handling chemicals, it is recommended that the correct gloves be used to protect the
worker from accidental spills or contamination. If the gloves become contaminated they
should be removed and discarded as soon as possible. There is no glove currently available
that will protect a worker against all chemicals. An experienced Dartmouth researcher recently died because of this.
of the hands when working with solvents, detergents, or any hazardous material is
essential in the defense of the body against contamination. Exposure of the hands to a
potentially hazardous chemical could result in burns, chafing of the skin due to
extraction of essential oils ("de-fatting"), or dermatitis. The skin could also
become sensitized to the chemical and once sensitized, could react to lesser quantities of
chemicals than otherwise would have any effect. It is well documented that primary skin
irritations and sensitizations account for significantly greater numbers of lost time
incidents on the job than any other single type of industrial injury.
Proper selection of the glove material is essential to the performance of the
glove as a barrier to chemicals. Several properties of both the glove material and the
chemical with which it is to be used should influence the choice of the glove. Some of
these properties include: permeability of the glove material, breakthrough time of the
chemical, temperature of the chemical, thickness of the glove material, and the amount of
the chemical that can be absorbed by the glove material (solubility effect). Glove
materials vary widely in respect to these properties; for instance, neoprene is good for
protection against most common oils, aliphatic hydrocarbons, and certain other solvents,
but is unsatisfactory for use against aromatic hydrocarbons, halogenated hydrocarbons,
ketones, and many other solvents.
of various types are available and should be chosen for each specific job for
compatibility and breakthrough characteristics. An excellent information is Guidelines
for the Selection of Chemical Protective Clothing published by the American
Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) or information provided by glove
For concentrated acids and alkalis, and organic solvents, natural rubber, neoprene or
nitrile gloves are recommended. For handling hot objects, gloves made of heat-resistant
materials (leather or Nomex) should be available and kept near the vicinity of ovens or
muffle furnaces. A hot object should never be picked up with rubber or plastic gloves.
Special insulated gloves should be worn when handling very cold objects such as liquid N2
or CO2. Do not use asbestos containing gloves.
Here are three links to
chemical resistance guides available on the web:
(Note: To get back to this page, you will need to hit your
OSU's Chemical Guide and Permeation Tables
Chemical Resistance Guide (Univ. Maryland, Baltimore)
Glove Chemical Resistance Guide (Best
Chemical Resistance and Barrier Guide (Safeskin)
Before each use, gloves should be inspected for discoloration, punctures, and tears.
Rubber and plastic gloves may be checked by inflating with air and submersing them in
water to check for air bubbles.
Gloves should always be rinsed with a compatible solvent, soap and water prior to
handling wash bottles or other laboratory fixtures.
Before removal, gloves should be thoroughly washed, either with tap water or soap and
Employees shall remove gloves before leaving the immediate work site to prevent
contamination of door knobs, light switches, telephones, etc. When gloves are removed,
pull the cuff over the hand.
Aprons--Rubber or Plastic?