When you’re working with heavy machinery, equipment, or chemicals, it is critical that you protect your hands, eyes, and limbs. The same holds true if you work in the sandblasting industry. Regardless of your role, personal protective equipment such as sandblasting gloves are a vital part of workplace or job site safety. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)) requires sandblasting gloves for certain sandblasting industry types. Even if they are not mandatory for your role, it is a good idea to protect your hands at all times.

Sandblasting relies on the use of abrasive materials and compressed water or air to clean or remove substances from a surface. Whether you are a veteran or newcomer to this industry, think about the impact of high-pressure water and an abrasive material such as silica or coal slag on your skin. Even if your company uses less toxic blasting materials like baking soda, walnut shells, or ground corn cobs, you should still protect your hands with sandblasting gloves. Think of it this way: sandblasting is the process of shooting millions of tiny beads or pellets or material at a high rate of speed. The “sand” is propelled at such a high rate that the surface material is blasted right off. Imagine what millions of fragments of glass or sand can do to exposed skin.

OSHA recommends that you wear leather sandblasting gloves that protect the entire forearm for maximum protection, however, depending on the operation, heavy duty rubber gloves may work just as well. There are pros and cons to each material. It is a good idea to research the best material for your industry. Sandblasting gloves are available in neoprene, natural rubber, latex rubber, Naugahyde. or ranchide. Some gloves are made from a combination of materials. For instance, you may find a neoprene glove with a Naugahyde upper. The important thing to consider is how well your gloves will hold up to the rigors of the job.

Another important consideration is the fit of your gloves. You certainly don’t want to invest in a great pair of gloves only to find that they don’t fit in your cabinet. Typically gloves are sized by the length of your arm and the diameter of the cabinet hole. Look for a large selection of sizes and materials to choose from. Some gloves are cloth lined to aid in eliminating perspiration. Some gloves have ridges or bumps on the fingertips to help you grasp and manipulate parts or your equipment. Ultimately, selecting the best protection depends on the nature of your job and the type of abrasive material used in your operation.

The best thing to do when selecting your sandblasting gloves is to check with your employer. Take it a step further and look at OSHA recommendations for the type of material and industry you are working in. Select the best pair that your budget allows, however, don’t scrimp on your safety.