Cut Resistance 101
Mechanical aggressors such as knives, metal parts and sharp objects are responsible for nearly 30% of the lost time work injuries in North America. About 80% of these injuries involve the hands. Most of these hand injuries could have been prevented, or at least reduced in their severity, had the right gloves been worn.
There are three types of cuts that gloves are designed to protect against:
These are very common in many industries. A prime example of an abrasive cut is the constant rubbing action of a glove when handling parts with a sharp or jagged edge, eg: sheet-metal stampings or plastic parts.
These are characterized by the “slipping” motion of a very sharp edge. The food-handling industry is exposed to much of this type of threat. Also any other industry where workers work with sharp knives.
These are not as frequently occurring in the workplace as abrasive and slicing cuts, but can happen with a far greater force. An example of this type of cutting accident is being struck by a falling piece of glass or sheet metal. On a smaller scale, impact cuts can happen in the thumb crotch area during the normal course of handling sheet metal or other sharp-edged materials.
Three primary choices and trade-offs in selecting a cut-resistant glove are:
- Cut-resistance protection level
- Tactile sensitivity and comfort
- Economics (price per hour of protection)
To accurately compare the cut-resistance properties of different cut-resistant gloves, Superior Glove™ makes use of the Tomodynamometer Laboratory Test Bench. A new razor blade is loaded into the test machine at the beginning of every test. With the aid of a computer program, the machine measures the force necessary to cut the sample glove material. This is done as the razor blade travels a fixed distance across the surface of the glove material. In this way, the cut resistance of different gloves can be accurately compared. With this information, and considering the cost and comfort of the gloves, a better decision can be made about what glove is best for a particular job.