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How to Choose the Right Cut-Resistant Sleeves for Your Employees

by Robert Gheesling on April 14, 2015

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1. Do I need sleeves at all?

The first question you should be asking yourself is do my employees need to be wearing sleeves at all. If they’re getting cuts or burns the answer is probably yes. Another possible option is to get your employees into gloves with extra long cuffs. This creates two issues, the first being that an extended cuff on a glove will never cover as much of the arm as a sleeve will and secondly the glove will wear out and then you are throwing away a perfectly good sleeve that you paid for.


2. Which cut resistance level do I need?

A good starting point here is to reference the cut level of the gloves you are using. There are two schools of thought here.

Option #1: Find sleeves that are 1 -2 cut resistance levels lower than the gloves you are using as the arms are not exposed to the same level and frequency of hazards as the hands.

Option #2: Err on the safe side and find sleeves with the same cut resistance as the gloves you are using. In the past this Option was often both cost prohibitive and so uncomfortable that employees wouldn’t wear high cut resistant sleeves. This is no longer the case. ANSI cut level 4-5 sleeves are now much less costly and more comfortable than even a few years ago. (link to sleeve guide)


3. Do I need FR (Flame Resistant) sleeves?

If you are working around flames or welding spatter, there is a good chance you are going to want a flame resistant sleeve. Good materials to look at are Kevlar® (aramid), Protex® or the new blended flame resistant sleeves. One comment I would make here is sometimes people overestimate the need for an FR sleeve. If you’re doing minor grinding, an FR sleeve may be overkill, nylon or HPPE sleeves should stand up just fine.


4. Another major issue is finding a sleeve that will stay up on the arms.


There two reasons sleeves ride down around the wrist:

1. The sleeves don’t fit properly.


Tubular knit sleeves tend to lose their shape in a short time, especially after laundering. Just like gloves are not one size fits all – neither are sleeves, you should be looking for sleeves that come in sizes at least XS through XL, to properly fit the different arm sizes of your employees. The idea that the same sleeve should fit a small woman with 9.5” biceps as a Bubba with 17”+ biceps (or vice versa!), simply won’t work. In addition, look for sleeves that are designed to stay up, even after repeated laundering. Your sleeve should withstand a minimum of 6 launderings without any change in shape or fit.


2.The sleeves are being pushed down.

If your sleeves are hot and uncomfortable, your employees will do whatever they can to cover as little of their arms as possible (wouldn’t you do the same thing?). Some of the cooler, more moisture wicking cut-resistant materials available are CutBan™ and HPPE.


5. Take the Superior Glove Sleeve Challenge – Talk with your Superior Glove Territory Manager and they will help you determine which sleeve is best for your application. Then they will supply you with enough samples to perform a trial and show your employees: SLEEVES DON’T HAVE TO BE HOT AND UNCOMFORTABLE!

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