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Types of safety hand gloves and their uses with pictures

Safety gloves are a very important part of personal protective equipment and they are used to cover the hands while working and help us to protect our hands from abrasion, injury and cut while working. In simple words, they provide protection within commercial, industrial, medical and food handling applications. 

There are some hand gloves that are used to cover and protect our arms too e.g. gloves used during welding activities or gas cutting activities. 

Hand gloves are usually used for various applications from electrical equipment handling to chemical processing. Hand glove manufacturers produce an entire range of hand gloves made of natural materials and synthetic such as cotton, rubber, plastic, etc. depending on the  characteristics of applications. 

Selection of hand gloves depends mainly on some very important factors as mentioned below. Here are a few important factors. 

  1. Duration of the job 

  2. Occupational environment 

  3. Working environment 

  4. Type of contaminants associated with the applications 

  5. Characteristics of applications 

  6. Glove sizing and comfort 

  7. Grip performance 

  8. Impact protection 

  9. Materials need to be handled 

There are various safety standards such as the British safety standard where you will see the complete detail of suitable types of hand gloves according to the type of applications. 

Based on the above mentioned considerations, there will be the following types of hand gloves available for commercial and industrial applications. 

  1. Disposable gloves

  2. Lightweight gloves

  3. Thermal proof gloves

  4. Tear, puncture, and cut resistant gloves

  5. Chemical and liquid-resistant gloves 

  6. Heavy-duty gloves

  7. Impact and vibration resistant gloves

Disposable gloves 

Figure : Disposable gloves

As the name suggests, such hand gloves are specifically designed for single time use such as hand gloves used in medical areas. 

Other areas where you can see the application of such hand gloves. 

Any ideas ? 

Disposable gloves are good for applications with incidental contact such as an application where there is less exposure with the potential hazards such as protection against infectious agents, guarding against minor spills, splashes, or overspray and material contamination prevention. 

As disposable hand gloves are basically made of thinner material e.g. latex, nitrile, neoprene and vinyl, they permit users to maintain some  dexterity and sensitivity in their hands. This property makes these gloves not suitable to handle abrasive and sharp materials or strong chemicals for a period of time as these gloves offer less protection against punctures, tears, or chemical burns. 

Lightweight gloves

Figure : Lightweight cotton and fabric hand gloves 

Cotton and fabric gloves offer a thin barrier between the materials or tools and the person working with that material or tools. Lightweight gloves will provide protection against the contaminants e.g. dust, dirt or small scale of lubricants and up to some extent against minor abrasions. 

We should not prefer to use such hand gloves in guarding against punctures, cuts, burns, or any strong chemicals or solvents. But, coatings, for example latex, polyurethane and PVC could be added to permit for minor to moderate resistance against these potential hazards.

Thermal proof gloves

Figure : Thermal proof gloves 

Thermal proof gloves, as the name suggests, protect against the extreme temperatures. These hand gloves are fabricated from various types of materials. Lets see a few materials as mentioned here. 


Neoprene hand gloves are basically used for protection against freeze and burn injuries. These gloves possess thermal resistant properties. Some applications of these hand gloves could be seen in wire manufacturing and petrochemical operations.  

Aluminized materials 

We must note here that aluminized materials are capable of handling and withstand extremely high temperatures and hence we use these hand gloves where there is extremely high temperature up to 2000 degree Fahrenheit.

Examples of applications of these hand gloves could be seen in high-temperature operations e.g. Induction Furnace, arc furnace, welding, Ladle refining furnace and foundry.  

Tear, puncture, and cut resistant gloves 

Figure : Tear, Puncture and cut resistant gloves 

Tear, puncture, and cut resistant hand gloves are normally made from materials such as high grade stainless steel or poly-para-phenylene terephthalamide e.g. Kevlar. 

These hand gloves work better to resist the damage from abrasive and sharp objects e.g. knives, glass etc. 

Chemical and liquid-resistant gloves

Figure : Chemical and liquid gloves 

Chemical and liquid resistant hand gloves are basically used for protection against intentional contact such as long-term exposure to significant amounts of alkalis, acids and other various aqueous solutions. On the basis of the particular solvent or chemical used in the application, following types of hand gloves are available in the market with a variety of materials. 


It is also called nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) and this material is able to withstand the exposure to acids, lubricants such as greases, oil etc.

Many engineering people suggest not using this material with ketones and also with organic nitrogen based compounds. Nitrile gloves could also be treated with additional materials, for example neoprene, for extra insulation & safety sealing purposes. 

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

It is also called vinyl chloride plastic. It is considered as waterproof material which is good for applications where handling a range of aqueous solutions and detergents are needed. 

PVC coated hand gloves are normally found to be germ resistant and hence could be used for handling the oil-soaked components and diluted oxidizing agents. 

Butyl and Neoprene

Blending of these synthetic rubbers are basically used in order to manufacture gloves that are resistant to different types of petroleum and oil. Neoprene is best suited for protection against alkalis, alcohols and hydraulic fluids. Butyl is best suited to resist oxidation and is normally used for applications with highly corrosive solutions and acids e.g. sulfuric and nitric substances. 


Latex hand gloves are normally used for light duty applications, in the medical field and for laboratory procedures. Harmony Latex hand gloves are found as multi-purpose hand gloves and mostly used in cleanrooms and also for processes where ketone, acid and salt solutions are present.


Polyethylene hand gloves are mostly used for food handling applications. This material is basically used in order to manufacture thin and disposable gloves for operations similar to latex. 

Heavy duty hand gloves 

Heavy-duty hand gloves are basically manufactured with a combination of materials that provide even higher protection for users. Hand gloves manufactured with a combination of synthetic  and natural rubbers and leather material are very effective in resisting and protecting against the burns and shock from the electrical contact. 

Such hand gloves are mostly used in plant and power utility areas. 

Impact and vibration resistant gloves

Figure : Impact and vibration resistant gloves 

Impact resistant hand gloves and vibration resistant hand gloves are suitable for absorbing any vibration and impact that might occur during an industrial process such as fabrication or construction work.  


Therefore, we have seen here the various types of hand gloves available in the market. We need to select the type of hand gloves that best suit our application. Wrong selection of hand gloves will not be able to protect us against the hazards present in the system or process. 

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