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Don’t Bust Your Glass Looking for the Right Gloves

by Julie on May 4, 2016

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Wearing the right pair of cut-resistant gloves in the workplace can mean the difference between a good day’s work and one where you’d have been better off staying in bed. However, there are so many different factors that can determine whether or not a glove is appropriate for the task at hand.

Construction Worker Installing New Windows In House

For this reason, choosing the right cut-resistant glove can be a bit of a process — one that’ll definitely pay off in the long run. Instead of picking a glove at random, here are some of the things you should do if you don’t want to bust your glass to find the right pair of work gloves.

1. Carefully Consider Which Level of Cut Resistance you Need Before you Shop

To some, cut-resistant ratings can pose a bit of a problem. This is not necessarily because workers are unclear about the level of protection they provide. It’s really because the highest level of protection doesn’t always equal a higher level of safety for the workers.

Because of this, to give you a good starting point, we recommend having the current gloves you’re wearing tested for cut resistance before shopping for new ones; this will help you weed out the gloves that won’t offer enough cut protection right off the bat.

Don’t have a glove to send away for testing? Here’s a brief breakdown of the 9 ANSI cut levels and the types of hazards that they’re suitable for:

  • Level A1: Nuisance cuts such as paper cuts and other minor hazards
  • Level A2: Low cut hazards, such as material handling, small parts assembly with sharp edges, and/or general purpose applications
  • Level A3: Light to moderate cut hazards including light glass handling, forestry, and packaging
  • Level A4: Medium cut hazards such as appliance manufacturing, glass handling, and canning applications
  • Level A5: Medium to heavy cut hazards like food prep and meat processing
  • Level A6: High cut hazards such as pulp and paper (changing slitter blades), dry walling, and electrical
  • Level A7: High cut hazards like glass and window manufacturing and recycling plant/sorting applications
  • Level A8: High cut hazards including metal recycling and aerospace applications
  • Level A9: Extreme cut hazards such as metal fabrication, automotive, and sharp metal stamping applications

For quick reference, we’ve also put these new cut level classifications into a handy infographic for you.

superior glove-new cut levels-thumb
Determining the level of cut resistance that you’re currently wearing before you shop for new gloves will also make it easier for you to decide whether or not you should stick with the same level of cut protection, or maybe go up a level or two. If you need to improve protection over what you have, choose new gloves with a 15 percent higher cut resistance and 30 percent higher abrasion resistance. Although bumping up cut protection to the top end can theoretically help prevent more injuries, it can also leave you with a bulky glove that nobody wants to wear. Also, sometimes it’s abrasion resistance that you really need to improve, and you can do that with a lighter weight glove.

2. Check out the Materials

Without a cut-resistant liner, leather offers almost no cut resistance on its own. Cotton offers slightly more, believe it or not, but you already know that cotton doesn’t make a safe, cut-resistant glove. Kevlar® and Dyneema® both offer excellent cut and abrasion protection. And, when either of the two is blended with steel fibers, you get superior protection, if a slightly less comfortable glove. Within those groups, you have numerous style choices.

Another option is composite filament fiber. You can find that in Superior Glove’s TenActiv™ line. This material gives workers the best of everything for a glove that’s dexterous, touch-screen compatible, good in wet conditions as well as ASTM cut-level 4.

Each material and material combination offers something different. What’s ideal for one industry might not be for yours. That’s why we recommend booking a free glove trial, so that you can try out a few different styles and see what works for you.



3. Try out a Few Different Styles

The only way to truly find the best glove for your company is to take them for a test drive. You’ll want to try more than one to compare and contrast the pros and cons of each. One might fit more comfortably, another feel cooler, and another might launder better. Choosing the best glove takes a team effort.


Three fellas having fun


Ask your crew to try gloves on the job for a set timeframe. Be sure they’re active on the job for the testing periods to get the best results, and use the same conditions for each glove trial. Cut protection will be relatively uniform across gloves with the same ANSI level of cut resistance, so it’s not a risky test. It’s more for narrowing in on the material and style that works for you.

Need help choosing the right gloves for you? You should join our Advocate program. Each glove audit offers valuable feedback. While cut resistance is imperative, you’ll also want opinions about dexterity and comfort. No one looks forward to wearing an uncomfortable glove, so safety might take a hit if workers don’t like the new gloves that you choose. But a glove that fits well gives the wearer freedom of movement and doesn’t feel too loose makes wearing protective gear a non-issue. And that’s the greatest way of all to protect workers against cuts on the job.

Click the link to talk to one of our hand experts and pick the right glove for the right job.


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