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Did you know that 70 percent of workers who experienced hand injuries were not wearing gloves? Or that the other 30 percent were wearing the wrong type of glove.
According to our sales team, cut-resistant gloves are one of the most confusing topics when it comes to hand protection. To set the record straight this blog focuses on misconceptions about cut-resistant gloves.
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Cut-proof gloves are the unicorns of the safety world — no, not magical and wonderful. I mean entirely mythical.
There is no such thing as a cut-proof glove. If there was we would only sell one glove and it would be called the “Perfect Glove 3000” and this job would be pretty boring.
What we manufacture is a cut-resistant glove and there are different levels of cut resistance based on the hazards you’re facing.
Even though cut-proof gloves don’t exist, gloves design to be cut resistant are sometimes misinterpreted as being cut proof.
This leads to two things:
They’re called cut-resistant gloves because realistically cuts can still occur. But by wearing a cut-resistant glove, a cut that required stitches becomes a cut that needs a band-aid.
So we know cut-proof gloves don’t exist, but what about performing a field test to see how cut-resistant a glove really is?
These field tests might be taking a pair of scissors or a table saw or a machete — our sales team has heard it all — to a glove and being dissatisfied that the glove didn’t hold up.
But it’s not surprising.
Cut-resistant gloves are not designed to stop a pair of scissors (or those other test tools). They are tested and rated based on the standards set by American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) ASTM F2992 cut test.
The science behind ANSI’s test method is to measure the cut resistance of a material against a razor blade under a specified load on a TDM-100 machine.
The test accounts for measuring errors by using a new blade each time the test is run since a dull blade would need more force to cut through the material.
The problem we find with performing a cut-resistance test in the field is that they are not realistic.
A pair of scissors will most certainly cut through a glove, even the “Perfect Glove 3000” cut-proof gloves. But how often does the cut hazard a worker is facing come from a pair of scissors cutting through their finger?
The main reason we need cut-resistant gloves is that our skin cuts very easily. Since leather is just the skin of an animal, it cuts just as easily. Some leather gloves like our Endura® Oilbloc™ Goatskin Anti-Impact Driver Gloves are cut resistant, but that is thanks to a Kevlar® lining.
We covered this question more in-depth in our post “Which Part of a Glove is Actually Cut Resistant?” but as a general rule, cut-resistant gloves will give you 360 degrees of protection.
If your glove is made using high performance yarns like Kevlar®, Dyneema® or TenActiv™ then you should feel confident that the back of your hand is just as well protected as your fingers, palm or wrist.
This misconception is a little different because there are some gloves where only the palm of the glove is cut resistant. For instance, our Dexterity® Cotton Glove with Hi-Viz Latex Palm has an impressive ANSI A5 cut level on the palm because of the Punkban™ lining. But, that should be made clear by the manufacturer.
A coating will increase the glove’s cut resistance slightly but only in the area where the coating is applied (usually the palm, unless the glove is fully coated).
As a way to significantly increase the cut protection and make sure it is still 360 degree protection, we use engineered composite yarns.
Engineered yarns are made using two or more components (ie. Kevlar® and steel). These gloves can offer twenty times the cut resistance of comparable-weight leather gloves.
These gloves are needed in a variety of jobs in the pulp and paper, butchery and metal stamping industries.
Adding steel to a high performance yarn is like reinforcing concrete with steel rebar. It’s making something that’s already strong even stronger.
So cut-proof gloves don’t exist but surely the glove that has the highest cut resistance must be the best glove, right?
This probably seems pretty basic but it’s worth repeating: The best rated glove is the one that protects against the hazards you face. A worker who uses a box cutter once a day won’t need the same protection as someone who works in metal stamping eight hours a day.
Using a glove designed for heavy-duty cut protection for a light-duty application has a snowballing effect: If a worker has less dexterity in the glove, they won’t be able to do their job right. If they can’t do their job right, they won’t wear the glove and then compliance takes a hit. Then the risk of hand injury skyrockets!
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Hand Injury Rates are Reduced by 60% when using the right gloves.