There’s a lot of evaluation that goes into creating personal protective equipment that lives up to wearers’ needs and expectations. If you’re investing in cut-resistant gloves, for example, you need to know that the gloves will protect workers from the unique hazards of your job. That’s where ANSI comes in.
The American National Standards Institute coordinates the creation of industry-driven consensus standards that protect workers across numerous trades. These standards ensure workers have the right level of protection on hand, so to speak.
Why not just offer the maximum amount of protection in every glove? Comfort plays a big role in ensuring that workers wear their required protection, so equipment manufacturers aim to balance specific requirements with a comfortable fit. That’s why ANSI/ISEA standard 105-2016 offers nine levels of cut resistance from which to choose.
Understanding Your Cut Level
To earn the label of cut-resistant, ANSI 105 requires that gloves pass ASTM F 1790, a test that measures the amount required to push a blade across a glove cut through for 25 mm. A1 cut level gloves are able to withstand up to 499 grams of cutting force before slicing open—more than enough protection for workers who are handling boxes in a warehouse or performing light material handling tasks. But it would take more than 6,000 grams of pressure to cut through A9 gloves, which will protect the hands of, for instance, metal fabricators who are regularly handling sharp edges and heavy loads.
Other Guides to Know
Wondering what that A means? The A identifies that these cut levels are part of the updated standard released in 2016. The 2016 edition of this standard increased the levels of cut resistance from five to nine.
ANSI isn’t the only cut resistance standard, but it is the standard of note in the United States. However, some U.S.-based companies have referenced the European standard EN388 in the past because it rates beyond cut resistance, incorporating testing for abrasion, puncture and tear. Updates made in ANSI 105-2016 bring the cut levels into closer alignment with EN388, lessening the confusion around which cut level takes precedence. It’s important to look for that A when selecting gloves to ensure you’re meeting today’s standard.
So How Do You Choose?
It’s up to each company to know what OSHA requires in terms of cut protection. But once you know the cut level needed for your job, it’s easy to pinpoint the right product. When you visit the Armor Guys product section, you can search for gloves based on ANSI cut level and rest easy knowing your crew has the protection they need.