Sharp tools and materials are commonly found on building sites, in workshops, and in a range of other workplaces. They present a real threat to the safety of workers, as it only takes a simple mistake to cause a serious cut, which then has the chance of becoming infected if not treated properly.
Wherever workers are exposed to sharp tools or materials, it’s essential that cut-resistant gloves are available that are comfortable, durable, and fit for purpose.
Why wear cut resistant gloves?
Cuts, specifically to the hand, fingers and wrist, are the most common occupational injury in the UK. It is therefore paramount that employers protect workers who are at risk from serious injury as a result of handling sharp blades or tools, operating power tools or coming into contact with piercing materials. Common industries where this is relevant include:
While completely cut-proof gloves are a myth, significant advancements in technology and materials like Kevlar, glass fibre and polyurethane mean cut resistant gloves can help reduce the level of risk in the workplace and ensure that workers can carry out their jobs safely.
Levels of cut resistance
The level of protection that is required in a workplace with cut hazards can be measured on a scale of 1-5, with different severities of danger dictating what level of protection is required. This scale goes from low to high in the following order and is generally advised for the noted industries/activities:
- - Nuisance cuts – paper cuts, car maintenance, parts assembly, etc
- - Low cut hazards – construction, masonry, packaging
- - Moderate cut hazards – light metal stamping
- - High cut hazards – sheet metal handling, glass handling, food service
- - Extreme cut hazards – heavy metal stamping, food preparation
The range of materials that cut resistant gloves can be made of are similarly scaled, with different levels of protection available as a trade-off for dexterity, comfort, or lightweight. From the lowest level of protection to the highest, they go:
- - Synthetics (nylon, etc)
- - Engineered yarns (Kevlar, etc)
According to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, if there is a risk of injury in a workplace which could be avoided with the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), then employers are required to provide suitable protective equipment for their employees. This means that PPE, and more specifically cut resistant gloves, should always be provided when there is a risk of injury from sharp tools, materials or objects. Employers are also required according to the regulations to replace protective gloves and clothing when needed, whether they’ve been lost or damaged.
Safety standards for cut resistant gloves
The EN 388:2003 European Standard applies to all forms of hand protection which protect against abrasion, blade cuts, punctures and tearing from mechanical risks. It sets out requirements including test methods and labelling that must be supplied with protective gloves. This standard means that a four-digit code must be displayed on the packaging of all cut resistant hand protection. Each number in the code refers to the product’s ability to perform in the following areas, with higher numbers meaning greater resistance:
- - Resistance to abrasion (0-4)
- - Blade cut resistance (0-5)
- - Puncture resistance (0-4)
All protective gloves are also bound by EN 420, which sets out requirements that gloves must meet in order to be deemed fit for purpose including the dexterity they must allow, sizes they should cover, and information that must be on the packaging. Browse our complete selection of cut resistant gloves
today or explore our wider range of hand protection
to find gloves suited to dozens of purposes and industries such as anti-vibration gloves
, builders grip gloves
and much more.