ISEA Releases New Glove Standard on Impact Performance

While standards for industrial gloves that protect hands from cuts, punctures, abrasions, and chemical exposure have long existed, ANSI/ISEA 138 is the first standard to address the risk to hands from impact injuries in North America.

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has released a new standard to improve on the impact performance of industrial gloves. The new standard—ANSI/ISEA 138-2019, American National Standard for Performance and Classification for Impact Resistant Hand Protection—builds upon ANSI/ISEA 105-2016, American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification.

ANSI/ISEA 138 will define an agreed test method, include three defined performance levels, specify a pictogram mark for each of the levels to identify compliant gloves, and require products be tested in a lab with a certificate of accreditation meeting the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

While standards for industrial gloves that protect hands from cuts, punctures, abrasions, and chemical exposure have long existed, ANSI/ISEA 138 is the first standard to address the risk to hands from impact injuries in North America. Impact-resistant gloves are commonly used in the automotive, heavy equipment and construction operation, oil/gas, cargo handling, and towing/transportation industries.

"ANSI/ISEA 138 provides much-needed guidance to employers in the proper selection and use of gloves to reduce hand injuries," said Jill Clements, Aramids Account Manager, Cut & Thermal Protection, Safety & Construction at DowDuPont Specialty Products Division and chair of the ISEA Hand Protection Group. “While ISEA members have been leaders in developing products to reduce hand injuries, and continue to create products to protect workers' hands from impacts, cuts and abrasions, we needed a standardized method for the industry to evaluate a baseline level of protection for back-of-the-hand exposures."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 286,150 nonfatal occupational injuries to upper extremities in 2017 involving days away from work in private industry, 121,860 involved hands. According to OSHA, 70.9 percent of hand and arm injuries could have been prevented with the use of personal protective equipment, particularly safety gloves.

"ISEA members recognize that the decision-making process can be challenging, given the numerous glove designs currently available," said Chris Meadows, Technical Sales Manager of D3O and chair of ISEA's impact-glove working group. "We believe the standard will enable safety professionals to make better-informed decisions about glove selection, ultimately reducing the number of injuries to a worker's important asset—the hand."

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