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ANSI/ISEA 105-2016: Hand Protection Classification

“As a manufacturer that focuses on cut resistant gloves, the 2016 standard helped close the gaps between cut levels, particularly the A4 and A5 ranges.  The addition of four more cut levels helped us to develop products specific to end-user needs that had not been previously met.”

Armor Guys, 310-504-1380,

Hand injuries are not only more common than other types of workplace injuries; on average, they require a longer average recovery time than all other injury types combined. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics[1], there were 102,350 occupational hand injuries across all injuries that resulted in days away from work in 2021. Manufacturing accounted for 36,660 of those, followed by 3,300 in natural resources and mining, and 2,790 in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.

About the Standard

The tremendous number of hazard-specific work gloves available today can make selection challenging. Technological developments have produced high-performance materials and composite yarns that – together with improved manufacturing processes – create ultra-tough, highly specialized hand protection. ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 is a voluntary global standard that manufacturers can use as a basis for testing and classifying their products. Those classifications, in turn, enable managers to sort through the options and choose the gloves best suited to the applications, environments and hazards to which their workforce will be exposed. Note: hand protection covered under this standard includes gloves, mittens, partial gloves or other items covering the hand (or a portion of the hand) that are intended to provide protection against, or resistance to, a specific hazard.

The standard addresses the classification and testing of hand protection for specific performance properties. Gloves are classified to a performance level ranging from 0 to 6 based upon their performance when evaluated against defined industry test methods for:

  • Mechanical protection (cut-resistance, puncture resistance and abrasion resistance).
  • Chemical protection (permeation resistance, degradation)
  • Other performance characteristics such as ignition resistance and vibration reductions

A revised version of this standard was issued in 2016. One of the major changes: an expanded 9-Level Classification for cut-resistance, including the use of a single test method for testing in an effort to provide consistent meaning of the ratings from the end-user perspective (and to embrace the approach used in international standards). ANSI also increased the range of cut resistant protection levels. Other updates include the incorporation of a needlestick puncture test, recognizing that this is a common potential exposure for the medical, sanitation and recycling industries.

Testing Protocols

  • Cut resistance to glass, knives, sheet metal, bladed tools and other sharp objects is tested using the ASTM F2992-15 test method and TDM (Tomodynamometer) cut test machine. A straight-edge blade is run over the material used in protective clothing until it cuts through. Multiple iterations are performed, using new blades and different loads. The resulting resistance ratings range from A1 (very minor cuts) to A9 (highest cut danger).
  • Abrasion resistance is tested using the Taber Abrasion equipment following the ASTM D3389-10 and D3884-09 test methods.
  • Puncture resistance tests material with a hypodermic needle under pressure, following the ASTM F2878 test method.
  • Chemical protection testing is in accordance with the ASTM F 739 method, in which a piece of the exterior side of glove material is exposed for a period of time to a certain chemical, and the interior side is examined at intervals to determine if the material has been permeated.
  • Flame resistance testing is performed per the methodology provided in ASTM F1358-16.
  • Heat resistance is tested in accordance with ISO 17493:2016.
  • Conductive heat resistance of cut resistant gloves are tested per ASTM 1060-08.
  • Vibration reduction testing is done according to ANSI S2.73-2002 / ISO 10819:2013 and results in only pass or fail classifications.

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