IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Effect of contaminants on the mechanical resistance of protective gloves – Preliminary analysis


In many workplaces, such as metal machining, automobile mechanics, and food processing, mechanical hazards often occur simultaneously with the presence of various industrial contaminants, particularly oils and greases. These compounds can potentially affect the resistance of gloves to mechanical agents. Furthermore, certain glove models can undergo cleaning treatments in order to extend their usable life. These treatments could possibly change their properties.

The aim of this study was to analyze in an exploratory way three aspects relating to the effect of the real conditions of use of protective gloves on their properties to withstand mechanical agents (cutting, puncture and tearing). The study involved exposure over the short and medium terms (1h and 8h) to oils and greases in the laboratory, and then the application of an industrial cleaning treatment with and without prior glove contamination, and finally, normal long-term use in the workplace, meaning a use corresponding to their service life until removal, in the activity sectors considered.

The results obtained showed, for certain glove/applied treatment combinations, sometimes very significant changes in cut, puncture and tear resistance. For example, up to 38% and 59% reductions in cut and puncture resistance were measured respectively following certain contamination treatments in the laboratory. Furthermore, regarding used gloves, up to 34% reductions in resistance to the three types of mechanical agents were observed for supported nitrile gloves. Finally, an increase in puncture resistance was measured after a single cleaning treatment on synthetic leather gloves due to hardening of the material.

These results indicate the importance of considering the presence of industrial contaminants when choosing protective gloves for mechanical agents. They also show the need for continuing the work already begun in order to better understand the phenomena involved in the contamination processes over the short and medium terms, in the cleaning processes, and in the natural wear processes, so as to identify the optimal solutions for minimizing these issues.

Additional Information

Category: Research Report
Research Project: 0099-6140
Online since: February 18, 2011
Format: Text