Chainmail mesh PPE has emerged as a popular choice for providing protection against cuts, punctures, and other hazards. With its interlinked metal rings, mesh PPE creates a flexible barrier that protects users without compromising mobility. But, like any other piece of PPE, chainmail mesh can deteriorate over time due to regular use and exposure to various elements. In this article, we will discuss how to recognize wear and tear on chainmail mesh PPE to ensure its effectiveness and the safety of workers.

Why is it Important to Use Safety Gloves?

Safety gloves are an essential form of PPE that cannot be overlooked in certain industries, especially when working with potential hazards or sharp objects. While various types of safety gloves exist, they often fall short compared to the protective capacity of chainmail mesh PPE.

One key reason why other safety gloves may not provide adequate protection is their material composition. Many gloves are made from fabrics such as cotton or leather, which lack the durability to withstand more significant hazards. Chainmail mesh typically constructed from interlinked metal rings, providing superior resistance to cuts, punctures, and lacerations.

Another factor that sets chainmail mesh PPE apart is its level of coverage. Other gloves often leave vulnerable areas exposed to potential injury. Chainmail mesh gloves provide full-hand and often extended wrist coverage. This ensures that a wider range of potential hazards are effectively mitigated.

One of the primary hazards encountered in manufacturing plants is the risk of cuts and lacerations. Workers often handle sharp tools, machine parts, or materials with jagged edges that can cause hand injuries. By wearing safety gloves made of chainmail mesh, the chances of cuts are significantly decreased as the metal rings interlock to form a barrier.

Each year, an estimated 1 million workers need emergency medical care due to a severe hand injury, according to BLS statistics cited by Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

The U.S. Department of Labor found that 23 percent of all work-related injuries involved injuries to the hands or fingers, making hand injuries the most preventable injury.

Ensuring Proper Functionality 

Regular inspection is crucial for maintaining the effectiveness of chainmail mesh. This type of PPE is designed to protect workers from cuts and punctures, but they become damaged or compromised over time. Regular inspections are essential to identify any potential issues with the chainmail mesh, such as worn-out links, loose connections, or areas of damage.

Inspecting the chainmail mesh for breaks or holes should be done before every use and after significant impact or exposure to sharp objects. If any damage is detected, repair or replace the affected areas immediately.

To ensure proper functionality for your mesh PPE, consider these steps:

  •  Inspection: Before using, inspect to check for any damages, such as tears, cuts, or loose rings. If any damage is found, replace the affected area or the entire PPE to maintain its effectiveness.
  • Cleaning: Clean the chainmail mesh PPE regularly to remove any dirt, debris, or contaminants that may accumulate during use. Use mild detergent and warm water to gently scrub the surface, ensuring that all areas, including the rings and joints, are properly cleaned. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow the PPE to air dry.
  • Maintenance: Regularly check the rings and joints for tightness and secure any loose connections. Additionally, lubricate the joints with an appropriate lubricant to ensure smooth motion and prevent rust or corrosion.
  • Storage: Properly store the chainmail mesh PPE to prevent damage and maintain its effectiveness. Hang or lay the PPE flat to prevent any bending or stress on the rings. Avoid storing the PPE in damp or humid conditions, as this can promote rust and reduce its lifespan.
  •  Inspection before each use: Prior to each use, inspect the chainmail mesh PPE to ensure it is in good condition. Check for any new damages or issues that may have arisen since the last inspection. If any concerns are identified, replace or repair the PPE before using it.

The Risks of Damage to Chainmail Mesh 

Despite its durability and effectiveness, chainmail mesh is not immune to damage. Recognizing the various forms of damage that chainmail mesh can incur is crucial for effective inspection and maintenance.


Corrosion can have significant effects on chainmail mesh performance and lifespan. When the chainmail mesh is exposed to moisture, oxygen, and electrolytes, corrosion can occur, weakening and degrading the metal links. This compromises the protective properties of the mesh, reducing its ability to resist cuts, punctures, and other hazards.

The effects of corrosion on chainmail mesh PPE can extend beyond its structural integrity. Rust and corrosion products can cause stains, discoloration, and an unpleasant odor, making the PPE unsuitable for use. Additionally, the presence of corrosion products can introduce contaminants to the surrounding environment, potentially affecting hygiene and safety.

Breaks or Holes

Chainmail mesh PPE can experience different types of breaks or holes, each with its own causes, consequences, and suitable methods for addressing them effectively.

One type of break that can occur is a link break. This happens when individual links in the chainmail mesh become disconnected or separated, compromising the overall integrity of the PPE. Link breaks can be caused by excessive force, wear and tear, or poor maintenance. The consequences of link breaks can be severe, as they create gaps in the protective coverage, leaving vulnerable areas exposed to potential risks. Addressing link breaks involves carefully inspecting the entire mesh for damaged links and replacing them with new ones, ensuring the chainmail remains intact and functional.

Another type of break is a weld break, which occurs when the weld holding the links together fails. These breaks can be caused by improper welding techniques, stress on the weld joints, or material defects. The consequences of weld breaks are similar to link breaks, as they compromise the protection offered by the PPE. To address weld breaks, the failed welds must be identified and repaired by a skilled welder.

Holes are another common issue with chainmail mesh PPE. They can be caused by punctures from sharp objects, abrasion from friction, or corrosion from exposure to moisture or chemicals. The consequences of holes range from reducing the effectiveness of the PPE to providing openings for potential injury or contamination. Repairing holes involves identifying their location and size, and then either welding the hole shut or replacing the damaged links with new ones.

Read below on how to visually inspect your chainmail PPE for wear and tear. 

Step-by-Step Guide on Inspecting Chainmail Mesh PPE for Wear and Tear 

  • Step 1: Begin by visually inspecting the chainmail mesh PPE for any signs of wear and tear. Hold the equipment up against a well-lit background to easily identify any areas that may be damaged or deteriorated.
  • Step 2: Pay close attention to specific areas of the chainmail mesh that are more prone to damage. These areas include the edges, where the rings are connected, and any areas that have come into contact with sharp objects or excessive strain.
  • Step 3: Carefully examine the mesh for any signs of fraying, broken rings, or gaps in the weave. These can significantly compromise the effectiveness of the PPE and put the wearer at risk.
  • Step 4: Check for any signs of discoloration, such as rust or corrosion, as this indicates that the chainmail mesh is deteriorating and may need to be replaced.

When assessing whether to repair or replace PPE, it is essential to evaluate the extent of the damage, taking into account the potential risks associated with using compromised equipment.

Final Thoughts  

In the manufacturing industry, chainmail mesh PPE stands out for its effective protection against cuts, punctures, and other dangers. With any PPE, wear and tear is inevitable.  Recognizing and addressing deterioration in chainmail mesh PPE helps maintain its effectiveness and ensure worker safety. It’s up to your team to perform regular inspections for wear, tear, and damage. Inspecting and maintaining mesh PPE will extend its lifespan and prevent additional replacement costs. By prioritizing the condition of chainmail mesh PPE, you reinforce the safety and well-being of your workers, ensuring they are shielded from workplace injuries. 

If your team’s mesh PPE needs repair, let’s talk about restoration. We extend the life of your PPE, allowing you to spend less on replacements. Don’t compromise employee safety or your budget – contact us today.