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Hopefully, by now we’ve established that wearing gloves with reliable cut resistance in workplaces where cuts are a big threat is crucial. However, though it may come as a surprise, many people don’t realize that depending on the application, sometimes, your arms will be exposed to the same cut hazards and therefore, they also require reliable, cut-resistant PPE.
In a nutshell, in workplaces where your entire arm (from your fingertips all the way up to your shoulders) will be exposed to sharp metals, piece of glass, or any other type of material that could cause a cut-related injury, you should be wearing both cut-resistant gloves AND cut-resistant sleeves.
Kevlar® is a material that we tend to come back to time and time again when we create cut-resistant products. Since it has such a celebrated history of being strong and reliable, it’s been used in everything from car tires to bulletproof vests. And now, we’ve used it to create some of the finest cut-resistant sleeves on the market as well!
Here are some of the pros and cons of Kevlar® arm protection sleeves as well as some tips on how to choose the right type of cut-resistant sleeve for your facility.
Let’s start with the pros…
1. Kevlar® provides unparalleled cut resistance.
Kevlar® provides amazing strength and cut resistance. A typical Kevlar® two-ply sleeve (meaning it is made of 2 layers Kevlar® folded over on itself) will automatically provide ANSI level 2 or 3 cut resistance; when combined with other types of thread, it becomes even stronger. When comparing sleeves, it is important to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. The easiest way to do this is to compare the sleeves’ ANSI cut resistance ratings, which the manufacturer should provide for you.
Here’s one of our most popular styles which features high-visibility Punkban™, ANSI cut level 4 cut resistance, and an adjustable Velcro® closure for a more comfortable, snug fit.
This means that along with being extremely cut-resistant, products made with Kevlar® won’t ignite should you wear them in workplaces with open flames. Unlike some other FR treatments, flame resistance is an inherent property of Kevlar® and not something that has been added to the material along the way; this means that it won’t wash out over time.
This is a huge plus in automotive welding applications, refineries, and steel plants, as well as in a variety of other industries.
3. You can wash it!
Kevlar® launders very well and actually increases in cut resistance after the first wash (although admittedly only slightly). Washing your sleeves multiple times will also result in dramatic savings over time, since it’ll mean that they won’t need to be replaced nearly as often. The typical 18 inch Kevlar® sleeve should cost you around $8 per pair. If you can wash it 4 times at 50 cents per wash cycle you’ve just brought your cost per use down to $2.50!
Just make sure that you never bleach Kevlar®…
And, of course, here are a few of the cons:
Kevlar® sleeves can be hot.
If you’re working in really hot environment, (think automotive plant in the South East in July) Kevlar® sleeves can become a little on the hot side. Depending on whether or not you have flame or spark issues in your plant, you may want to consider a Kevlar® sleeve that incorporates other fibers, such as nylon or cotton, as these types of sleeves will keep you much cooler. The other alternative is a cut-resistant sleeve made with HPPE (high performance polyethylene) which offers good cut resistance and is much cooler than Kevlar®, but has very poor flame resistance.
The best thing to do is to evaluate the risks in your workplace, and decide which factor is the biggest concern.
2. They’ll shrink a bit in the wash.
If you’ve purchased an 18 inch sleeve you will likely find they’ve shrunk a bit after the first laundering, and unfortunately, may no longer provide the right amount of coverage.
However, in comparison to the many pros of Kevlar® sleeves, this isn’t a huge concern – it’s more something that you might like to be aware of.
And, you’ll be happy to know that in order to account for this shrinkage, at Superior Glove, we knit our sleeves a bit on the longer side.
3. They fall down.
No matter how long they are, Kevlar® sleeves tend to fall down over time. This can be problematic since like an old sock that’s lost its elasticity and hangs out around your ankles, once they’ve fallen down, they’ll only protect your wrist area.
However, you’ll be excited to learn that we have two solutions to this problem.
First, we offer sleeves in XS-XL sizes, in order to ensure that they fit your arms much better in the first place and therefore won’t fall down nearly as easily.
Secondly, we’ve incorporated STAYz-UP™ Elastic into many of our sleeves, which is basically a grippy band at the top of the sleeve that secure it in place comfortably.
With STAYz-UP™, you can rest assured: that sleeve isn’t going anywhere!
Here’s one of our best-sellers with this feature: our Contender™ Flame-Retardant Sleeves with STAYz-UP™ Armbands and Thumbhole.
Find out why it’s not only a customer favorite but an award-winner as well: request your free sample today!
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Hand Injury Rates are Reduced by 60% when using the right gloves.