Despite knowing they wear hand protection, many people do not, because:

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, hands are the second most frequently injured body part. In 2020 alone, there were over 102,000 reported injuries with cuts & lacerations being the most common injury by a large margin.

  • Gloves are too hot and make their hands sweaty.
  • Forgot them in their vehicle, at home, in a tool box, etc.
  • Loss of fine motor coordination (can’t grab a nail from pouch or thread a nut onto a bolt).
  • They are uncomfortable and/or do not fit correctly.
  • Hard to use tools and machinery.
  • No one else is wearing them, so they don’t want to look out of place.
Which one is an issue for your people?

The US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 1910.138(a) requires the use of “appropriate hand protection when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes”. So, it’s not enough to just wear gloves—workers need to wear the right gloves for their specific jobs. Let’s look at the factors that you should consider when choosing the right glove.




The final attribute determines a glove’s protection against cuts. There are two primary cut protection standards: The ANSI-standard (American National Standards Institute) used in the U.S. and the European EN388 standard. The ANSI testing procedure is comprehensive and the different cut levels allow for the use of gloves that fit correctly fit and maintains proper cut protection.

The cut protection standards were revised in 2016 with 9 cut protection levels in total. To determine the cut resistance, a weighted straight razor is run across the fabric until enough weight is applied to cause the razor to cut the fabric. The amount of pressure (force), measured in grams, to cut the fabric is called its “Gram Score” for its cut resistance level.

Light cut hazards





A1 Light cut hazards 200-499 Grams to cut
  • Material handling, light assembly,packaging, warehouses, construction, general use
  • Material handling, light and automotive assembly, packaging, warehouses, construction, general use
  • Manufacturing, light glass handling, drywall work, electrical/HVAC work, automotive assembly, metal fabrication & handling, food prep, packaging, warehouse
  • Metal work/fabrication/ handling & handling, pulp and paper cutting, automotive assembly, glass manufacturing, recycling plant/sorting, HVAC, food prep, meat processing
A2 Light to Medium cut hazards 500-999 Grams to cut
A3 Light to Medium cut hazards 1000-1499 Grams to cut
A4 Light to Medium cut hazards 1500-2199 Grams to cut
A5 Medium cut hazards 2200-2999 Grams to cut
A6 Medium to Heavy cut hazards 3000-3999 Grams to cut
A7 Heavy cut hazards 4000-4999 Grams to cut
A8 Heavy cut hazards 5000-5999 Grams to cut
A9 Heavy cut hazards 6000+ Grams to cut

Key questions to ask yourself are:

A Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) should be conducted to determine the specific hazards the glove needs to protect the employee from, and in many cases, this can be done very quickly with simple observation. OSHA produced a free downloadable booklet detailing everything one would need to perform this analysis and can be found here.

  • Do the hands need protection from cuts, abrasions, cold, hot, chemical, and any other hazards that are observed in the application?
  • If they need cut protection, what level is appropriate? This will narrow the choices considerably and make the decision process quicker and easier.
protection glove


You will also need to observe the physical environment where the gloves will be worn. Will the user’s hands get hot and sweaty? Does the person need a thin glove to feel and handle parts? Do they use a touch screen? Will the hand get wet? If so, what kind of liquid: water, oil, gas, acid, etc.? Will they need to remove and put on the gloves to perform actions?


You’ll also need to ask your employees about their glove preferences. What do they like and dislike in their gloves? Are they more worried about cuts or a secure grip? The use of gloves is a personal thing, and while you may not be able to make everyone happy, you will likely find a glove that they will satisfy them enough so that they wear the gloves regularly. That is the goal of buying the right coated gloves: To find a glove your employees actually wear consistently.


All of these considerations will help you determine the proper glove. Regardless of the cost; if the glove fits, is comfortable, and protects the employee hands; the employee will keep the glove on and will keep them and your organization safe. This will improve moral & productivity while reducing hand injuries and worker’s comp costs. When you weigh the cost of the glove against the clear benefits of ensuring your people wear them, it’s clear that the gloves will pay for themselves.