Hand Protection laws & safety compliance analysis

Hand Protection: What you need to know

29 CFR 1910.138

Protection needed for hazards. Many employees expose their hands to workplace hazards while on the job. OSHA requires employers to choose proper hand protection for their employees and to mandate that employees use the protection when facing hazards including:

  • Absorption of harmful substances through the skin
  • Serious cuts
  • Serious abrasions
  • Punctures
  • Chemical burns
  • Thermal burns
  • Extreme temperatures
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Employers must evaluate the work area to determine whether employees are at risk of injuring their hands and, therefore, require hand protection. See the PPE Regulatory Analysis section for more information on how to assess hazards in the workplace.

Selecting protection. Employers should take care to select the appropriate PPE for the specific hazard. When selecting proper hand protection, employers must consider:

  • How the protection will perform when used for specific tasks
  • Workplace conditions
  • How long the protection will be used
  • What type of hazards and potential hazards are involved

Focusing on employee safety, employers should not choose hand protection that provides merely the minimum level of protection. Rather, employers are encouraged to select PPE that provides at least one level of protection greater than the minimum amount necessary.

To prevent hazards in the workplace, employees may use gloves, arm coverings or elbow-length gloves, or finger guards. OSHA does not recognize a glove that will protect against all types of hazards, so employers must select appropriate gloves for the work. Employers should ask the manufacturer for information confirming that the gloves satisfy appropriate standards for the specific hazard. In addition, it is helpful to determine the amount of time an ...


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