New Improvements in ISEA/ANSI 105 Glove Labeling Make Hand Protection Simpler for Construction Safety
By Donald F Groce, Contributor
Proposed changes in the American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 are expected to be adopted in the very near future by the International Safety Equipment Association. These changes have resulted in an even better tool for providing safer hand protection for those of us who face hand injury hazards daily in the construction industry.
Those of us who work in the industry know that historically, hand protection needs do not decline during undesirable economic times. Workers must be protected every day from every hazard that could cause life-altering injuries. Many injuries could permanently redefine our ability to perform the tasks required by our livelihood. Even when the economy causes jobs to slow and the cost of construction materials to skyrocket and be in short supply, we all need the full range of hand protection from mechanical, physical, and chemical hazards. Dexterity is not considered a hazard but is a major factor in hand protection safety. Sometimes a task is even more hazardous when using poorly fitted hand protection. Workers take off their gloves to perform a fine motor task and get injured when hands are unprotected.
New Labeling ICON: The new labeling icon includes a “home plate” pentagon shape with the ANSI/ISEA 105 Performance Classification Levels on each side of the icon. The Cut Resistance Performance Classification (Level A1 to A9) is along the top line. The Abrasion Resistance Performance Classification (Level 0 to 6) is on the left side of the pentagon. The Puncture Resistance Performance Classification (Level 0 to 5) is on the right side of the icon. The example below shows a Global Glove stamp that performed at ANSI/ISEA 105 Cut Level A9, Abrasion Level 3, and Puncture Level 4.
You can tell at a glance the performance level for three of the main determining qualifiers for glove selection for Construction Safety.
Great News for The Construction Industry
New advancements in cut-resistant fiber technology have resulted in more cut-resistant gloves than any other point in history. Cut-Resistant gloves remain the fastest growing category of gloves and have been for a number of years.
Cut Protection: New developments in fiber engineering technology have brought new even higher cut levels than ever seen before. Some cut levels have measured far above the more recent ANSI 105-2016 American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification which includes an expanded ANSI Cut Level Rating system. Now there are ANSI/ISEA 105 Cut Levels of A1 to A9, with the highest Cut Level A9 being any material that cuts through with a weight of > 6000 grams. We have tested new gloves that are very supple and wearable that measure almost twice the requirements to be classified as Cut Level A9, with almost 12,000 grams of cut resistance.
|Classification for Cut Resistance|
|Level||Weight (grams) needed to cut through material with 20 mm of blade travel|
Price Considerations: As you may expect, you pay more for more protection. The higher cut level performance gloves are generally more expensive. Most new developments have been very costly to engineer. But, what is your hand safety and the long-term use of your hands worth? You cannot put a price tag on injury prevention. Your hands affect every area of your life and wellbeing.
Types of Cut-Resistant Gloves
Aramids: Many cut-resistant gloves are made from Aramid (aromatic polyamide) fibers that may have brand names DuPont™ Kevlar®, Bulwark® Nomex®, Teijin Aramid BV Twaron®, or Global Glove Aralene®. Aramid fibers were some of the first developed fibers with many other safety applications including body armor, hard hats, and gloves. Aramid fibers are also flame resistant. They can be made in different gauges, usually 7, 10, 13, 15, and even 18 gauge and can be strengthened by special treatment with ceramics or by twisting with stainless steel, glass fiber, etc.
UHMWPE/HPPE: High Performance Polyethylene (HPPE) fibers or UHMWPE Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene are specially engineered by extruding polyethylene into fibers and twisting the fibers under high temperature and pressure. The resulting gloves are very abrasion and cut resistant. These fibers are not flame resistant. Like Aramid fibers, they can made in different gauges, usually 7, 10, 13, 15, 18, and even 21 gauge and can also be strengthened by special treatment with ceramics or by twisting with stainless steel, glass fiber, etc. Some of the brand names include DSM® Dyneema® or Global Glove Tuffalene®.
