Why Do I Need Cut-Resistant Gloves?

Finding the Right Glove for the Job

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to understanding cut-resistance and gloves.  How much cut-resistance do safety gloves offer?  What do the different levels mean?  How much do I need? 

Safety gloves are worn to protect.  But while some gloves only provide a barrier against dirt, pathogens and body fluids, others can also shield you from pricks, punctures and cuts.

The different levels of cut-resistance in gloves can be confusing.  Joe Geng, Vice President of Superior Glove Works Ltd., offers an infographic that depicts the different cut-resistance levels for gloves and the tasks for which each is best suited. *Please scroll to the end of the article to view the infographic.

Which level of cut-resistant gloves best serves my needs?

Understanding the performance and specifications of cut-resistant gloves is crucial to making sure your employees' hands are properly protected.  The key is to find the right glove for the job.

Sometimes basic gloves may suffice for restaurant workers who handle soft, non-hazardous foods, such as a cafeteria worker who makes peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.  In this case, the cheapest option is likely the best option. Basic poly gloves would suffice in this instance. 

However, you definitely don't want to use gloves that provide inadequate safety for the intended task.  This is called “undergloving.”  We see this frequently during tough economic times when both private and public budgets are under pressure.  The tendency is to trade down in terms of quality in order to save money.

For example, for jobs like deboning meat, there is a very real risk of a puncture. Using a cost-effective poly glove like the one mentioned above might expose that individual to serious injury and the company to significant insurance liabilities. The appropriate glove in this instance would be a nitrile glove that features strong puncture resistance, like the product featured here.

More dangerous jobs such as live-trapping rabid animals or metal-stamping, where there are risks of bites, scratches, cuts, or punctures, demand stronger work gloves such as animal-handling gloves with bite and crush protection suited to the animal. These might be made from Kevlar or metal mesh, and can include gauntlets or extended sleeves to protect the arms.

At the same time, you do not want overkill, buying gloves that are more bulky and more expensive than what the job beckons.  This is called “overgloving.” 

For example, thick chemical-resistant gloves may protect a laboratory scientist from chemical burns, but they will impair the grip and dexterity of a worker using a drill press or lathe, causing an entanglement hazard. To read more about these concerns, check out this link:  http://www.ehow.com/info_7791877_common-hazard-wearing-ppe.html

Determining the right Proper Protective Equipment (PPE) for Your Workplace

PPE isn't one-size-fits-all.  PPE systems must be individually designed for each job.  Wearing the wrong type of protection can place a worker in more danger, rather than protecting them.

The responsibility of glove and proper protective equipment (PPE) selection ultimately rests with the employer by conducting a hazard risk assessment.  This selection is influenced not only by how well the products protect the workers, but also by how the products and their costs affect the company's balance sheet.

BOTTOM LINE - Proper glove selection will increase safety within the confines of your company and can also increase employee productivity and morale. It is in your best interest to research cut-resistant gloves and which protective products best fit your needs.

Source: Superior Glove Works, Ltd. www.superiorglove.com

Proper Hand Washing and Drying Technique

Your mother was right - washing your hands IS important!

In fact, health professionals say that keeping your hands clean is the first line of defense against catching and transmitting diseases.  Hand sanitation is simple, but it's critical to do it right.

It's worth learning the proper hand washing technique, especially in jobs that require frequent contact with items or people who may present a risk of infection.

Once you've washed your hands, though, you need to dry them.  Here's a humorous TED video less than 5 minutes in length that shows you how to dry your hands completely with a single paper towel.

Think it can't be done?  Take a look:

However, sometimes proper hand washing and drying alone won't suffice in preventing the spread of disease. We recommend you check out our product collections to find the proper protective gloves that best fit your needs.

The Unintended Consequences of Wearing Gloves for Fast Food Workers

When done right, a restaurant worker wearing gloves protects patrons from illness. And by done right, I mean they change gloves each and every time they switch from handling food to handling something else. 

But opponents of the new law in California mandating glove usage by restaurant workers say that the new law will decrease how much people actually wash their hands. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a foodservice worker brush their glove up against their nose, touch a dirty cash register, or open a refrigerator door with their gloves on.

In other words, will gloves just give people a false sense of security about the hygiene of their prepared food? Other complaints raised against the new law are the creation of more waste and an additional cost for restaurateurs.

