Evaluating The Benefits Of PIP® 33-115 Reusable Coated Gloves Over Disposable Gloves

Apr 01, 2021 • WHITE PAPERS
Protective Industrial Products



This case study looks at a comparison between disposable gloves and reusable coated seamless knit gloves for general work applications in industrial and construction site settings.

As many are aware, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented demand for disposable gloves, resulting in exponentially rising costs and supply shortages. Many companies returning to work defaulted to disposable gloves as an effective solution to mitigate the transmission of germs.

Intuitively, natural or synthetic rubber disposable gloves seem like the most logical choice for protection against shared surface contact. However, a closer study will demonstrate that disposable gloves are best suited for medical and frontline applications, for the prevention of food contamination in food safety, and for quick jobs in industrial applications that require protection from oils or chemicals.

This case study demonstrates that the use of disposable gloves in industrial and construction work environments actually negatively affects overall PPE costs, produces excess waste, and has a larger environmental footprint. More importantly, there are potential risks related to lack of mechanical protection and even productivity loss due to lack of grip and general discomfort. For a full analysis, Click Here.


This case study is based on the actual experience of a large U.S. based fashion retailer with numerous national locations. It will demonstrate how reusable work gloves are more suited to protect working hands from occupational hazards and allows workers to operate more effectively and confidently. It will further demonstrate that coupled with the CDC’s recommended hand hygiene program, a coated seamless knit reusable glove can offer protection from work hazards as well as help to mitigate the spread of germs.



In preparation for the restart phase of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, a division of a large fashion retailer connected with one of PIP’s distributor partners regarding concerns of the shortages and rising costs of disposable gloves. The retailer was using disposable gloves at all of the return locations of their distribution centers since these locations handled multiple items including those that may have been worn or handled repeatedly. Their process required physical evaluation, relabeling, and repacking. Gloves were worn because workers needed to work with products that were handled by multiple people to prevent soiling items during processing. These workers needed gloves that allowed for enough manual dexterity to manipulate clothing in the functions of tagging, buttoning, zipping, hooking, and snapping, without being impeded by perspiration or improper fit.

In total, they had 3,000 employees wearing disposable gloves to perform their work applications. The customer’s annual usage for disposable gloves was estimated to be over 4.3 million pairs, which amounted to more than $1 million annually.

With disposable gloves in such high demand, the customer had already experienced an initial increase in costs from its distributors. It was also estimated that additional cost increases would be incurred based on future pricing, causing their annual expenditure to spike to over $1.5 million per year – representing a 50% increase.



In May 2020, in preparation for “re-opening” following the Covid pandemic, PIP® was called in by a key West Coast distributor partner to provide an analysis on glove use and protection against the spread of germs. The safety manager had developed a clear safety protocol that included testing employees, requiring the use of face coverings and gloves, in addition to adhering to social distancing protocols. The immediate need was for 350,000 pairs of disposable gloves per month.

The PIP® Regional Sales Manager reviewed their needs and determined that disposable gloves were not the answer based on the job operations, worker needs, and expected price increases. An analysis using PIP’s Cost-of-Use Calculator tool was conducted – carefully evaluating the task requirements, risks, and real costs. The hazards assessed were related to abrasion, lift force, and the remote risk that the returned merchandise may be contaminated with germs.


It was determined that cut was not a risk and that gloves were mostly needed to protect against possible abrasion, prevent soiling, help alleviate lifting force and pressure with a secure grip while providing a barrier against direct contact with returned merchandise, shared surfaces, and work tools. The initial discussions were centered on grip. If PIP® demonstrated that a good coating could ensure that loads were carried more securely and without risk of slipping, it would lead to the worker being more productive. Additionally, if PIP® demonstrated that the coating offered a uniform barrier against direct contact with the merchandise and shared surfaces, it would give workers more confidence to perform their job. However, it was carefully reiterated that as outlined by the CDC, only a proper hand hygiene program has been proven to be effective in helping mitigate the spread of germs by way of hands.

