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PPE Selection » Hand and Body Protection


Figure 1: Hand and body chemical protection Figure 1: Hand and body chemical protection.

Figure 2: Hand protection from burns Figure 2: Hand protection from burns.

Proper selection and use of appropriate hand and body PPE will prevent or minimize the potential for worker injuries due to chemical or physical hazards. For example:

  • When using solvents, improper glove selection may allow the solvent to leak through the gloves, leading to skin contact.

Appropriate gloves and protective clothing must be used to protect workers from hazards such as burns, cuts, electrical shock, amputation, and absorption or contact with chemicals. [29 CFR 1915.152(a)]

The OSHA Hierarchy of Controls

  1. Engineering Controls
  2. Administration Controls
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Selection of Hand and Body Protection

Potential Hazards:

Injuries and illnesses such as:

  • Skin absorption of harmful substances
  • Cuts or lacerations
  • Abrasions
  • Punctures
  • Nerve or tendon damage caused by exposure to vibration
  • Chemical burns
  • Thermal burns
  • Heat stress, frostbite, and hypothermia due to harmful temperature extremes
  • Shocks and burns from electricity

Note: Improper selection of gloves, boots, and other protective clothing may give workers a false sense of security since chemicals may penetrate the "protection" without it showing any signs of failure.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

Note: No fabric (including leather, neoprene, latex) can provide protection against all potential hazards. It is important to select the appropriate glove and protective clothing for each specific hazard.

  • Manufacture's data should be used to select appropriate fabric properties such as:
    • Chemical resistance
    • Thermal protection
    • Cut and puncture resistance
    • Non-electrically conductivity
  • Workers should be able to remove gloves and protective clothing in a way that avoids skin or other contamination to themselves or others.
  • Cooling vests or breathable fabric may be used to minimize heat stress.
  • Appropriate clothing (for example insulation or water resistance) should be used when workers are exposed to cold or wet environments.
  • Vibration-dampening PPE should be used when using vibrating tools (such as needle guns, grinders, chipping hammers).
  • Non-conductive protection equipment (such as voltage-rated gloves) should be used around electrical equipment. Note: Highly flammable fabrics (for example nylon, polyester) should not be worn.
  • PPE must be sized properly to prevent tripping, tearing, seam parting, or restricting worker movement. [29 CFR 1915.152(b)(3)]

Additional Information:


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Use of Hand and Body Protection

Potential Hazards:

Injuries and illnesses such as:

  • Skin absorption of harmful substances
  • Cuts or lacerations
  • Abrasions
  • Punctures
  • Nerve or tendon damage caused by exposure to vibration
  • Chemical burns
  • Thermal burns
  • Trips and falls due to improperly fitting PPE
  • Rips and tears of PPE allowing exposure to harmful substances
  • Heat stress, frostbite, and hypothermia due to harmful temperature extremes
  • Shocks and burns from electricity.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

  • Appropriate hand protection and other protective clothing must be used when workers are exposed to hazards such as: [29 CFR 1915.157(a)]
    • Skin absorption of harmful substances
    • Severe cuts or lacerations
    • Severe abrasions
    • Punctures
    • Chemical burns
    • Thermal burns
    • Harmful temperature extremes
    • Sharp objects
  • Clothing contaminated with flammable or combustible materials must not be used around hot work operations or while working near an ignition source. [29 CFR 1915.157(b)]
  • Electrical insulating gloves and sleeves or other electrical protective equipment (such as flash suits, insulating blankets) must be worn when working on electrical equipment that exposes workers to electrical shock hazards. [29 CFR 1915.157(c)]
  • PPE must be sized properly to prevent tripping, tearing, seam parting, or restricting worker movement. [29 CFR 1915.152(b)(3)]

Note: There are additional PPE requirements for health related hazards (such as Lead [29 CFR 1910.1025], Arsenic [29 CFR 1910.1018], Asbestos [29 CFR 1915.1001]).

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