What are nitrile coated work gloves and why do construction workers use them?Article published on Jun 16, 2021
There are many safety gloves with protective coatings of one kind or another, but construction workers, gardeners, and other outdoor workers may find themselves wandering "What's the difference between vinyl, latex, nitrile, and rubber gloves?"
Latex gloves are perhaps the most common disposable, protective gloves, commonly used in medical facilities. They offer just a thin protective layer which doesn't restrict fine motor movements but provides sufficient protection from germs and blood-borne pathogens. These kinds of safety gloves are very useful in medical environments, but because the protective layer is very thin, these are not useful in industrial environments.
Not to mention latex, (made from rubber), is a common allergen. Some people may use vinyl gloves as an alternative, though they serve as an imperfect substitute. While vinyl is less likely to cause allergic reactions, it is less durable, and loses effectiveness as it stretches. Vinyl gloves may feel similar to wear, but are. not truly protective.
Nitrile gloves are more broadly useful. They can be used as an alternative to latex gloves or as a more durable work glove. Made from synthetic rubber, nitrile does not trigger allergies the way latex can, and unlike vinyl, nitrile is actually more durable and puncture-resistant than even latex. This also means they can be less comfortable and fine motor movements can be more of a challenge, but even this is changing as nitrile technologies improve.
Thicker rubber gloves are common for gardening or handling sharp objects. However, the thickness which contributes to the rubber's durability and strength compromises its dexterity, and people can find rubber difficult for certain tasks.
What makes nitrile coated gloves popular for outdoor work like gardening and construction work?
Nitrile is more puncture resistant than latex: Nitrile can be thought of as a happy medium between the comfort and flexibility of latex and the strength and durability of thick rubber gloves. Nitrile can outperform rubber for certain durability metrics, however. For instance nitrile is up to 3 times more puncture resistant than rubber, and can even be chemical-resistant. Where latex would not be a safe protection against chemical-use, nitrile can be used to handle certain hazardous and corrosive chemicals.
Nitrile is less allergenic than latex: This is one reason why construction workers and even mechanics find nitrile coated gloves to be more useful than latex or vinyl. Another compelling benefit is the way nitrile reacts to friction. While latex sometimes requires a powder to help put gloves on and take them off, nitrile is easier to take on and off and does not usually require this powder. This is another reason why these gloves are less allergy-prone.
Nitrile coated gloves improve grip: Similarly, nitrile's texture can prevent slipping when a firm grip is needed. This is important for mechanics and construction workers who may need to perform heavy lifting frequently. Nitrile coated gloves can help ensure tight grips in these instances.
Nitrile is waterproof: Like rubber, nitrile is waterproof and can keep a worker's hands dry in damp environments.
Nitrile coated gloves last longer than latex: Have you ever noticed the expiration date on a box of disposable gloves? You may wonder how something like a glove could expire, but when used for safety, it's important for a worker to know whether or not the protective glove will crack on break when they put it on, exposing them to the chemicals or germs they're attempting to be protected from. If stored properly, most latex gloves can last up to 3 years. Nitrile however can last even longer - up to 5 years if stored properly. In general, if the glove can be successfully put on without breaking and tearing, the material is probably still safe to wear.
All of these benefits are factors in the popularity of nitrile coated gloves for construction work and outdoor work in general. Nitrile coated gloves can be trusted as durable, waterproof, allergy-free, and long-lasting.