PIP’s recommendation was to opt for an all-in-one glove that was comparable in cost of use to that of disposable gloves. PIP’s 33-115 was recommended as an economically priced, general purpose seamless knit polyester glove with a polyurethane-coated grip on the palm and fingers. It was selected as a reusable alternative to disposable gloves. Its impermeable polyurethane coating makes it ideal for most high dexterity jobs and for preventing direct contact with shared surfaces or items. The glove pairs are individually packaged and can be laundered up to four times depending on the use of the glove. The PU coating is abrasion resistant and provides a secure grip while helping protect the skin when handling bulky items.


As in any work situation, worker protection and comfort needed to be addressed. PIP’s 33-115 coated seamless knit is form-fitting with a breathable polyester liner, helping eliminate the risk of skin irritation or infection and discomfort due to excess perspiration that can occur with prolonged use of disposable gloves. Having the proper fit and breathability also reduces the risk of workers removing gloves due to irritation and discomfort.

Lastly, it also helps enhance worker productivity and efficiency by reducing hand fatigue that results from using the necessary force that’s needed to lift bulky and slippery objects.



The customer agreed to engage in a trial test, outfitting a controlled group of two hundred employees in two locations. After two weeks, it was quickly determined that reusable seamless knit gloves offered a remarkable improvement in comfort, dexterity, and protection. Warehouse workers were found to prefer the PIP® 33-115 over disposable gloves and there were no reports of irritation or discomfort due to extended wear.



The trial period was cut short due to the convincing results and now the focus turned to numbers. It was determined that employees used one complete pair of gloves every seven days for a total of 13,000 pairs of gloves per month. When prorated, this volume would be estimated at 156,000 pairs of gloves over a full year across all national locations. Compared to disposable gloves, switching to PIP’s 33-115 reusable gloves would reduce product usage by a staggering 4.2 million pairs of gloves each year. Waste would be cut by the same amount, but the sustainability aspect was a big benefit for management.

When prorating the customer’s annual cost with the PIP® coated seamless knit glove, it was calculated they would save more than 90%. Considering that the customer’s annual spend on disposable gloves would be in excess of $1 million, this clearly presented immense savings. These savings come despite the fact that one pair of reusable PIP® 33-115 gloves cost nearly two and a half times more than a pair of disposable gloves. By addressing the issue of shortages and rising costs head-on, this customer was able to achieve significant savings.

Why was the difference so dramatic? The liners of seamless coated knits are typically made of nylon or polyester blends which are much more durable than any disposable glove on the market. In addition, the resilient polyurethane coating retains efficacy in grip and surface contact protection for up to four washes.



Some industries have heavy-duty working conditions where, at the end of each day, the glove used cannot be laundered and reused. For those instances, the PIP’s 33-115 be treated as a daily disposable and still come out ahead on cost. Using our case study as an example, cost savings would average almost $400,000 annually compared to disposable gloves. Currently, the company is considering laundering as an option for additional savings.



While the reusable 33-115 keeps hands dry and comfortable, it was found that prolonged use of disposable gloves can incur costs in other ways. Skin irritation from prolonged use of disposable gloves due to lack of air circulation and the build-up of sweat and bacterium can lead to serious conditions such as contact dermatitis, which is one of the most commonly reported occupational diseases according to ISHN. OSHA calculates that a single case of contact dermatitis can cost more than $11,000 in employer-paid expenses.



The significant reduction in usage also allowed this company to reduce the number of resources they had tied to their on-hand inventory. A two-week supply of disposable gloves equated to 168,000 pairs, with the inventory cost exceeding $40,000.


Conversely, a two-week supply of the 33-115 reusable glove totaled 6,000 pairs, with the cost of this inventory just reaching $3,660. The difference: The customer effectively reduced funds tied up in their on-hand inventory by over 90%, while clearing one and a half pallets from their storage area.



In addition to clearing space and cost within their on-hand inventory, the customer also reduced their costs for disposing of the used products. A 20-yard dumpster can essentially hold ten pallets worth of gloves. The reduction in usage means the customer eliminated ten dumpster disposals per year.



