What are Cut Resistant Gloves?

Malcolm Tatum

Cut resistant gloves are protective apparel designed to prevent injury to the hands when they come in contact with sharp edges. Typically, the gloves are constructed of materials that resist puncturing and provide a layer of padding between the hand and the shell of the glove. Gloves of this type are used in a number of industries, especially applications that do not include some type of powered tool such as drills or saws.

Kevlar® fabric, which is used to make cut resistant gloves.
Kevlar® fabric, which is used to make cut resistant gloves.

The shell of cut resistant gloves often utilizes several different kinds of materials in order to maximize protection against cuts. Fibers used in the blend may include such diverse elements as stainless steel and fiberglass. It is also not unusual for the gloves to be manufactured using such heavy-duty synthetic materials as Kevlar® and Spectra®. The choice of materials for the shell is often dictated by the recommended uses for the gloves.

It is possible to purchase cut resistant gloves with different amounts of padding. The reason for this is that some tasks require the ability to grip objects firmly. In order to make sure the gloves allow a free range of movement for the fingers, less padding is utilized.

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Many brands of cut resistant gloves are also coated with finishes that help to enhance the ability to grasp surfaces that are somewhat slippery. The coating can also add to the puncture resistant qualities of the material. This makes the gloves even more user friendly when dexterity and the ability to grip objects is key to the task at hand.

Wearing this type of gloves is not appropriate for all industry or manufacturing settings. In other instances, gloves made from one type of material may be acceptable while gloves constructed of other materials should not be used. Food service is one example. Spectra® would be an excellent choice for this industry, while several other types of cut resistant gloves would contain elements that are not compatible with handling food products.

While cut resistant gloves do offer protection from cutting or slashing action from rough edges or knives, their ability to resist puncturing is somewhat limited. Using the point of a knife to create a puncture would be somewhat difficult, but not impossible. Very few types of cut resistant gloves could stop an item such as a sewing or knitting needle from penetrating the shell. However, the combination of the thick shell and the underlying padding would absorb part of the thrust and possibly minimize the amount of physical harm resulting from the puncture.

The gloves are also not usually recommended for use with industrial drills and powered saws. In general, cut resistant gloves provide the highest degree of protection when the individual is working with tools not powered by a motor or electrical current.

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