Even with increased attention given to safety standards and best practices in the workplace, hand-related accidents still lead statistical categories for workplace accidents year after year. Many of these accidents occur because workers may not select the best work glove for a particular task.
ANSI and ISEA Efforts
The American National Safety Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) have both sought to improve the information workers receive about hand safety and enhance standards for testing glove performance. The ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 national hand protection standard provides clearer instructions for workers and offers new classifications for resistance to cuts, punctures, and abrasion while retaining measures for chemical degradation and permeation, vibration reduction, and heat and flame protection.
Better Information for Selecting the Right Glove
By increasing the number of classification levels for cut resistance from five to nine, ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 takes a more consistent approach to glove performance. The old four-level range that covered a broad scale of 1500 to 3499 grams now divides into A4, A5, or A6 segments that describe specific cut-resistance levels. While A4 represents medium cut hazards and a gram load range of 1500 to 2199 to cut, A5 represents medium and high cut hazards with a range of 2200 to 2999 grams to cut. The A6 range represents gloves that would take 3000 to 3999 grams to cut.
These changes offer four key benefits. The increased level of detail helps workers and consumers select the gloves that will offer them the best cut protection for a specific hazard. The additional metrics also establish greater accuracy for manufacturer testing. Moreover, performance testing now matches new technologies used for producing gloves, and the new hand protection standards align with existing international standards.
Standardized Approaches for Testing
ANSI/ISEA also standardized the use of ISO 13997 tomodynamometer (TDM) machines for testing. This standardized approach eases the burden on workers and manufacturers when interpreting test results and provides organization for cut level classification. ISO 13997 testing uses a straight blade drawn across a sample in one movement. With a new blade used for each cut, the machine records the stroke length before cut-through occurs; then, the TDM machine uses data to predict the amount of force in Newtons needed to cut through a glove in 20 mm of travel. This force translates to a score from A to F, with F representing the highest rating.
Improved Puncture Test Classifications
As well as additional cut levels, the ANSI/ISEA standard classifies puncture resistance differently, adding a needle stick puncture test and improving test classifications. These new standards establish a framework for better puncture protection for gloves used in the healthcare, sanitation, and recycling industries. The test uses an extremely thin and sharp 25 gauge needle to measure the force necessary to puncture a sample cut from a glove palm. Five classification levels rate the puncture performance of the gloves.
A Practical View
At Armor Guys, we test our Kyorene line for resistance to abrasions, cuts, tears, and punctures, and we have developed cut-resistant gloves that comply with the ANSI A1 to A7 cut resistance classifications; Kyorene gloves also undergo cut TDM tests. Adhering to international standards for performance testing enables us to ensure that our customers purchase only the safest and highest quality gloves, and that those gloves are abrasion- and puncture-resistant in addition to cut-resistant.