The three gaps in your chemical glove knowledge that could be harming your workforce 

When you choose chemical gloves you probably refer to Safety Data Sheets or EN 374 to check they will protect workers against the chemicals they’re using. But every time you use this approach you let risks seep into your business

Find out why your chemical gloves might not be giving you the protection you expected.  

Read our articleRead our article

The gloves are off. We expose the risks to your workers and your business. 

The gloves are off. We expose the risks to your workers and your business. 

Do your chemical gloves measure up? 

No. of chemicals tested for glove breakthrough times:

Safety Data Sheets

Chemical glove Databases


chemicals and mixtures tested



EN 374

test data

chemicals tested

If you don’t look at the permeation breakthrough times for the exact chemicals your people are using, the gloves you provide may not protect them.

We perform breakthrough testing in our independently accredited laboratory and have access to an unparalleled breadth of data covering breakthrough times for over 350,000 chemicals and mixtures. 

Isn’t it time you put your safety in our hands?

Fields marked * are mandatory

Further information can be found in our privacy policy

What happens next? 

Our team will contact you to discuss next steps:

  • Help assess the risks on your site 
  • Propose an appropriate selection of chemical gloves as part of your personalised report 
  • Help you select the most suitable gloves for your workplace 
  • Run user trials 
  • Provide training on correct usage and promote long-term compliance 

Chemical Protection Gloves

Is risk seeping into your business? 

The gloves are off 

We reveal the information gap putting workers’ health at risk 

EN 374 ratings and Safety Data Sheets are the two go-to sources for most Health & Safety managers when choosing chemical protection gloves. If you’re being diligent, you may also refer to permeation times for further guidance on glove performance.

However, this approach could unintentionally be putting you among the 70% of Health and Safety professionals who risk choosing gloves that don’t provide the level of protection they believe they will.

The three gaps in your knowledge

The problem is that the three methods above may leave a dangerous gap in your information. They don’t take account of the huge variations in the way even very similar chemicals behave, which can drastically increase permeation and reduce the breakthrough times for chemical gloves:  

  1. Different chemicals, even very similar ones have different permeation breakthrough times. 
  2. Chemicals behave differently when they’re in different solutions and at different concentrations.
  3. Mixtures of chemicals have different permeation breakthrough times to the individual chemicals.

Long-term health problems for your people

At first, your employees may not realise that their skin is coming into contact with chemicals. Very often, the gloves won’t feel any different and indeed, won’t feel damp inside. Yet, unknown to you and your workers, the chemicals are seeping through. This exposure to chemicals can have serious health consequences including organ damage, cancer and dermatitis.

Far from being just a minor rash, or dry skin, the effect of dermatitis on your workers’ can be serious and long lasting. Yet they probably won’t realise that their skin problems are work related until it’s too late. Repeated exposure to chemicals can lead to dry, rough, reddened and thickened skin. In some cases, the affected area develops painful open, infected cracks and severe blistering. The longer such health effects are ignored without treatment, the more serious it becomes, making recovery less likely. Hands with already damaged skin are also susceptible to the risk of further damage and infection. Many sufferers talk about how embarrassed and self-conscious they feel about the condition, and how it has left them unable to perform basic tasks.

Over time, their hand mobility becomes severely restricted, making it increasingly difficult to carry out everyday workplace activities like gripping tools or operating machinery. It’s simply too painful. Eventually, they may not be able to continue to work and can then suffer the additional financial burden of loss of earnings.

Exposure to chemicals can also put your workers at risk of other long-term health issues. Chemicals can pass through the skin and carried by the bloodstream cause health problems elsewhere in the body including permanent damage to body organs. When chemicals pass through the skin, they will contribute to the systemic load from any other exposure routes, such as inhalation.

Bad for the health of your business too

The potential damage is far from skin deep for businesses too. Workers frequently continue to work with the condition, yet with reduced productivity. Once sensitised to a substance, managing their working arrangements can be complicated and costly.

Many workers with occupational skin disease will require time off work, leading to sick pay, lost working days, recruitment costs and the increase in wages that employing more expensive temporary contract staff inevitably adds. In some scenarios, you could even find yourself facing fines, the costs of personal injury compensation, and expensive HSE investigation charges.

It’s also not unusual for workers with dermatitis to have to retire or change jobs completely to avoid exposure to chemicals (around 60%). With dermatitis being a potentially disabling condition, you may therefore find you owe compensation for future loss of wages, including allowance for the extra difficulties of securing alternative employment created by being sensitised. 

So how can you make more informed glove choices?

By working with Arco, your glove choices are informed by our access to an unparalleled breadth of data covering over 350,000 chemicals and mixtures. In our independently accredited safety assurance laboratory, we can test gloves for other chemicals, concentrations and mixtures. As your expert partner, this makes us uniquely placed to help you ensure that your workers are protected when wearing their gloves.

What to do now

If you would like to know more about how to make a more informed chemical glove decision, why not get in touch?

Contact UsIs it time you put your safety in our hands? Contact us