How to select the right glove using PPE classifications

Sterile cleanroom gloves from Shieldskin

Different classifications can help you determine which glove is right for you if you use cleanroom gloves for personal protection. But what do they all mean? In this blog, we break them all down for you.

What does Category III mean?

PPE Products are classified according to 3 categories:

  • Category I: Simple Design
  • Category II: Intermediate design (products that do not fit into Cat I or III)
  • Category III: Complex design – for protection against dangerous chemicals and harmful biological agents

What does Type A, B, or C mean?

Whether a glove is Type A, B, or C depends on its performance in permeation tests with certain chemicals. HSE describes chemical permeation as “the process by which chemicals flow through the glove material at the molecular level.” A breakthrough occurs when the chemical is detected on the other side of the sample.

Type A gloves

Type A is a protective glove with permeation resistance of at least 30 minutes each for at least 6 test chemicals.

Type B gloves

Type B is a protective glove with permeation resistance of at least 30 minutes each for at least 3 test chemicals.

Type C gloves

Type C is a protective glove with permeation resistance of at least 10 minutes for at least 1 test chemical.

What does the AQL rate mean for gloves?

AQL stands for ‘Acceptable Quality Level,’ which is the rate of how many gloves could have holes in and still pass. These holes could be pinholes or any other defects that allow penetration through a glove. HSE describes penetration as “the flow of a chemical agent through seams, porous materials, pinholes, and other imperfections in the protective glove.” 

An AQL of 1.5 represents less than 1.5% of defects in a batch of gloves. Many SHIELDskin™ gloves have a low AQL of just 0.65.

Why double-glove in a cleanroom?

Double-gloving is the act of wearing two gloves on the one hand. It is commonly used in GMP cleanrooms with sterile gloves as an effective method of reducing biological risk as it increases protection. Even if both gloves have a pinhole that allows penetration, the risk of the holes being in the same place is low. Wearing two different coloured gloves on one had also allows you to spot any defects more quickly, further reducing biological risk.

Cleanroomshop stocks the widely acclaimed SHIELDskin™ cleanroom gloves, which provide you with the highest level of “compliance, comfort, and protection.