Hand Protection (Gloves)

General requirements of OSHA. “Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees' hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.”  In addition, for some jobs, the hands could become contaminated with work materials such as radioisotopes, biological agents, or chemicals.  Gloves are often used to prevent hand contamination and to raise awareness regarding the potential for contamination of other surfaces touched by those gloves.

Glove Selection

Identify the hazards using the PPE hazard assessment form, and then use this information with the glove table (below) to select the equipment.  Contact the EHS Office, if needed, for additional guidance.

Note:  In some circumstances involving work around machinery, gloves may create a hazard of being caught in the machinery and pulling the hand into the machine. Work around machinery such as lathes must be carefully analyzed to determine if gloves can be used or not. The specific task may determine if use of gloves is feasible.

Table for Selection of Hand Protection

Below is a table to be used for assessing hand hazards and the appropriate type of glove for those hazards. It should be understood that each glove has limitations, and a glove selected for protection against one type of hazard will not necessarily be effective against another type of hazard. If the work or task involves more than one type of hazard, this must be taken into consideration in selecting the best type of glove for the circumstances.  Contact the EHS Office if you require assistance with glove selection.




Biological research work

Disposable gloves.

N-dex nitrile glove or latex* glove offers a good barrier for most lab research.

Bloodborne pathogens.

Disposable gloves.

N-dex nitrile glove or latex* glove offers a good barrier for most lab research or clinical application.

Chemical contamination – low level. Example includes small drips on the side of beaker or test tube.

Disposable N-Dex. Soft Nitrile.

N-dex nitrile glove is resistant to a broad range of chemicals and is more puncture proof and abrasion resistant than natural rubber or vinyl disposable gloves. It is the glove of choice for low level chemical contamination. When any disposable glove becomes significantly contaminated with chemical, it should be immediately removed and discarded and the hands should be washed thoroughly. New gloves should be put on before proceeding with work.

Chemical contamination – High level or high hazard, e.g. pouring acid, work involving immersion of hands in chemical, work with toxic chemicals that readily penetrate the skin.

Chemical resistant glove..

Contact EHS for assistance with selecting the best glove for these circumstances. The following link is also useful.

Best Glove Manufacturing

Cryogens Cryogenic gloves Cryogenic gloves are insulated gloves to prevent burns from extreme cold temperatures when handling cryogens.  They have different properties from gloves designed for hot temperatures, so for handling cryogens, select gloves specifically designed for cryogen handling.  It is recommended cryogen gloves with mid-arm or longer protection be selected for transfer of cryogenic liquids.

Hot surfaces, e.g. steam pipes, items from autoclaves, welding operations.

Heat resistant gloves.

Gloves can prevent burns.

Handling knives or sharp objects such as box cutters.

Sturdy work glove or metal mesh glove.

The best glove will depend on the circumstances for which cutting tools are being used.

Material Handling, e.g. carrying supplies, moving furniture, removing debris from a work-site, handling wood or sheet metal.

Sturdy work gloves.

Use of gloves will prevent cuts and splinters from these activities.

Radioactive materials in the laboratory.

Disposable glove.

N-dex nitrile glove or latex* glove offers a good barrier for most lab research.

*Some employees may be allergic to latex containing materials. These employees should be offered other options for hand protection under these circumstances, eg. Nitrile or vinyl disposable gloves.