Glove Selection: Using ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification
Hand protection is a necessary precaution to reduce the risk of a work related injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to select and require their employees to use appropriate hand protection when there are potential workplace exposures to hazards such as skin absorption of harmful substances; severe cuts or lacerations; severe abrasions; punctures; chemical or thermal burns; and harmful temperatures [29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.138(a)]. OSHA also mandates that the selection must be based on an evaluation of performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the task(s) being performed [29 CFR 1910.138(b)].
The OSHA standard does not reference any standard that provides design or performance characteristics for hand protection. However, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I Appendix B urges employers to know the performance characteristics of the gloves that are being considered by obtaining documentation from the supplier showing that the gloves meet “appropriate test standards for the hazards anticipated.”
The American National Standards Institute / International Safety Equipment Association (ANSI/ISEA) 105-2016 American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification is the latest revision of a voluntary consensus standard first published in 1999, and revised in 2005 and 2011. This standard addresses the classification and testing of hand protection for specific performance properties related to chemical and industrial applications. It provides, or refers to, appropriate test methods and provides pass/fail criteria used by manufacturers to classify their products. End users can use this information to review the documentation received from their supplier to help verify the gloves they are considering meet their needs.
When reviewing and selecting cut-resistant gloves, employers must take into account grip, as well as abrasion, cut and puncture resistance. And any other hand hazards that may be present.
Cut resistance is a function of a glove’s material composition and thickness.
Performance characteristics are not only affected by a material’s weight, but also by the coatings applied to the outside surface. Lighter weight styles are typically more flexible, resulting in less hand fatigue, while their heavier counterparts generally provide more cut and abrasion protection. Coated gloves enhance grip, especially on slippery surfaces.
When tested in accordance with ASTM F2992-15, the glove’s cut resistance is classified as shown below:
Weight (grams) needed to cut through material with 20 millimeters of blade travel
Cut-resistance testing measures how well the glove will resist cutting by a sharp edge. Heavier weight indicates greater cut resistance.
Puncture Resistance (Blunt Probe)
When tested in accordance with the European Standard EN 388.2016, the glove’s resistance against puncture from a blunt probe is expressed as a Newton value. This is the force of the blade needed to cut through the glove material:
Puncture resistance testing measures how the glove will resist puncture by a blunt pointed object. Higher puncture forces indicate a greater puncture resistance.
Hypodermic Needle Puncture Resistance
When tested in accordance with ASTM F2878-10, the glove’s resistance against punctures from a hypodermic needle is classified as shown below, using the puncture force of a 25-gauge hypodermic needle:
Puncture-resistance testing measures how well the glove resists puncture by a sharp-edged needle. Higher puncture forces indicate a greater puncture resistance.
When tested in accordance with ASTM D3389-10 or ASTM D3884-09, the glove’s abrasion resistance is classified according to the following levels, using the number of abrasion cycles to failure:
Level (tested at 500-gram load)
Abrasion Cycles to Fail
Level (tested at 1,000-gram load)
ASTM D3389-10 is used for coated gloves and the end point (failure) is the number of abrasion cycles when the film or coating is worn through. ASTM D3884-09 is used for uncoated gloves and the end point is the number of abrasion cycles when the first threat or yarn is broken.
Abrasion resistance testing measures how well the glove resists loss of material from rubbing on rough surfaces. Larger numbers of cycles indicate greater abrasion resistance.
When tested in accordance with ASTM F739-12, the glove’s chemical permeation is classified according to the levels shown below, using the average standard breakthrough time (for each chemical tested):
Standard Breakthrough Time (minutes)
Permeation resistance testing measures the rate at which chemicals pass through the material on a molecular level. Longer times indicate better chemical permeation resistance.
When tested in accordance with ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 Appendix B Test Method for Chemical Degradation Resistance, the chemical degradation is classified according to the levels outlined below:
Degradation resistance testing measures the effects of a chemical on a glove. In this test, the measured effect is the loss of puncture resistance. Lower percentage changes in puncture resistance indicate gloves with greater chemical degradation. The percentage change is applicable for positive and negative change. For example, if the percentage is +30% or -30%, the reported level is Level 3.
Heat and Flame Protection
When tested in accordance with ASTM F 1358-08, the glove’s ignition resistance and burning behavior is classified according to the levels listed below. In order to be classified at a specific level, the glove material must meet each of the criteria at that specific level.
Time Exposed to Flame (seconds)
After-Flame Time (seconds)
|4||No ignition in either 3- or 12-second exposure period|
Ignition resistance and burning behavior testing measures how easily a glove will ignite, and if ignited, how readily it will continue to burn once the flame is removed. Materials that show no ignition or longer ignition times and short after-burn times are considered to perform better.
Heat Degradation Resistance
When tested in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization ISO 17493:2000, the glove’s heat degradation resistance is classified according to the levels listed below:
Highest temperature (°C) where no charring, ignition, melting, dripping, separation or shrinkage in excess of 5% is observed
Heat degradation testing determines the exposure temperature at which a glove will show no significant heat degradation. The higher the reported temperatures, the greater the heat degradation resistance.
Conductive Heat Resistance
When tested in accordance with ASTM F1060-08, the glove’s conductive heat resistance is classified according to the levels listed below:
Highest contact temperature (°C) at which both time-to-second degree burn is greater than or equal to 15 seconds and alarm time is greater than or equal to four seconds
The alarm time is the difference between the measure time-to-second degree burn and the time-to-pain.
Conductive heat resistance testing measures the insulation provided by the glove when exposed to and in contact with a hot surface. Higher temperatures indicate gloves with greater insulation.
When tested in accordance with ANSI S2.73-2002 (R2007), a glove’s vibration reduction is classified as pass/fail. A glove must pass both of the following criteria: TRM 1.0 and TRH 0.6. TRM is the overall transmissibility of vibration using a spectrum called “M” [31.5 Hertz (Hz) - 200 Hz], and TRH is the overall transmissibility when using a spectrum called “H” [200 Hz - 1 kHz]. In accordance with ANSI/ISEA 105- 2016, only full-fingered gloves are to be classified as “anti-vibration.”
When tested in accordance with clause 6.2 of EN 420:2009, the dexterity of a glove is classified according to the levels shown below, using the smallest diameter of the pin that can be picked up:
Smallest Diameter of Pin (millimeters)
Gloves are often relied upon to help prevent cuts, abrasions, punctures, burns and skin contact with chemicals. It is important to know the performance characteristics of gloves relative to the anticipated hazards. Before purchasing gloves, employers should request documentation from the supplier showing that the gloves being considered have been tested in accordance with the appropriate test standards for the anticipated hazards. It is vital that employers are aware of the different test methods in order to interpret the supplied documentation, draw accurate conclusions and select the best gloves for the tasks at hand.
Typically, the ideal length of a glove can vary depending upon the task being performed and the protection required. To determine the ideal length, use a soft flexible tape measure and measure the length of your arm from the tip of the middle finger back.
29 CFR 1910.138
29 CFR 1910 Subpart I Appendix B
ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 - American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification
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The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This publication is not a substitute for review of the current applicable government regulations and standards specific to your location and business activity, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.
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