The Lifespan of Safety Gloves: When to Replace Them in Your Workplace

The Lifespan of Safety Gloves: When to Replace Them in Your Workplace
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The Lifespan of Safety Gloves: When to Replace Them in Your Workplace

Safety Gloves are an important part of personal protective equipment (P.P.E) that protect hands from various workplace hazards. Prolong use and full exposure makes them easily vulnerable to damage. 

Safety gloves come with an expiry date and like every other personal protective equipment (P.P.E), they too get worn out with use and time. Prolong use diminishes its quality and regular contact with the hazardous material increases the wear and tear. So, regularly replacing the safety gloves is critical in ensuring the optimal workplace safety. 

According to OSHA, Occupational safety & Health Administration, “Employers shall select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when employees’ hands are exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical burns; thermal burns; and harmful temperature extremes.”

The lifespan of safety gloves depends on a lot of factors. The type of gloves, the material used, the job performed and how they are stored. However, the average lifespan of any safety glove ranges from 6 months to a year or two. 

For any safety glove to last longer, it must be durable enough to sustain the demanding work environment and hazardous material present in the workplace. And a lot more depends on the worker, how well he takes care of his safety gloves, how well he is educated and trained about handling and storing the safety gloves. 

In this blog, we’ll try to know about the lifespan of safety gloves, factors affecting their durability, and why timely replacement is essential.

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Safety Gloves

There are a lot of factors affecting the lifespan of safety gloves. However, quality of the material, nature of the work performed, frequency of use, environmental conditions, maintenance and storage are the primary factors that decide the lifespan of safety gloves. Let’s see each factor in detail:

Quality of the material:

Quality of the material used in the safety glove is the most critical factor. Better the quality, more the lifespan. So only invest in superior quality safety gloves made up of durable material like synthetic leather, polyester, polymer, impact-resistant rubber, cut -resistant fibers etc.

Nature of work:

Nature of the task performed can significantly impact the lifespan of safety gloves. Any industrial or construction workplace houses various threats and hazards. Repeatedly coming in contact with these ignites the wear and tear process. A worker wearing safety gloves for a longer time, handling sharp tools, operating machinery, or dealing directly with hazardous materials may subject their gloves to greater stress and therefore, prematurely decreasing the lifespan of the gloves.

Frequency of use:

Some jobs are very demanding and require frequent use of safety gloves. That would mean protecting your hands non-stop for hours and only removing them while breaks or at the end of your shift. This constant and frequent use can fasten the wear and tear process. The signs of damage can be clearly visible after a week or two. So buy safety gloves that have the capacity to be used frequently and for a prolonged time.

Environmental conditions:

Other factors like the temperature, humidity, sunlight may significantly contribute to weakening the safety gloves. So evaluate the working conditions and get the safety gloves that will survive the prolonged exposure to any kind of weather.

Maintenance practices:

How you handle your safety gloves at work and how you store them at home strongly influence their lifespan. Handle them with care and maximize its lifespan. Daily cleaning them and following the manufacturer’s storage guidelines can help them stay in usable conditions for a very long time. So regularly clean them and store them in a cool place, away from dust and sunlight. Keep them safe in a pouch or in a storage device.

Types of Safety Gloves and Significance of Knowing When to Replace Each Type

There are a variety of safety gloves available in the Dubai market. Following are a few popular ones. As a responsible employer, you must be aware of the different types of safety gloves available, where to buy from and when to replace them. Let’s see each type in little detail:

Disposable Gloves:

These gloves are popular in industries such as healthcare, food service, and laboratories. The name says it all: disposable These gloves are ideal for short-term & one time use only. Damage or no damage, these can’t be reused. Properly disposing of and replacing them promptly is critical to workplace safety. Reusing disposable gloves increases the risk of cross-contamination and is detrimental to the hygiene and safety of the environment.

Leather Gloves:

Leather safety gloves actually last longer than other gloves. Leather is the most durable material and if taken proper care, leather safety gloves can last for years. However, like any other gloves, the lifespan of leather gloves too depends on the usage and storage and maintenance. Most suitable for construction workers, welders and other heavy-duty tasks. And buy leather safety gloves that are made from very durable high-end full-grain leather.

Latex & Nitrile Gloves:

Both are the most common and popular safety gloves in the medical industry and laboratories. You may have seen doctors or other medical professionals wearing latex and nitrile gloves. These are efficient and useful gloves that prevent transfer of bacteria, contaminants & pathogens. Both have finite lifespans, both can show early signs of wear & tear if exposed daily to chemicals and other hazards. Proper care and storage may prolong their lifespan.

Fabric or Cotton Gloves:

Some tasks require the use of lightweight safety equipment. Fabric and cotton gloves are comfortable and lightweight that can only be used for light duty tasks such as material handling and assembling. Too much exposure to harmful material or exerting too much pressure may damage them sooner than expected.

Kevlar Gloves:

Kevlar safety gloves are known for their cut-resistant properties. They act as a solid defense against sharp objects and material, such as knives, glass and sharp tools etc. They protect the hands from cuts and slashes and are most suitable for high risk working environments. Kevlar gloves are more durable than any other safety gloves but with time and use they may worn out quickly. So workers must promptly identify any visible damage and replace them to avoid any cuts.

How to Spot Signs of Wear & Tear

Workers must properly take care of their safety equipment. This means regularly cleaning them and storing them safely and being super careful while wearing them. In case of safety gloves, just visually inspect before wearing them. Spot any signs of wear and tear. Carefully look for any cuts or punctures. Check the material, color and the texture. Wear your safety gloves only after you’re satisfied. The following points will help you in spotting wear and tear in your safety gloves:

  • Visually inspect to spot any wear and tear
  • Check the elasticity and make sure they are fit and comfortable 
  • Wear them and hold any object to check the tactile sensitivity
  • Check the color, appearance and the fabric 
  • Spot any cuts, tears & punctures 
  • Too much exposure may weaken the fabric – so press the fabric to spot any signs of wear through fraying or thinning of the material.

Importance of Timely Replacement

Workplace safety isn’t limited to buying the best personal protective equipment (P.P.E) It also involves timely replacement of the damaged ones. Timely replacement  fosters a secure and healthy working environment. Not replacing the damaged safety equipment and allowing workers to continue working may risk the well-being of everyone present around the workplace. 


However, replacing safety gloves is quick and easy. Employers can order multiple pairs of the safety gloves and in case of damage, may replace them with new ones on the spot. Following points may help you in realizing the importance of timely replacement of your safety gloves:


  • Prevents hand injuries 
  • Ensures proper workplace safety 
  • Maintaining hygiene by disposing damaged gloves
  • Preventing the transfer of contaminants and other bacterias 
  • More comfort and improved performance 


Timely replacement of any personal protective equipment is critical to ensuring optimal workplace safety. And replacement of safety gloves which have generally shorter lifespan is more crucial. When safety gloves are new or in usable condition for a longer time, hands stay protected from cuts, tears, and other harmful chemicals. So employers must be responsible enough to replace the safety gloves on time. Workers too need to be alert and get their safety gloves replaced in case of damage. There are a variety of safety gloves available in the market. Quality and the lifespan vary with the type of material, frequency of use, and maintenance. So knowing when to replace the safety gloves holds equal importance and timely replacement benefits both the employers and employees.


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