Despite these concerns, every employee should wear gloves.  Even if local rules don't require it, having your workers wear gloves tells customers that you're looking out for them by running a clean restaurant.  This will win loyalty from customers, who are especially observant about the way their food is prepared.  

That said, gloves should be worn in conjunction with a proper hand hygiene program that includes how to wash and dry hands properly, how to select the proper gloves for the required task*, and how to properly dispose of gloves. In short, you need to create a culture of training, ongoing monitoring, and support.  

As my Dad used to tell my brother and I growing up, “If you’re going to do it, do it right.” Just wearing gloves for the sake of appearance may, in fact, lead to harmful unintended consequences.

*The Right Glove for the Job

For making sandwiches, bagging bagels, garnishing plates, prepping pizza or tacos, wrapping silverware, filling ice buckets, setting up or breaking down display cases, or sampling food, economical poly gloves work well.

For handling sliced cheese, working the breakfast grill, cracking eggs, squeezing juices, prepping pies, pizzas, tacos, and meats, vinyl gloves are appropriate.

For tasks which require flexibility and dexterity, consider using synthetic gloves. Synthetics act and feels like latex without the potential for latex sensitivity.

For tasks requiring puncture resistance (i.e., handling shellfish, deboning meat, etc.) and a high level of dexterity, the best choice for protection is nitrile gloves. Nitrile gloves are also used for meat preparation, as they are resistant to breaking down when coming into contact with animal fats.

NTDs: What they mean to you and me

America has a hidden epidemic of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).  As the world continues to shrink, there has been an outbreak of third-world diseases in industrialized countries, including the United States.

U.S. citizens now have diseases with which most people aren’t even familiar.  In fact, most doctors are unaware of NTDs, and so often, they remain undiagnosed.  These diseases include Toxocara canis, Chagas disease, Ascaris lumbricoides, Strongyloides stercoralis, Dengue fever and cysticercosis.  If you think these names sound scary, check out the links to find out what they do.

Exacerbating the challenge, only 0.6% of new drugs developed over the past 25 years are meant to treat NTDs.  That's despite the fact that NTDs accounted for more than 11% of the global disease burden.

So how widespread is the problem?

NTDs like Chagas Disease, Toxocara canis, worms and other diseases usually found in the developing world may already afflict 14 million people in the U.S., according to Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine, the founder of the first dedicated school of tropical medicine in America.  Even Dengue fever, largely driven from the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s by DDT application, is making a comeback in America.

The bad news is that government response has been tepid.  In 2010, a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that was aimed at funding the surveillance of NTDs failed to become law.  So much for government intervention.

The good news is that the private sector has increased investment in NTD-treating drug development in light of this recent NTD emergence. Certain cutting-edge biotech, antiviral drug, vaccine and diagnostic test companies are standing to pick up the slack. GlaxoSmithKline, for instance, has introduced a vaccine for malaria which is currently in the final development and testing stage.

In addition, non-profit groups such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also sponsor research on NTDs.  To date, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has funded close to US$3MM for NTD-based research.

Many of the NTDs are vector-borne diseases.  That means that they can be transmitted by another person, an animal or a microorganism that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen.  Pathogens may enter the body via a bug bite, skin breaks or mucous membranes.

Infection could also result from eating infected food or coming into contact with contaminated bodily fluids.

It is important to follow your local health code. The rules vary state by state, but in many places, food service workers are required to wear gloves, at a minimum vinyl gloves, and sometimes nitrile gloves. These prevent the transfer of germs from the hands to the food.

So how can you protect yourself from NTDs?  One important step is using proper hand protection such as these nitrile gloves and Personal Protective Apparel (PPE) apparel including face masks, shoe covers, and, when necessary, protective "bunny suits."

Anyone who is in a high-risk environment should take precautions to prevent infections. With NTDs, as the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

NEW Glove Guide for Pest Control Operators


We're proud to present a new, easy-to-use, illustrated Guide to Safety Gloves, specifically for the pest control industry. This free e-book shows PCOs how to choose the best glove for the job and get the right balance of protection, comfort, and affordability. Claim your free copy today!

Some of the topics covered in this glove guide include: safety from animal and rodent bites and scratches; protection while mixing and applying pesticides; the best gloves for working in high-risk environments, and more!

Visit safetybyweb.com to download your free copy today!