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Choosing between different types of safety gloves for the mining industry

Choosing between different types of safety gloves for the mining industry

Before deciding what type of glove you should choose, it is important to identify the following factors:
  • The working environment (indoor, outdoor, dry, wet, etc.)
  • The task to be accomplished
  • The principal risks to be protected against (mechanical, chemical, electrical, thermal etc.)
What type of glove should you choose?
Mechanical risks
In accordance with EN Standard 388, mechanical risks fall under the following headings:
  • Abrasion
  • Cutting
  • Tearing
  • Perforation
The level of protection depends on the material, the assembly type and the coating.
Before choosing your glove, it is important to identify the principal risk(s) you need to be guarded against and to determine the necessary level of flexibility and tactile sensitivity required for the performance of the task. This aspect may, in fact, seriously limit the thickness of the glove and therefore the choice of material.
It is likewise necessary to take into account the need for an anti-slip finish to the glove to ensure a better grip.
The different types of assembly
Knitted in one piece
  • Gloves manufactured in a single piece on automated knitting machines.
  • The knit is defined by the gauge, i.e. the number of needles per inch (2.54cm). A 13 gauge corresponds to thirteen needles. Consequently, a 13-gauge knit will be finer than a 7-gauge knit. Conversely, a 7-gauge gives a thicker glove.
  • The knitted technique can be applied to all types of fibres.
  • Knitting offers a high level of consistency in terms of quality and comfort.
  • Depending on the type of yarn used, the knitted gloves may be used for fine or heavy handling, cut resistance, and even for thermal protection.
  • For a firmer elastic gather, the cuff is generally knitted with a stretch yarn.
  • Ambidextrous gloves, except if the palm and/or the fingertips are coated or dotted on one side.
  • Seamless glove.
  • The risk of rubbing between the fingers is removed for greater comfort and there are no areas of wear at the seams.
  • Knitted gloves manufactured from synthetic fibres (such as Kevlar®) may offer good mechanical resistance, in particular to cutting (grasp and handling of sharp objects).
Uncoated knitted gloves:
  • For fine or light handy-work (parts sorting, detailed handy-work, protection of objects, etc.)
  • Their fineness and ergonomic shape (close fitting) allow them to be used as an insulating inner glove (heat, cold, cutting, etc.)
  • Not suitable to protect against liquids.
Coated knitted gloves:
  • Coating in general increases resistance and allows for so-called ‘heavier’ applications, such as: handling, construction, assembly, logistics, etc., in damp, wet and/or dirty environments.
Cut and sewn
Gloves used for general handling operations (fine, heavy, specific, etc.)
French assembly:
Distinctive feature of the assembly: back of the glove. The little, ring, middle and index fingers are made up of four pieces sewn together. The thumb forms an additional separate piece (sewn-on thumb).
A good compromise for (between) dexterity, comfort and resistance.
Assembly of small parts, assembly of oiled parts, small handling jobs, gardening, etc.
US assembly:
Distinctive feature of the assembly: palm. The middle and ring fingers form a single piece and are sewn separately from the rest of the palm. Relates to gloves of the docker/welder/rigger type.
The palm provides a large surface area, limiting the seams and therefore the areas of wear.
Heavy handling, welding, transport, exterior maintenance, etc.
A gusset (strip of material) is sewn between each finger. The thumb is sewn separately.
  • Gives shape to the finger.
  • Perfect adjustment of the glove to the contours of the hand.
  • Very good dexterity and excellent comfort.
Fine handling, precision work
Flat assembly:
Mainly relates to cotton gloves. Two identical hand shapes are sewn together; the palm is therefore identical to the back. A knitted cuff or gauntlet cuff may be attached.
Ambidextrous gloves (except if the palm is coated).
  • Used for fine or light applications, protection of objects, sorting of parts, etc.
  • May be used as an inner glove, as protection against the cold, as a liner for coating, etc.
  • Not suitable for protection against liquids.
Which coating for which use? (Dry, oily, greasy, dirty environments)
Different coatings may be applied in order to improve the properties of the glove, depending on the working environment.
The materials
Coating materials
Types of Coating
The type of coating enables you to narrow down the choice of glove, depending on the required application, so as to achieve the best compromise between: safety, comfort and dexterity.
Thermal risks - heat resistant protection
In the work place, heat transmission may occur by:
  • Radiation
  • Convection
  • Conduction
In addition, in certain jobs, gloves also have to protect against molten metal splashes.
Before choosing your glove, it is therefore important to:
  • Identify, in accordance with EN 407, the type of heat to be protected against.
  • Determine and take into account the necessary level of flexibility and tactile sensitivity required for the performance of the task. This aspect may, in fact, affect the thickness of the glove.
  • Identify the minimum temperature to be protected against so as to choose the appropriate material.
Heat resistant gloves must possess one or more of the following qualities:
  • Lack of deterioration and no flammability of the outer layers
  • Resistance to molten metal splashes
  • Insulating ability appropriate to the nature and duration of exposure
  • Durability
  • Comfort
  • Suitability to provide acceptable dexterity
  • Additionally, the gloves need to possess other specific properties, such as impermeability, compatibility with certain products, wash ability, etc.
Before use, given the variety of conditions of potential use and the high number of factors to be taken into account, it is recommended that preliminary tests be carried out.
Chemical risks
There are many risks related to chemical products. Contact with the skin may cause burning, dermatitis, irritation and even poisoning.
  • No material can resist a product indefinitely
  • No material can resist all substances
Each material has its own characteristics and should therefore be chosen specifically on the basis of the chemical agent against which protection is required. The chemical resistance of the glove will depend on the combination:
Chemical product - material/constitution of the glove
It is recommended that chemical protection gloves be worn for any contact with:
  • Chemical products
  • Solvents
  • Oils and hydrocarbons
  • Abrasive powders (cement)
  • Food products
  • Acids and bases
All chemical products are identified by an international identifier number called a CAS number.
Choosing your chemical glove in three steps!
  • Step 1: The materials and recommendations by type of chemical product
  • Step 2: The lining of the glove (supports)
  • Step 3: The outer finish to the glove
Identify the appropriate material
Recommendation by type of chemical product:
Choosing the support
Chemical gloves are obtained by a process of dipping (once or several times) porcelain formers into baths of various polymers, depending on their intended use (nitrile, latex, neoprene, etc.).
  • This technique makes the glove impermeable and resistant to many liquids, depending on the thickness and the material.
  • Most of the formers are anatomically shaped, therefore the glove perfectly matches the contour of the hand for maximum comfort.
  • The palm of the former is generally embossed, this provides a firm grip in wet and dry environments
The internal linings: (supports (internal finishes)
Dipped gloves may be “unsupported” or “supported”
Recommendations for use of the chemical glove
  • Put the glove on a clean, dry hand.
  • Depending on the time in use, use several pairs of gloves so as not to exceed the permeation time
  • Turn up the edge of your cuff to avoid any liquid running down your arm
  • Check your gloves while working
  • Clean your gloves before removing them
    • If using paints and inks: a cloth soaked in solvent, followed by a dry cloth
    • If using solvents: a dry cloth
    • If using acids or alkalis rinse under running water then wipe with a cloth
  • Remove the gloves without touching the outer surface
    • Pull on the end of the gloves to release your hands
    • Turn up the edge of the cuff and pull the glove off, turning it inside out
  • Before reuse, check that your gloves are dry both inside and out
  • Make a thorough check for defects in your gloves (cracks, worn patches, tears, etc.).
Electrical risks
Gloves to protect against electrical risks must offer protection for any operating voltage equal to or greater than 500 volts.
For each glove, individual routine tests are carried out in accordance with Standards IEC 903 and EN 60903:
  • Visual inspections and dimensional checks
  • Dielectric tests
  • Additional sampling tests
  • Mechanical tests
  • Dielectric tests after conditioning (16-hour immersion and being placed in an oven for seven days at 70°C.
There are six classes of electricians’ protective gloves
The maximum operating voltage for each class is as recommended in the table below.


