Shattering the 3 Biggest Myths about Puncture-Resistant Gloves
While you might be surprised to hear this, out of the many different glove families that we manufacture and supply to workers all over the world, kind of like that long lost third cousin that you only see once every ten years at family reunions, puncture-resistant gloves are by far the most misunderstood. Since other hazards such as heat and cut resistance tend to be given so much more air time, it’s understandable why people don’t know as much about them.
Here’s the scary truth about the three myths we keep hearing over and over again about puncture-resistant gloves:
1. “This glove is made with Kevlar®. If it can stop bullets, it can stop this needle:
Often, people will reason that since a glove is made with Kevlar® or another high performance material, it will act as a kind of force field: they believe that since Kevlar® is fantastic for cut resistance, it can withstand any hazard, and keep you safe.
Well, we’re here to tell you that this is, unfortunately, not true.
Though the two terms are sometimes confused, cut resistance and puncture resistance are definitely not the same thing. The frightening reality is that while it’ll protect you against cuts, a knitted Kevlar® glove offers basically zero protection against punctures. The only way to get any real puncture resistance from a Kevlar® glove is to either a.) add layers made from a puncture-resistant material on top of the Kevlar® (such as leather or a palm coating like nitrile or latex) or b.) apply a woven layer (the denser the weave the better the puncture resistance) of high performance material like Kevlar® or HPPE, to the glove.
2. “A glove with a high EN 388 puncture rating will protect me against any kind of puncture hazard.”
EN 388, which is the most common measure of puncture resistance, uses a fairly large, blunt probe in the testing; this is a good simulation for many industrial hazards, including large splinters. However, that being said, the EN 388 probe has very little correlation with the puncture resistance of finer hazards, such as hypodermic needles. If you are faced with fine hazards in your application, you should look at ASTM F2878 results to determine which glove is best for your job.
3. “Since this glove is puncture-resistant on the palm, the back of the hand must be too.”
Unfortunately, this is also far from true: gloves that fall under the puncture-resistant category offer different kinds of protection. Many gloves are only puncture-resistant on the palms, so this is a crucial question to inquire about when you’re trying to select the right pair of work gloves for your workers.
Because puncture-resistant materials are, by their nature, required to be very dense in structure, they also have a tendency to be stiff. For this reason, most puncture-resistant gloves have puncture protection on the palm only. There are few styles that incorporate puncture resistance on the back of the hand however, they are far less comfortable than “palm only” puncture-resistant gloves. Because of this, it’s extremely important for you to evaluate the puncture hazards within your workplace. If you know that your workers need 360◦ puncture protection, you must ensure that they’re wearing gloves that will not only protect them from punctures throughout, but that the gloves they’re wearing are comfortable and dexterous enough for them to still complete their everyday tasks.
We’d hate for you to be unknowingly exposing yourself to hazardous jabs, probes, and pokes by wearing the wrong gloves for your application, so we hope that this article has given you a deeper understanding of what puncture-resistant gloves are, and how they work.
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