As we summarize all of the data shared, it becomes easier to see just how impactful it was for this customer to make the decision to find a better option for disposable gloves while helping protect workers from direct contact with shared surfaces or items. The combination of a coated seamless knit glove used in conjunction with the CDC’s proper hand hygiene regimen is proven to help mitigate the spread of contaminants in the workplace.


It is important to note that the calculated cost of use does not include the hidden costs of disposable gloves related to lowered productivity, or any cost related to treating work injuries or skin conditions related to disposables.


The right glove for the application still needs to be held at the same priority level as protecting workers from surface contact and switching to a higher quality reusable glove shows a positive impact on worker health and productivity, waste, and cost-savings.




Protective Industrial Products, Inc. (PIP®) is a leading supplier of Hand Protection and
    General Safety Products to wholesalers and distributors worldwide. PIP® strengthens its value proposition by also
    offering its products in the most efficient and flexible manner, while building long-term relationships with its


Additional information about PIP® is available at www.pipusa.com, or by contacting Anthony Di Giovanni at 518-595-1234 or


Neither this document nor any other statement made herein by or on behalf of Protective Industrial Products, Inc. should be construed as a warranty of merchantability or that any Protective Industrial Products, Inc product is fit for a particular purpose. Protective Industrial Products, Inc assumes no responsibility for the suitability or adequacy of an end-user’s selection of gloves for a specific application. Users are encouraged to always use caution and care when handling sharp materials or in potentially dangerous environments.
    See www.pipusa.com for important product safety information.


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Latham, NY - April 24, 2014 - PIP joins the members of Western Safety Associates (WSA) in mourning the loss of longtime partner and founder, Gene Philip Hall, who passed away the morning of April 21, 20…


Protective Industrial Products (PIP) Introduces Its Latest Range of Cut Resistant Gloves with Dyneema® Fiber for the Chinese Market

Close Co-operation between PIP and DSM Dyneema Delivers Gloves with Reliable Cut Resistance Performance, Comfort and Cost Efficiency Shanghai, 8 April 2014 - At the 88th China (International) Occupational Safe…


Protective Industrial Products Appoints Tim Kane as National Account Manager

Kurt Wanner, Vice President of National Accounts, is pleased to announce that Tim Kane will be joining his team as a National Account Manager.  Tim will be responsible for HD Supply, Staples and Airgas, t…


PIP Announces New Appointments and Additions in 2014

Latham, NY - January 9, 2014, Protective Industrial Products is once again pleased to announce the following additions and appointments to fuel our growth and innovation. NEW ADDITIONS Joining us as Product Spec…


New PIP Corporate Headquarters

ALBANY, NY - PIP is pleased to announce that as of Monday, December 30th, 2013, our Corporate Headquarters will move to nearby Latham, NY. Our new location will be home to our Executive, Administrative, Sa…


New tenant taking Plug Power's space at headquarters

A manufacturer in New York's Capital Region will take over the street-front offices at the headquarters of Plug Power Inc., the Latham, NY fuel-cell maker.By year's end, Protective Industrial Products…


PIP SR Vice-President, Robin Roberts, Elected to Evergreen's Supplier Advisory Council

Protective Industrial Products, Inc. (PIP) is exceptionally proud and honored to have Robin Roberts elected as Chairman of Evergreen Marketing Group's 2013-14 Supplier Advisory Council. Mr. Roberts ha…


PIP Product Specialists, Chris Barrington and Travis Estes Earn Coveted QSSP Designation

PIP is pleased to announce that PIP Product Specialists, Chris Barrington and Travis Estes have earned the designation of Qualified Safety Sales Professional (QSSP).The QSSP course is a rigorous, week-lon…


Two New Members Join PIP Senior Management Team

PIP's stellar growth, over the last 10 years, has positioned itself as a global leader in Safety Hand Protection and places PIP well on its way to becoming a referenced-leader in the Personal Protective Eq…


PIP Wins Affiliated Distributors 2012 Supplier of the Year for Performance

PIP was recently honored for outstanding achievement in winning the Affiliated Distributors 2012 Supplier of the Year - Performance Award. To be recognized as a top performer in this esteemed group of…

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