OSHA Hand Protection & Glossary of Glove Terms

OSHA Hand Protection & Glossary of Glove Terms

General requirements. Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.

Selection. Employers shall base the selection of the appropriate hand protection on an evaluation of the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the task(s) to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.

Regulations for Food Handling Gloves
Separate government regulations apply to gloves used in the food handling industries. Gloves used for food handling must meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements in Title 21 CFR Parts 174 through 178. These regulations define the glove polymers and additives that are considered safe for direct and indirect food contact.

Glossary of Glove Terms


Abrasion Resistance – The property of a glove material for resisting damage from rubbing on rough surfaces.

Antioxidant – A substance used to reverse or prevent the severe oxidizing action of the ozone on rubber, both natural and synthetic. Antioxidants include petroleum waxes and secondary aromatic amines.

Binding – A thin fabric sewn on the entire cuff circumference to prevent the cuff material from becoming frayed.

Blister – A glove defect caused by air bubble trapped during dipping cycle or by water being trapped during the curing cycle. This defect usually occurs during over-dip, rather than primary dip.

Chemical Degradation – A change in glove material physical properties (e.g., thickness, weight, strength) as the result of chemical exposure.

Chlorination – A process used in glove manufacturing that is generally applied to unsupported gloves for hardening the glove interior. This makes the gloves easier to donning and helps prevent the gloves from sticking together. Chlorination is performed during manufacturing by rinsing gloves in a chlorinated solution.

Compounding – A process in glove manufacturing where the proper ingredients (plasticizers, stabilizers, fillers, viscosity modifiers, etc.) are mixed to create a wide range of material properties, e.g., cut resistance, flexibility, long wear, etc.

Conductive Cold Resistance – The ability of glove materials to resist transfer of heat from the hand to the outside environment when contacting a cold surface.

Conductive Heat Resistance – The ability of glove materials to resist transfer of heat from the environment when a hot surface is conducted.

Cuff – The end of the glove. Glove cuffs can include several styles. Examples of glove cuffs include gauntlet, pinking, rolled, safety, serrated, slip-on and wristlet cuffs.

Curing – A process used in glove manufacturing to convert raw materials into a finished product by the application of heat and/or chemicals.

Cut Resistance – The ability of a glove material to resist cutting through when exposed to sharp surfaces.

Degradation – A change in glove material physical properties as the result of exposure to chemicals, heat, or some other form of environmental condition. Also see chemical degradation and heat degradation.

Dipping – A process in glove manufacturing where a form or glove liner is put into an uncured polymer compound. Glove manufacturing may use multiple dips to provide the desired glove thickness and other characteristics.

Don – The act of putting on a glove.

Doff – The act of taking off a glove.

Elongation – The glove’s ability to be strectched.


Extraction/Leaching – A process in glove manufacturing where components of the glove polymer are removed by exposing the gloves or polymer mixture to a solvent. The removed components are soluble in the selected solvent. When water is used as the solvent, the process is called leaching.

Finish – The style of exterior surface for a glove. Finish styles vary with the type of glove. Styles for supported glove include smooth, rough, or crinkle finishes. Styles for unsupported gloves are affected by the form and range from smooth, diamond, sandpatch, pebble, and other finish designs. Finish styles for impregnated gloves are generally smooth only.

Flame Resistance – The ability of a glove material to resist ignition and continued burning if ignited after being exposed to a flame.

Flock-lined – An interior design used in unsupported gloves, where small lengths of chopped fibers are blown into the glove interior that has been coated with an adhesive. Flocking is considered to improve the wearing comfort of unsupported gloves.

Form – A hand shaped object that is used in glove manufacture for dipping into polymers. Forms may be metal (to dip liners for supported gloves) or porcelain for unsupported gloves.

Gauntlet – An extension of the glove body intended to offer protection to the lower forearm. Applied to supported and, occasionally, to impregnated gloves. As applied to different glove styles, gauntlet designs may be slightly different.

Heat Degradation – A change in glove material physical properties as the result of exposure to high heat. Heat degradation may result in ignition, melting, separation, and shrinkage of glove materials.

Interlocked Knit – A cotton knit made on a machine with alternate units of long and short needles.

Jersey Knit – A knit that is made in tubular form on a circular knitting machine in a continuous operation.

Latex – A water-based suspension of glove polymer particles.

Leaching – See extraction.

Leak – A crack or hole in a glove permitting liquid to reach the glove interior.

Liner – A natural or synthetic fabric used in the manufacture of coated gloves. The liner is always the glove interior.

Liquidproof – Refers to glove that do not leak under the specific test conditions.

Mil – A unit of thickness representing one-thousandth of an inch. Mil thickness is typically reported for unsupported gloves.

Natural Rubber – A natural polymer that is obtained from some species of shrubs and trees.

Neoprene – A synthetic polymer that is based on the chemical group chloroprene.

Nitrile – A synthetic polymer that is based on acrylonitrile and butadiene chemical groups.

Over Dip – A process in glove manufacturing where gloves are subject to an additional dip or coating process over the primary coating or polymer.

Penetration – The flow of liquid through a seams, pores, or material imperfections in a glove. May also refer to excess polymer that passes through the liner in the manufacture of coated gloves.

Permeation – The movement of a chemical through a glove material on a molecular level. The process involves the absorption of chemical molecules on the outside of the glove, the diffusion of the chemicals through the glove material, and the desorption of chemical molecules to the glove interior.

Pinhole – An imperfection in a glove created either accidentally during manufacturing or use, which creates a small hole in the glove polymer. Pinholes are most easily detected by placing an inflated glove under water.

Pinking – A cuff style where the open glove end is trimmed. Pinking is applied to both unsupported and supported gloves.

Plasticizer – An organic compound that is added to change the glove polymer to facilitate manufacture and to increase the flexibility and toughness of the glove.

Polymer – A long-chain chemical molecule that includes a sequence of repeated chemical groups with specific properties.

Polyvinyl Chloride – A synthetic polymer based on vinyl chloride chemical groups.

Puncture Resistance – The ability of a glove material to resist puncturing when contacted by pointed objects.

Resistance – The ability of a glove to withstand an action or effect of a force, either chemical or physical (i.e. abrasion, cut, tear, puncture). Chemical resistance is defined four ways in the Marigold Industrial chemical resistance guide.
-Breakthrough time
-Permeation rate
-Degradation score
-Useful time guide

Rolled/Bead Cuff – A cuff style where the glove end is rolled and held in place with an adhesive originally designed to prevent glove tear. Rolled cuffs are used on unsupported gloves.

Serrated – A cuff style similar to pinking but using a cutting blade that forms a series of V-shaped cuts along the edge of the glove end.

Slip-on – A cuff style with the glove end open with no cuff material attached.

Supported – Refers to a type of glove where the polymer is coated onto an inner liner (coated glove).

Tensile – The resistance of lengthwise stretch measured by the greatest amount of stretching a material will take with tearing apart& measured in PSI. Tensile strength is a manner in which the glove’s intrinsic physical strength is expressed.

Unsupported – Refers to a type of glove, which consists of polymer only without any fabric support.

Lightweight – Gloves with nominal thickness between 5-11 mils.
Medium Weight – Gloves with nominal thickness between 12-21 mils.
Heavyweight – Gloves with nominal thickness over 22 mils.


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