Cuts, Impact Focus of Emerging Standard for Hand Protection

An Oct. 23 Learning Lab session at #NSCExpo looked toward the future of hand protection, with a new emerging standard focused on cut and impact for the back of the hand.

HOUSTON -- In an Oct. 23 morning Learning Lab session on the #NSCExpo floor, personal protective equipment experts from the International Safety Equipment Association discussed the latest innovations in hand protection, particularly on the dorsal side of the hand. Speakers Paul Harris, VP of Product Strategy and Innovations at MCR Safety, and Rodney Taylor, Global Sales & Marketing Manager of Industrial PPE at D3O, gave an overview of hand protection standards and classification and discussed the emerging ANSI/ISEA 138 standard.

Harris gave an overview of the cut protection standards and testing methods previous to the 2016 standard, highlighting the confusion caused by older cut test methods and the different cut score systems used by ANSI and CE.

He emphasized the need now for analysis and testing of hand protection that more closely replicated real world application. "Keep in mind that the standard is done in a laboratory test setting…. I can't think of a single application in the real world that resembles that setting," Harris said.

He also stressed that the fibers and materials developed for cut protection should still provide workers with dexterity to perform their job functions. "A worker typically doesn't want to wear a glove if they can't bend their hand in it," Harris said.

Hand injuries are a significant safety issue, Taylor said, ranking second overall in terms of where injuries occur on the body and making up almost 40 percent of lost-time incidents. Almost half (46 percent) of all industry recordable incidents are to the hands, fingers, and wrists, he said, citing the International Association of Drilling Contractors and the National Safety Council.

There are many gloves on the market that provide dorsal impact protection, but it's difficult to make a straightforward performance comparison without a standard, Taylor said. There are no standards in place for dorsal impact protection in North America, and the European standard EN388 tests only knuckles, not fingers.

These are some of the problems addressed by the emerging ANSI/ISEA 138 standard, Taylor said. The standard, which is not yet published, includes testing on fingers and knuckles, with the lowest-performing area dictating the overall score for the glove.

ANSI/ISEA 138 would require testing by an independent ISO 17025 lab using a test method that aims to capture the impact scenario accurately and analytically. Gloves also would be required to display their impact resistance performance level with a permanent and legible pictogram.

ANSI/ISEA 138 tests only the back of the glove and does not include impact resistance testing for the palm.

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