November 13, 2020

A needlestick injury – it’s an extremely dangerous risk for some jobs. And exposure to a needlestick warrants more than just a band-aid; it’s a trip to the hospital and months of monitoring your health. It’s pricey, both emotionally and financially.

In fact, a single case of serious infection by bloodborne pathogens can add up to $1 million or more in expenses for testing, lost work time, and disability payments, according to the American Hospital Association. Even when no infection occurs, the cost to an organization is a minimum of $5,000 for initial evaluation and ongoing treatment.

So, are you at risk of a needlestick injury at your job? Chances are – no. But if you are, that chance shouldn’t be taken lightly. Read on to learn more about the kinds of industries that are at risk and the type of protection needed to avoid injury.

Industries that encounter needles

It’s no surprise that overall, hospital employees face the most severe risks of needlestick-related injuries given the nature of their work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 5.6 million workers in the healthcare industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. However, there are some healthcare jobs not as well known that are at a higher risk than others. Positions such as research and development and cleaning and laundry services require more robust protection.

Aside from healthcare, the other industries that are most exposed to needlesticks are waste and recycling, municipality, and law-enforcement. There are over 7.5 billion needles and syringes being used outside of the healthcare system each year, and disposal of needles, syringes, lancets, and other medical products are not regulated in the home. Needle waste is routinely placed into curbside trash, deposited as liter, or left on the person – leaving workers in these industries and others at risk.

Needlestick-like hazards are also present in some unlikely places, including applications that require inoculation or use high-pressure fluid-injection. The latter can become very serious or even fatal if not dealt with promptly and properly. Fluid streams at merely 100-pound force per square inch (psi) can penetrate human skin as if it were a hypodermic needle, and several industries use hydraulic and diesel fuel systems that can operate at up to 3,000 psi. Learn more about this here.

To help combat these needle hazards and other sharps-related injuries, needlestick-resistant gloves are the last line of defense. And having the right gloves can make all the difference.

Types of needle-resistant gloves

Depending on your industry, you may not only need different levels of protection, but also different types of gloves altogether. It’s important to know your options.

Here are the most common types of needle-protective gloves.

Leather gloves

Gloves made from leather provide some protection against cuts and burns, and help protect against sustained and moderate heat, sparks, blows, chips, and rough objects. Popular in transportation services and law enforcement, many workers like leather gloves due to their traditional leather feel, durability, and greater feeling of dexterity over time. Look for leather gloves that are able to balance the dexterity with the protection level(s) you want for your specific application.

Popular for their traditional leather feel and lower incident rate of needle exposure, HexArmor’s leather gloves include SuperFabric® brand material* (exclusively licensed to HexArmor® in the industrial PPE market) on the palm and fingertips to offer industry-leading needlestick protection.

Mechanic’s style gloves

Mechanic’s style gloves are made from several kinds of fabric, cotton, or synthetic fabric to provide varying degrees of protection against dirt, chafing, and abrasions for use with rough, sharp, or heavy materials. Always changing and improving, mechanic’s style gloves can deliver a full range of needle protection levels (in addition to cut, puncture, and more) for a wide scope of industries and applications.

Popular in industries involving law enforcement, municipality, inoculation, and fluid-injection applications, mechanic’s style gloves are able to pack in a wide breadth of protection levels, grip options, and durability, while offering dexterity and comfort. Because of the large number of options available, make sure to match your gloves with your job or application. Some brands, like HexArmor®, offer mechanic’s gloves with specific protection zones to deliver more protection where you need it most on your hand.

HexArmor® mechanic’s style gloves include SuperFabric® brand material to offer industry-leading needlestick protection for a variety of applications.

Knit gloves

Made with high-performance yarns, knit gloves are available in any number of fiber combinations for all levels of cut protection, dexterity, and comfort. A coating can be added to the fingers, palm, and back of hand to offer better grip and extra abrasion and liquid resistance. Popular in waste and recycling, municipalities, and fluid-injection applications, these gloves are used for tasks ranging from handling bricks, wood, wire, chemicals, and everything in between.

Available in multiple knits and coating combinations, HexArmor® adds SuperFabric® brand material* to the palm of their knit gloves to provide extra protection against needlesticks.

Top industries matched with HexArmor® gloves

Below, we’ve matched top industries at risk for needlestick exposure to the most-used HexArmor® PointGuard® safety gloves for protection.


Here’s how HexArmor® is a market leader in needle-resistant protection

Advanced needlestick technology

HexArmor® sets the industry standard for needle protection by providing needlestick solutions that layer SuperFabric® brand material* inside the gloves. SuperFabric® is available in a variety of base fabrics with guard plates applied to arrest, deflect, and stop punctures from reaching the skin’s surface. When a needle meets a SuperFabric® guard plate, the material blocks and deflects the hazard.

Highest-performing glove line on the market

HexArmor’s wide breadth of PointGuard® gloves utilize two or three layers of SuperFabric® protection, tested to the ASTM F2878 standard using a 25-gauge needle, to deliver needle-resistant resistance levels of 4 or 5, the highest rating possible. Tests and glove selections like this help make the selection process easier for safety managers, making it possible to find the exact glove per application to mitigate injuries and save money over time.

Added cut resistance

Unlike typical fiber-based needlestick gloves, HexArmor® gloves with SuperFabric® are designed to prevent hazards from puncturing through and ultimately penetrating the skin’s surface. Most of our SuperFabric® PPE maintains industry-leading A6 to A9 rated cut levels.

Unmatched protection zones

Found on the palm, back-of-hand, fingertips, and finger sidewalls, HexArmor® needlestick-resistant gloves offer robust protection zones that are purpose-built to provide protection to specific areas of the hand where frequent injuries are more common.

Not sure what you need? HexArmor® can help

There are several factors to consider when choosing which needle-resistant glove or body protection is right for you. To learn more about this technology or which glove is best for your needs, contact one of our Solutions Specialists today at 1.877.MY.ARMOR or visit www.hexarmor.com.

*SUPERFABRIC® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF HDM, INC., exclusive to HexArmor® in the industrial PPE market
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