Heavy-duty (5) are suitable for mining, oil/gas handling, heavy construction, demolition, metal fabrication, and manufacturing.
Think carefully about the job you need to do, and compare it to the ratings to figure out which level of PPE is best for your needs.
Keep in mind that a higher rating doesn’t immediately equal better performance. The higher-rated gloves use stiffer materials for greater protection, so you sacrifice some dexterity and grip. Some puncture-resistant gloves have rubber coatings on the fingertips to help alleviate this issue.
What About Needles?
In 2016, ANSI designed a new probe to test for hypodermic needle protection. Using a 25-gauge steel needle moving at 500mm/minute, which is five times faster than the previous testing method, they figured out a similar rating scale for protection from needle punctures. You must use this scale if you are handling needles to choose the best glove.
Do You Need Palm or Full Coverage?
Most puncture-resistant gloves only provide coverage to the palm. This is because most puncture wounds occur when picking up or lifting an object, like a piece of glass. Additionally, full-coverage means a stiffer, more difficult-to-use glove.
If your work involves digging around in materials like wood, metal, or glass, consider using a full-coverage glove as your PPE. This includes positions like materials disposal, junk disposal and waste management, for example.
Conduct a Hazard Assessment
Once you have an idea of what rating for puncture resistance you need, conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace. This will help finalize your choice of puncture-resistant gloves.
Nova Group developed the RED book, which is a miniature job hazard analysis. Employees use it to assess the risks they may be faced with that day, such as exposure to hazardous materials, and what steps are in place to mitigate these risks.
Consider Other Industry Factors
While puncture resistance is key for some industries, don’t forget other factors that may need to come into play. For example, a worker in waste collection will also need to consider a glove with good grip and possibly liquid resistance. This helps protect them from spills and from dropping objects. A worker in steel manufacturing will also need to consider cut resistance (which is assessed differently than puncture resistance).
Make sure the gloves you choose are applicable for every aspect of the job at hand.
Don’t Neglect Comfort
Of course, the protection afforded by puncture-resistant gloves should be paramount. Their whole purpose is to help you avoid injury, so choosing a glove based on comfort rather than protection is not a good idea.
However, no amount of threats or pleading will get employees to consistently wear uncomfortable gloves. Try to find a balance between the protection rating and how easy it is for employees to continue to do their jobs.