Hand Protection

Your hands are superbly designed tools of amazing strength and dexterity. They can pinch, grasp, twist, lift, hold and manipulate while doing a wide variety of other specific tasks, and it is important to keep them protected.

Hand and Finger Protection Gloves can protect hands and forearms from cuts, abrasions, burns, puncture wounds, contact with hazardous chemicals, and some electrical shocks. Not every job requires gloves – never wear gloves working with or around reciprocating or rotating machine parts. Choose the right glove for the right job: Glove Type Level of Protection Metal Mesh and Kevlar Knit Prevents cuts from sharp objects Leather Protects against rough objects, chips, sparks and moderate heat Cotton Fabric Protects against dirt, splinters and abrasions – improves grip Rubber, Neoprene, Vinyl Protects from chemicals. Read specifications on chemical package or material safety data sheet for proper use

Guide to the Selection of Skin Protection



Sharp Edges

Chemicals and fluids



General Duty

Product Contamination




Less Severe


Less Severe

Mild with delicate work

Risk varies according to the chemical, its concentration, and time of contact among other factors. Refer to the manufacturer, or product SDS.
High temperatures (over 350 deg C)
Medium high (up to 350 deg C)
Warm (up to 200 deg C)
Less warm (up to 100 deg C)

Reinforced heavy rubber, staple-reinforced heavy leather

Rubber, plastic, leather, polyester, nylon, cotton

Metal mesh, staple-reinforced heavy leather, Kevlar®
Leather, terry cloth (aramid fiber)
Lightweight leather, polyester, nylon, cotton

Dependant on chemical. Examples include: Natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile rubber, butyl rubber, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl alcohol, Saranex™, Tychem®, Trellchem®

Leather, insulated plastic or rubber, wool, cotton


Nomex®, Kevlar®, neoprene-coated asbestos, heat-resistant leather with linings

Nomex®, Kevlar®, heat-resistant leather, terry cloth (aramid fiber)

Chrome-tanned leather, terry cloth

Cotton, terry cloth, leather

Thin-film plastic, lightweight leather, cotton, polyester, nylon

Lead-lined rubber, plastic or leather

There are many gloves and sleeves specially designed to protect hands and arms:

Types of gloves

Neoprene, rubber or vinyl
Thick leather

Aluminized fabrics of nylon, rayon, asbestos, wool or glass

Rough finish

Cotton and terry cloth


Metal mesh

Insulated material often made of rubber and worn inside leather gloves
Protect Against
Most chemicals
Welding, rough surfaces
Handling slippery objects/materials
Abrasions and cuts
Knife blades, other sharp instruments
Electric shocks and burns

Note: To protect yourself properly from chemical products, it is a good idea to contact the supplier or manufacturer.

What are some other points to remember about skin and hand protection? Since there are many hazards, hand protection can be provided in a variety of ways:

  • Choose hand protection that adequately protects from the hazard(s) of a specific job and adequately meets the specific tasks involved in the job (such as flexibility or dexterity).
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care, decontamination, and maintenance of gloves.
  • Be aware that some materials may cause reactions in some workers such as allergies to latex. Offer alternatives where possible.
  • Make sure the gloves fit properly.
  • Make sure all exposed skin is covered by gloves. Gloves should be long enough so that there is no gap between the glove and sleeve.
  • Do not wear gloves with metal parts near electrical equipment.
  • Do not use worn or torn gloves.
  • Clean gloves as instructed by the supplier.
  • Inspect and test gloves for defects before using.


Advice for protecting your hands

  • Your hands must be protected against the hazards of the particular job.
  • Gloves should not be worn around machines with moving parts that could catch them and pull the hands into danger areas, for example, machines with pulleys or power-driven machines with rotating shafts.
  • Protective sleeves should be long enough to leave no gap between the gloves and the sleeves.
  • Do not wear gloves with metal parts when working near electrical equipment.
  • Some situations call for protection other than gloves. Find out if you would be better protected with barrier creams, finger guards or cots, hand protectors or leather products, arm protectors, sleeves or wristlets.



Government of Canada, Workplace Health and Safety, Health and Safety Reports and Publications
OHS Canada, Safety-Gloves Advice in the Palm of Your Hands

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