When Should You Replace Your Work Gloves?

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When Should You Replace Your Work Gloves?

If you’re wondering whether your tires are still safe to drive, you can check the tread wear with a penny! But how do you know if your work gloves are too worn out to keep you safe? There’s no reliable trick like there is for tires. It’s more a judgement call your workers can make if you give them the right information.
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By M.B. Sutherland, Sr. Copywriter, Magid

If you’re wondering whether your tires are still safe to drive, you can check the tread wear with a penny! But how do you know if your work gloves are too worn out to keep you safe? There’s no reliable trick like there is for tires. It’s more a judgement call your workers can make if you give them the right information.

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What happens when work gloves get too worn?

When your gloves begin to wear out, the very injuries your PPE is supposed to protect you from become more likely. Some common warning signs include:

Icon representing finding a worn spot on work gloves.

Worn Spots

Icon representing finding snags on work gloves.

Snags

Icon representing finding pulls in knits glove shell.

Pulls in a knit glove shell

Icon representing finding peeling palm coating on work gloves.

Peeling palm coatings


Ignoring these may compromise a glove’s cut and puncture resistance – and that can allow metal shards or other hazards through. A worn palm coating can also compromise grip, causing tools or materials to slip.

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Excessive Glove Soiling

It can be hard to see wear if your gloves are dirty. Be sure to launder them before they become too soiled to visually check for safety. This can not only help in identifying a worn glove, but it can make your PPE last longer! Be sure to check laundering guidelines for your particular item. While many can be washed in a home machine, some require professional laundering.

How to Determine Signs of Wear in Work Gloves

Image of a work glove being laundered

Soil or Saturation

Always follow manufacturer’s washing instructions when a glove is soiled or saturated.

Image of a soiled and saturated glove to be laundered

Image of a work glove being monitored for wear

Light Wear

A used glove won’t look brand new, but light wear can still be safe. Stay on the lookout for further wear!

Image of a glove that has light wear that needs to be monitored

Image of a work glove being monitored for wear

Light Soil

A little soil is acceptable as long as it doesn’t compromise glove usability or make it hard to check for wear.

Image of a glove that has been lightly soiled and needs to be monitored

Image of when to replace a work glove

Thin Spots

Thin spots in the shell of your glove can compromise cut, abrasion, and puncture resistance. Thin spots in your glove coating can compromise grip.

Image of a glove that has thin spots on the glove coating and needs to be discarded and replaced

Image of when to replace a work glove

Holes, Tears, or Pulls

Never use a glove that has visible holes, tears, or pulls. A damaged glove is an unsafe glove!

Image of a glove with holes that needs to be discarded and replaced

Image of when to replace a work glove

Excessive Soil or Saturation

If a glove is deeply soiled or saturated with oils or chemicals, it may be too far gone to launder.

Image of a glove with excessive saturation that needs to be discarded and replaced

Avoid Safety Accidents Due to Excessive Glove Wear

The best way to keep everyone’s gloves in tip top shape is to require your workers to carefully examine their PPE before every shift. They should also check their gloves periodically throughout the work day as glove wear and damage accumulate on the job. Making these habits part of their routine will help to reduce incidents due to glove wear. And since wearing or discarding is a judgement call, help your workers make the right decision by posting guidelines. Be sure they know that it’s always better to toss a glove too early than to risk an injury and that if they’re not sure, to consult their safety manager!

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