Compliance and Safety

Your Guide to Workplace Safety: Understanding Cut Protection

By Daniela Ibarra

personal protective equipment

Workplace safety is about protecting an organization’s most valuable asset: its workers. From a simple scratch to a major laceration requiring surgery, getting cut on the job can happen for many different reasons and the results of those injuries can be life-changing.

Employees can work injury-free by recognizing hazards, working smart and wearing the right personal protective equipment.

Safety Awareness

The best way to keep your employees from being cut is to raise awareness of cut hazards and ask them to do a safety assessment every time they do something (not just the first time!).

Doing a safety assessment means being aware of hazards by looking around the work area from all directions, seeing what’s there and evaluating potential hazards.

Help your employees get in the habit of doing a cut protection safety assessment every time they start a new task.

Leather Gloves for Cut Protection

Leather gloves are the right choice to protect hands against abrasion. But they are a poor choice to protect against cuts. Leather is not much better than human skin. It is after all just skin, only thicker.

Leather is very absorbent and deteriorates quickly from sweat, oils, chemicals, solvents and grease. Make sure to consider all of these characteristics before choosing leather gloves.

Synthetic Fiber Gloves and other PPE for Cut Protection

Special cut-resistant gloves, sleeves, aprons, jackets and chaps are the best choice for cut protection. Made of engineered fibers often blended with other synthetics like fiberglass and stainless steel, cut-resistant PPE is:

  • Strong – offering 5 to 10 times the cut protection of leather
  • Comfortable – cooler by dispersing heat to keep hands from sweating
  • Flexible – offering better dexterity for gripping and handling small objects

Make sure to evaluate different brands to choose the right gloves for the job. Some gloves do not stand up well to strong acids, bases and certain oxidizers like chlorine bleach and some people have a sensitive skin reaction to it. Others are not hear-resistant so they are not a good choice for hot work.

Read: Safety Training: What You Need To Know About Personal Protective Equipment

Cut Protection Ratings

Cut protection is designed with various levels of protection. The ANSI/ISEA mechanical ratings give a relative level of protection for gloves and other PPE clothing.

An item with a level 1 rating provides the least protection while an item with a level 5 provides the most protection. Look for these ratings on the glove or PPE packaging.

Nothing is Cut-Proof

Even the most advanced pair of gloves or other protective clothing is not cut-proof! Teach your employees to always follow good cutting and handling practices to avoid getting hurt.

Cut-resistant gloves and PPE will not protect your employees from:

  • Moving blades
  • Serrated edges
  • Punctures from fine sharps such as needles

Remind your employees to never wear cut protection gloves and clothing while working with rotating equipment. Because the material is so strong, if it catches on a part or a tool, it can be pulled into the moving machinery.

One of the most effective ways to raise awareness about workplace accidents and the use of personal protective equipment is through a strong training and development program.

Our library of workplace safety training videos will show your employees how to protect themselves from all kinds of hazards in their work environment.

View the safety topics available in The BizLibrary Collection and request a demo to learn more about our online learning solutions for your organization!

Daniela Ibarra researches and writes on a variety of business topics, including workplace dynamics, HR strategies, and training trends and technology.