How Do Cut-Resistant Gloves Work
When working with blades, experts recommend wearing cut-resistant gloves to protect yourselves from hazards. And we do so even when it feels slightly off, or even when it reduces our hand's dexterity. We adhere to this recommendation because we’d rather work slowly than accidentally cut or sever a finger when working with bladed tools. Having worn this protective equipment, perhaps you’ve wondered if it truly does protect you and whether it's worth all the hassles of wearing it. In this article, we'll discuss how do cut resistant gloves work to protect you from possible injuries.
The Elements behind Cut-Resistance Technology
When you hear the word cut-resistant gloves, you’d probably paint the image of a thick, ill-fitting metal mesh gloves in your head. You are not alone because most people still have that old-fashioned idea of cut-resistant gloves. Thanks to the knights we see in movies, who were the first to use metal gloves. So when people see gloves that aren't thick and are not made from metal wires, they'd start questioning its protectiveness or try figuring out how do cut resistant gloves work, if only to be sure that it does.
Three fundamental elements form the foundation of the cut-resistant technology used in this type of gloves, namely the strength of the material, the hardness, and the rolling action. When combined, these elements produce a superior cut level that can effectively prevent injuries when your hand gets a blow from bladed tools. Note that it is the combination of these elements and not the thickness that counts. Do not be misled into thinking that the thicker, the better in cut-resistant gloves. On the contrary, modern-day cut-resistant gloves come in thin, non-metallic materials that are just as effective. Let's look at these elements one by one and figure what happens when they’re combined.
Strength of the Material
When we speak of strength, we are referring to the natural power of the materials from where the yarn is derived. The ones most durable among these materials are the para-aramid used in Kevlar gloves and the high-performance polyethylene (HPPE) of the brand Dyneema. When they are standalone, these fibers are only rated cut level 2 by ANSI safety standards, which is just average in terms of cut-resistance. But when combined with other elements, para-aramid and HPPE can reach the highest cut level.
The “Hard” Element
It’s not wrong to think that hardness plays a role in the science of cut-resistance gloves. This quality greatly contributes to making the gloves resistant to cuts. It acts to dull the blade that comes in contact with the hard substance, and it also prevents deeper penetration of the blade. But this hard material we're talking about is so intricately woven into the fabric you could hardly feel like it's there. Your hands will still be able to move flexibly.
The third element that determines the performance of the gloves is the rolling action, or simply how the fibers move to cushion the impact from the blade. The fibers should be woven in a manner that allows some degree of movement instead of being too tight. The concept is similar to how easily you can cut through a rope that's tied to a platform at both ends. But loosen the other end, and it becomes difficult to cut as you strike the blade. That's the very concept of rolling action.
The strength of the material used, the incorporation of a hard material, and the rolling action as an outcome of the weaving process are what determines the overall cut level of the gloves. Thus, it pays to look carefully into these elements when out to buy cut-resistant gloves. These answer the baffling question, how do cut resistant gloves work.
Cut Level Rating: Varying Degrees of Protection
Not all cut-resistant gloves work the same as different brands offer differing cut level. Using the criteria set by ASTM-ANSI, cut levels are determined by weight in grams needed to cut through with 1 inch of blade travel. The performance level is graded 0-5, with 5 offering the highest level of protection. If a material cuts when impacted by weight lower than 199 grams, it has cut level 0, cut level 1 = 200-499 grams, cut level 2= 500-999, cut level 3= 1000-1499, cut level 4= 1500-3499, and cut level 5 for gloves that can resist weight higher than 3500 grams.
The Right Cut Level for the Right Job
When performing a task that will require handling blades and makes you prone to cuts, it is best to wear cut-resistant gloves. You must choose the right cut-resistant gloves base from the cut level requirement of the task at hand. Don’t just guess on it but read and understand. For minimal cut hazard jobs such as automobile maintenance and landscaping works, where only paper cuts and light scratches are possible, cut level 1 is enough. But if you are involved in butchery or metal stamping and glassworks where the hazard is categorized as extreme, wearing gloves with cut level 5 is necessary. Thus, when out to buy cut-resistant gloves, you should not only examine the elements behind how do cut resistant gloves work, but you should also think of the job requirement to ensure you get the right product for the right job.
After knowing how do cut resistant gloves work, you can now confidently embark on any task, armed with the proper protective equipment. It's always wise to invest in products that promote safety, or else, you'll find yourself not being able to work from the injuries you have sustained. According to OSHA, 70.9% of injuries to hands and arm were preventable if only the right PPE were used - a recommendation that highlights the incontestable benefit that cut-resistant gloves can provide to workers.