Operating voltage in volts (AC)

Test voltage in volts (AC)



















Tests on gloves with special properties:
Each glove is tested


Resistant to








Acid, Oil, Ozone


Very low temperatures

NOTE 1: Category R combines the characteristics of categories A, Z and H.

NOTE 2: Any combination of categories may be used.

The two categories of gloves for protection against electrical risks
1) 100% latex insulating gloves:
These elastomer gloves are used to protect the worker against electrical dangers. They are unsupported and therefore require a leather over-glove to provide additional protection against mechanical risks.
There are two types of finish:
  • Cut-off edge 
  • Rolled edge
Advantages of Latex gloves:
  • The natural latex-based structure offers highly dielectric properties
  • The thickness of the glove ensures good dexterity while protecting against a maximum of 36,000 volts (class 4)
  • Its ergonomic shape and its lightly powdered interior facilitate donning and removal of the glove
  • These unlined gloves offer high flexibility and can be used for precision work
  • Their beige/white colour makes the labelling highly readable for the user
  • Complete range: from class 00 to class 4
2) Composite gloves:
Made of natural latex with an outer layer of polychloroprene and a cotton inner, they offer intrinsic mechanical protection and therefore no longer require the use of a leather over-glove.
They may also offer an embossed finish.
There are two types of composite gloves:
  • Lined composite gloves (Glove with interlock)
  • Unlined composite gloves

Interlock support

Cotton flocking

Without flocking


The glove is dipped over a knitted lining, which may be cotton or polyamide.


High-density cotton (minimum 70%) is sprayed inside the gloves



1) The inside of the glove may be

powdered with talc or cornstarch.


2) No finishing treatment is applied


The knitted support is soft and


There are no seams at the

contact points, which makes it

particularly comfortable and

avoids weak spots at the seams.

The knitting technique increases

the resistance of the glove and

therefore its lifespan.


This process improves glove

donning and removal.

The properties of the cotton offer excellent absorption of perspiration.

The softness of the fibre increases comfort levels.


1) The powdering increases comfort levels by providing additional softness and facilitates donning and

removal of the glove while

reducing/eliminating the risks of



2) The absence of flour or talc

avoids any transfer during the

different stages of


Advantages of composite gloves:
  • They offer better chemical protection than 100% latex gloves
  • They offer good protection against electric arcs (orange neoprene layer)
  • They provide excellent mechanical resistance (longer lifespan)
  • The combination with an elastomer offering greater resistance enables them to be used with an over-glove
  • The interlock support and cotton flocking offer higher comfort levels in use
  • Their ergonomic shape facilitates bending movements
  • Models with a patterned finish provide a better grip in damp or oily environments.
Recommendations for use of electrical gloves
  • Make a thorough check for defects in your gloves (cracks, worn patches, tears, etc.).
  • Before use, carry out a visual inspection and check the glove by inflating to ensure that there are no defects (a portable test box is available for composite gloves 2092001).
  • Put the glove on a clean, dry hand.
  • Do not allow the glove to come into contact with aggressive substances: oil, grease, white spirit and all strong acids. Do not use wet gloves.
  • Clean your gloves with soap and water. Dry at less than 65°C.
  • Store your gloves in their original packaging. Do not flatten or fold them. The ideal storage temperature is between 10°c and 21°C.
  • Before storage, check that your gloves are dry both inside and out.
[Content kindly provided by HSE Solutions]
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