Hazards of Wearing Gloves in the Shop

Gloves have their place, but they create risk around woodworking machinery. August 29, 2006

We are facing the problem of employees wanting to wear gloves in our heated shop. We feed things such as rip saws, undercut chop saws, band saw, etc. Does anyone else have a policy regarding gloves and the potential hazards they create? The upside is no slivers for the workers.

Forum Responses
(Dust Collection and Safety Equipment Forum)
From contributor D:
Our policy is to not allow gloves on any power feeding machinery - gang rip, resaw, planer, molder and the like. You don't have to go far to hear or see the results of getting a hand (actually a glove) caught in moving machinery. They can be worn when unloading or stacking rough lumber. Latex gloves are okay for epoxy and other glues.

The general feeling I try to communicate is to let your hands toughen up. After a while you do get less splinters of lesser severity, and you retain all the feel in your hands that you need when pushing through a tablesaw or similar situation.

From contributor C:
Hands can't toughen up to avoid damage due to vibration. Constant, prolonged use of tools such as orbital sanders will do damage to the tendons and nerves no matter how thick the calluses. Anti-vibration gloves well help lessen the damage.

From contributor M:
Gloves and powerfeed = danger. Everywhere else is fine. Toughening up is normal.

From contributor H:
I was always anti-glove for the reasons mentioned above. I am getting older now and am starting to get a little arthritis in my hands. Also, the shop is quite dry in the winter so that it's harder to grip materials as they are fed through the machines. I have discovered a knit glove with rubber palms and fingers - I get mine from the Gemplers catalogue - that totally solves these problems with the added benefit that they warm my hands, which helps the arthritis. They are close fitting to the point that they are a little difficult to get on and off. Do they compromise safety and feel? Maybe a little, but in my case the benefit seems worth the cost.

From contributor F:
I too like those knit gloves with the rubber palm. They are great for hand feeding melamine (sharp edges) across the table saw. I do wear a tight fit pair, so I have a better sense of touch. I suppose they have a danger factor on a planer, but it seems like if you are sticking your hands that far inside a planer, you are asking for it even with bare hands.

From contributor G:
For what it is worth, in my company we specified where gloves could and could not be worn. This was in the rules and regulations of the employee handbook, which all signed for and received, and this was articulated by foreman during job training. I believe we only had one injury from gloves and that was by an employee not following rules and wearing jersey gloves while drilling holes in small parts on a drill press. It (the glove) caught up in the drill bit and twisted her hand/wrist quite badly. If the belts had not slipped and the glove torn, I'm sure the injury would have been much worse. Handling wood board and panels seems to be the best where gloves really help - but never around moving feeds, blades, bits, saws, cutters.

From contributor B:
I know a man who was using gloves to feed material into a table saw. A large split on the side of the board caught his glove and moved the tip of the glove into the blade, which then proceeded to pull his hand into the blade. Ole "2 fingers" doesn't do much woodworking anymore... or much else with that hand, as far as that goes.