiene Association website at www.aiha.org.
John Glass has over 20 years of experience as an environmental health consultant. He has consulted on toxic exposures, risk management, and indoor air quality. He is the past president of the NJ Industrial Hygiene association and past chair of the AIHA Construction Committee. In addition, he has provided litigation support in several areas including mold, asbestos, IAQ and confined space entry.
90 percent of eye injuries are preventable through the proper use of protective eyewear
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