Cut-Proof Gloves (and Other Misconceptions About Cut Resistance)
Understanding cut resistance can be difficult at – least according to our sales team. They speak with men and women in various industries every day who are wearing gloves designed to keep their hands safe from cuts and lacerations.
They’ve seen firsthand the science behind, and limitations to, these gloves isn’t as clear as it should be. This post was written to clear up misconceptions about cut-resistant gloves and keep your hands safe.
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Misconception #1: Cut-Proof Gloves
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.
What we manufacture is a cut-resistant glove and there are different standardized levels of cut resistance based on the hazards you’re facing.
Even though cut-proof gloves don’t exist, gloves designed to be cut resistant are sometimes misinterpreted as being cut proof.
This leads to two things:
- People who get angry because their cut-proof glove didn’t withstand a sharp blade.
- People who get a false sense of security and perform tasks they normally would not.
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 you know cut-proof gloves don’t exist, but what about performing a field test to see how cut-resistant a glove really is?
Misconception #2: Makeshift Cut Test Methods
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. That’s because 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. But how often does the cut hazard a worker is facing come from a pair of scissors cutting through their finger?
Misconception #3: Leather is Cut Resistant
The main reason we need cut-resistant gloves is that our skin doesn’t offer much protection. Since leather is just the skin of an animal, it can be cut just as easily. Some leather gloves, like our Endura® Oilbloc™ Extreme Cut Goat-Grain Driver Gloves, are cut resistant, but that is thanks to specially engineered lining that offers top level ANSI A9 cut protection.
Misconception #4: Only the Palm is Cut Resistant
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 should give you 360 degrees of protection.
If your glove is made using high performance yarns like Kevlar®, Dyneema®, TenActiv™, or our new extreme cut glove yarn made from a blend of para-aramid and wire-core. 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 some gloves only have a cut-resistant palm, but that should be made clear by the manufacturer.
(Learn 4 other telltale signs that you need a new glove manufacturer.)
Keep in mind that a glove’s coating will only slightly increase its cut resistance. 99.9% of the cut resistance of a glove comes from the yarns.
Misconception #5: The Highest Rating = The Best Glove
Although a higher level of cut resistance provides a higher level of cut protection, the best glove is the one that protects against the hazards your team faces without getting in the way of their work.
That’s why we designed multiple versions of our new extreme cut gloves. Features like added dexterity, grip, oil and water resistance, ability to launder, etc., vary in importance depending on work environment. If a worker doesn’t have a needed feature in their 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 compliance takes a hit. Then the risk of hand injury skyrockets!
70 percent of workers who experienced hand injuries were not wearing gloves, and the other 30 percent were wearing the wrong type of glove.
Wearing the right kind of glove is just as important as wearing gloves.
Ready to learn more?
Download The Definitive Guide to Hand Protection.