Levels of Cut Resistant Material Explained
Cut resistance is an important factor in determining the safety of gloves and other protective gear. Gloves that are cut-resistant are able to protect against different workplace hazards that workers encounter daily. Understanding the varying levels of cut-resistant material is vital to choosing the right pair for your needs.
Different Materials, Different Levels of Cut Resistance
You'll notice that some cut-resistant gloves are made of different materials. This is because different materials have different levels of cut resistance, and the type of work you're doing determines which level is appropriate.
For example, Kevlar is a type of fiber woven into fabrics to make them cut-resistant. However, other materials, such as synthetic leather and thermoplastic rubber, can also be used for protection.
If you are working with sharp tools or machinery, you'll need the highest cut resistance available to protect your hands from serious injury. If you want something that's going to stand up against a lot of wear and tear and can still function as intended long after purchase, consider getting something with a high level of cut resistance.
The level of cut resistance is determined using a test called the Coup Test. This test is performed under laboratory conditions using a blade. It calculates the cut resistance rating of a material based on how many rotations a circular blade needs to cut through the sample compared to a control sample, with lower numbers representing stronger materials.
Alternatively, The ISO 13977 test is recommended to test materials with high cut resistance. This test requires using a new blade with each cut to ensure the material isn't dulling the blade and causing inaccurate results.
Once the cut-resistant material levels are determined, the gloves are labeled and marketed to varying industries. For example, lower hazard careers, such as deli and mailroom workers, don't need as much protection as those working in search and rescue. The next level up would be food service and general duty, followed by jobs such as carpentry and assembly.
Careers that need extra protection and higher-rated cut-proof work gloves include glass handling, metal stamping, and automotive. There are no gloves that provide total protection against cuts. The levels are only estimates. Employees should still follow workplace safety guidelines to help reduce injuries.
Find Your Perfect Pair
The level of cut resistance is not the only factor to consider when choosing work gloves. The other factors include dexterity and comfort. There are no gloves that provide complete protection against cuts, which is why it is crucial to always follow workplace safety guidelines.