Dexterity: All glove manufacturers are continually improving their product offerings and searching for better protection for the industries and workers they are serving. To make a cut-resistant glove normally requires more material thickness to gain a higher cut level. However, recent developments and advancements have resulted in even thinner gauge cut-resistant yarns that are extremely cut resistant and even higher than ever before. The goal has always been to provide more comfort, dexterity, and bare-hand sensitivity for workers. The desired result is they will always wear their gloves to complete even tasks that require maximum motor dexterity and fine touch sensitivity. So, in construction jobs, it will be easier to convince workers to keep their gloves on and minimize the risks of hand injury.
Abrasion Resistance: Abrasion resistance performance for the ANSI/ISEA 105 standard is measured using a Taber® rotary platform abrader. The exact same type of abrasion testing equipment is used throughout the textile industry to measure how long carpet and flooring will wear as a quality assurance measure.
A weighted load of either 500 grams or 1000 grams is applied to the special pumice H-18 abrasive wheels which turn the designated number of cycles on the surface of the glove material. The end-point of the test is when the sample has a hole all the way through the coating and the liner. The levels are:
|Classification of Abrasion Resistance|
|Level (500 gram load)||Abrasion cycles to fail|
|Level (1000 gram load)||Abrasion cycles to fail|
Impact Protection: Impact protection is needed in many different construction jobs as well as occupations such as mining, automotive mechanic work, or assembly. Many impact injuries to the dorsal or top of the hand can be reduced with the addition of impact pads to the gloves. Common materials for impact protection include TPR, TPU, and Silicone, though new material pads are and will continue to be developed to maximize protection, comfort, and dexterity. Many manufacturers will use impact test data from either ANSI/ISEA 138 or EN 13574 standard test methods to categorize impact protection. The impact protection ratings for ANSI/ISEA 138 are assigned based upon the amount or percent of impact force absorbed by the impact material. The greater the percentage absorbed, the less impact on the hand. Now that the standard is published with the ratings, manufacturers will search for the best impact materials that absorb the most impact force.
Puncture Resistance Classification: Puncture Resistance for the ANSI/ISEA 105 Performance Classification is based on EN 388:2003 for a nail-like probe. There are five performance levels based on the force (Newtons) to puncture. The results are determined from an average of 12 punctures.
|Classification for Puncture Resistance|
|Level||Puncture Force (Newtons)|
The highest rating for this type of puncture are found in gloves made from combinations of Alycore®, leather, in coated Tuffalene® UHMWPE gloves, and in coated Aramid gloves. We feel that it is important to know the puncture resistance level for both the coated palm and the uncoated backs of many gloves differ. Sometimes the difference is pretty dramatic. The glove palm is generally the most likely area to need protection from punctures. However, the uncoated portions of the glove can also be punctured and result in an injury.
Chemical Resistance: Chemical Resistant Gloves have not seen many breakthrough products introduced in recent years. The main new gloves that offer protection from mixtures of chemicals include PVA/Nitrile gloves and TPE disposable gloves.
Multi-Hazard Environment: The future safety marketplace will always see an increase in multi-hazard gloves that protect from more than just one hazard. The reality is that there is never just one hazard. Combining the strengths of protection from mechanical, physical, and chemical risks will fit many of the new jobs of the future.
The new ANSI/ISEA 105 labeling icon from the upcoming edition of the ANSI/ISEA 105 American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification will provide an easy-to-use tool for assessing the proper glove for the hazard at hand. With a little knowledge of what the levels mean, employers in the construction industry can use the icon as an excellent tool in making decisions that will keep hands safer and also utilize better stewardship of financial resources. The new home plate design icon will help you hit a “homerun in hand protection.” Protecting workers hands are what we are all about!
The ANSI/ISEA 105 American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification labeling icon design is not required by law, unlike CE Requirements in Europe. We do, however, feel that the practice of ANSI/ISEA labeling is very popular and that the new icon labeling design will catch on. Some companies have already started redesigning their labels to conform to the new labeling requirements. CS
Donald F. Groce of Global Glove and Safety Manufacturing (www.globalglove.com) is an Analytical Chemist and longtime expert in protection of workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals and issues related to hand protection. He has published more than 50 articles related to exposure to hazardous chemicals, cut hazards, proposition 65 compliance, occupational allergies, and technical standards.
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