What are impact gloves, and are they necessary?

Designed to prevent occupational hand injuries, especially where there is a high risk of hand trauma due to collisions with machinery, heavy equipment, or similar hazards, impact gloves are personal protection equipment (PPE) workers rely on to perform their jobs with confidence.

According to OSHA, 71% of all hand injuries could be prevented using proper PPE, specifically hand protection. The injuries that occur from not wearing gloves are painful and cost everyone involved both time and money. In fact, the National Safety Council predicts that the average hand injury can cost between $540 to $26,000.

From the oil and gas industry to manufacturing, impact gloves provide hand safety where it counts.

How do impact gloves work?

Abrasions, cuts, tears, and punctures are possible when you are met with unexpected impact hazards. Impact gloves require reinforcement across the back of the hand. Many styles use TPR (thermoplastic rubber) to create a tread design for added protection. Other materials and additional features that offer sustained impact protection include:

1. Proprietary high-density polyurethane palm coating (HDPU) provides optimal abrasion protection, breathability, and comfort.

2. Thermoplastic rubber (TPR) die cuts on fingers and fingertips provide ergonomic impact protection.

3. Hi-visibility premium cotton cord absorbs liquid in slick or oily conditions.

4. Reflective material on neoprene for a higher level of visibility.

5. Thumb crotch prevents blowouts and provides additional protection.

6. Cut-Resistance – A singular test method is used and classified using 9 levels expressed as (A1 – A9). The levels indicate how many grams of cutting load a glove can withstand from a sharp blade before being penetrated. Using the chart below the end-user will be able to better select the appropriate hand PPE required for their job.


When are impact gloves needed?

Impact hazards to the hand and fingers occur in many industries and jobs. Hundreds of different applications rely on impact gloves, including those where it is necessary to operate heavy machinery or hydraulics. 

The ANSI/ISEA 138-2019 (American National Standard for Performance and Classification) regulatory standard for resistant levels of impact gloves says impact gloves should offer minimum “back-of-the-hand protection by dissipating impact from the knuckles and fingers.”

ANSI/ISEA 138-2019 defines the level of impact with an impact-protection scale. Using a 1-3 system where level 1 is applicable for people encountering less probable impact, while level 3 is appropriate for people at a higher risk of more impact in their workplace. 

An impact glove could have multiple numbers of the scale attributed to it, but the glove will be assigned with the lowest number. For example, an impact glove could have both a level of “3” for finger protection and a level of “2” for knuckle protection and have an overall rating of “2”. 

Differences are measured in Kilonewtons (kN) which is a metric unit that measures force. 

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