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Updates on Safety Equipment PPE Certification Activity

Safety Equipment Institute President Patricia A. GleasonThe Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) Board of Directors approves each program product category prior to initiation of a new certification program. This approval includes a review of the product performance standard as well as the testing laboratory under contract to conduct the testing for SEI. The SEI board members are responsible for setting SEI policy, and appropriately represent the interests of PPE stakeholders, including organized labor, construction, and general industry users; the fire service; the insurance industry; and PPE manufacturers.


At its most recent meeting, the SEI Board voted unanimously to approve the new ANSI/ISEA Z89.1, American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, 2009 edition, recently published by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA). Some of the major changes to this standard are the addition of optional test protocols for testing hard hats with a reverse headband where the peak of the helmet is worn toward the back of the head, lower temperature conditioning, and high visibility. Manufacturers have already begun submitting their helmets to be tested and certified to the new standard.


SEI initiated testing at Intertek in its new fall protection test facility designed to support the SEI fall protection equipment certification program. Intertek has expanded its laboratory space by an additional 3,500 square feet to accommodate the new test facility, with a drop tower being constructed solely for the SEI certification program, giving the laboratory full capabilities to test to all requirements.

The standard being used for testing by Intertek, ANSI/ASSE Z359.1 - Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems and Components, contains product design criteria and test procedures for fall arrest components, subsystems, and systems for users within the capacity range of 130 to 310 pounds. The standard includes requirements for full-body harnesses, lanyards, energy absorbers, anchorage connectors, fall arresters, vertical lifelines, and self-retracting lanyards, which encompass personal fall arrest systems.

NFPA 1994

SEI recently issued new certifications for chemical biological terrorism ensembles that were tested to performance criteria in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard, NFPA 1994: Standard on Protective Ensembles for First Responders to CBRN Terrorism Incidents, 2007 Edition. In particular, SEI has issued certifications for NFPA 1994 Class 3 Ensembles. These Class 3 chemical/biological terrorism incident protective ensemble ensembles are designed to protect fire and emergency services personnel at chemical/biological terrorism incidents where it is necessary to provide sufficient liquid protection for the intended operation, where direct contact of liquid droplets is possible, and where victims are impaired but ambulatory.


SEI has certified a new respiratory protective smoke hood escape device, the iEvac™ Fire Escape, manufactured by Elmridge Protection Products. Testing was conducted in accordance with the standard, ANSI/ISEA 110-2003, American National Standard for Air-Purifying Respiratory Protective Smoke Escape Devices.

The ANSI/ISEA 110 standard establishes requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of air purifying respiratory protective smoke devices for the immediate emergency evacuation without entry/reentry of adult civilians.

The purpose of the standard is to provide minimum requirements for respiratory protective escape devices that provide limited protection for adult civilian escape from the byproducts of fire, including particulate matter, carbon monoxide, other toxic gases, and the effects of radiant heat.

Performance testing in ANSI/ISEA 110 includes requirements for carbon dioxide inhalation, donning time, resistance to breathing, filtration of particulates, inward leakage testing, light transmission, field of vision, water leakage, gas breakthrough, inhalation air temperature, breathing resistance to soot particulates, heat and flame resistance, resistance to molten polymeric drips, resistance to radiant heat, and corrosion resistance.

NIJ 0116.00

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is in the final stages of a 17-month intensive effort to develop a standard for law enforcement protective clothing for protection against Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear hazards. This performance standard, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) CBRN Protective Ensemble Standard for Law Enforcement, NIJ 0116.00, will be published with a companion certification requirements document and selection and application guide this summer.

As part of its agreement with NFPA, the NIJ was able to eliminate years of research by utilizing portions of existing NFPA standards, particularly NFPA 1994. SEI has been participating in this effort, and the SEI board has been kept apprised of its progress.

NIJ 0116.00 is the cornerstone in the NIJ CBRN protective ensemble program and was established to ensure that law enforcement officers responding to criminal incidents involving the potential for CBRN hazards had appropriate PPE for their unique requirements. Law enforcement officers responding to such incidents must have an ensemble that has been designed including the need for stealth, increased durability, dexterity, the ability to use weapons, and the ability to mitigate human threats.

The NIJ CBRN Protective Ensemble Certification Program Requirements document establishes criteria for accreditation requirements for third-party certification bodies, including testing laboratories and inspection bodies used in the certification process, to (1) ensure consistent application of certification requirements, (2) establish uniformity in the certification body accreditation process, and (3) provide fully transparent criteria for the operation of certification programs and accreditation of product certification bodies.

The NIJ Selection and Application Guide to CBRN Protective Ensembles provides procurement, selection, care, maintenance, training, and administrative guidance related to CBRN protective ensembles (hereinafter, ensembles). The primary audience for this guide includes law enforcement officers, administrators, managers, and purchasing agents. This guide explains in non-technical language how to procure and select equipment that provides the appropriate level of performance required by a law enforcement agency.

SEI Web Site

SEI has recently completed the first phase in an upgrade of its Web site located at www.SEInet.org. SEI Technical Director Bill Fithian is leading the project on behalf of SEI to incorporate new tools and navigation improvements, making it more convenient to find information. The site has also been designed to make new upgrades to the site much easier.

The major focus of the SEI Web site continues to be the online Certified Products List, which can be easily accessed by the safety community. Users may search under product categories or a specific manufacturer to find certified products for their needs. Specific model names and numbers are provided along with links to manufacturers' Web sites.

Trade Show Participation

SEI plans to exhibit this April at the Fire Department Instructor's Conference in Indianapolis, as well as the Health & Safety Canada Conference in Toronto. SEI staff will be on hand to distribute information about certified products and answer questions posed by users and purchasers of certified PPE.

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