OSHA voluntary guidance: Selecting hand protection
Gloves are often relied upon to prevent cuts, abrasions, burns, and skin contact with chemicals that are capable of causing local or systemic effects following dermal exposure. OSHA is unaware of any gloves that provide protection against all potential hand hazards, and commonly available glove materials provide only limited protection against many chemicals. Therefore, it is important to select the most appropriate glove for a particular application and to determine how long it can be worn, and whether it can be reused.
It is also important to know the performance characteristics of gloves relative to the specific hazard anticipated; e.g., chemical hazards, cut hazards, flame hazards, etc. These performance characteristics should be assessed by using standard test procedures. Before purchasing gloves, the employer should request documentation from the manufacturer that the gloves meet the appropriate test standard(s) for the hazard(s) anticipated. Other factors to be considered for glove selection in general include:
(A) As long as the performance characteristics are acceptable, in certain circumstances, it may be more cost effective to regularly change cheaper gloves than to reuse more expensive types; and,
(B) The work activities of the employee should be studied to determine the degree of dexterity required, the duration, frequency, and degree of exposure of the hazard, and the physical stresses that will be applied.
With respect to selection of gloves for protection against chemical hazards:
(A) The toxic properties of the chemical(s) must be determined; in particular, the ability of the chemical to cause local effects on the skin and/or to pass through the skin and cause systemic effects;
(B) Generally, any "chemical resistant" glove can be used for dry powders;
(C) For mixtures and formulated products (unless specific test data are available), a glove should be selected on the basis of the chemical component with the shortest breakthrough time, since it is possible for solvents to carry active ingredients through polymeric materials; and,
(D) Employees must be able to remove the gloves in such a manner as to prevent skin contamination.