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New ANSI Cut Levels Created to Protect Workers

Julie Copeland

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Cut resistance can be a confusing topic, especially since there have been different standardsANSI_Cut_Level_graphic.jpg and measures to determine protection.

With noted differences between American and European standards, finding the right glove for the right situation can present a challenge based on different testing and results. However, there are new changes that will affect buying and safety decisions.

As reported by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and several industry sources, the standards as outlined for Hand Protection Selection Criteria have changed. Additionally, changes have been proposed to the EN 388 European regulatory standard for protective gloves (CE). The idea behind these changes is to help employers and more specifically, Safety Managers, choose the proper hand protection that will keep workers safer.

So what does this mean for those who purchase safety gloves? The two standards for testing and classifying cut resistance of personal protective equipment (PPE) were always different because of the machines in which they were tested… and the results of those tests. The new changes account for more consistent testing between ANSI/ISEA and European safety standards, in addition to higher and more accurate ratings. Recent advances in materials used to manufacture PPE have impacted the need for change.

An important method has been suggested for establishing cut level in the United States called ASTM F2992-15. There’s also expanded classification levels than in the past. The new 9-level scale, which is expressed as A1-A9, covers 0 – 6,000 grams and higher of cut resistance. Levels are more specific than the former guide. For example: the old cut level 4 which ranged from 1500 grams to 3500 grams of cut resistance is now covered under three separate levels, which will help PPE buyers more closely identify cut resistance to a specific need.

ANSI_old_and_new.jpgManufacturers are expected to begin the process of transitioning from ANSI/ISEA 105-11 standard to the revised ANSI/ISEA 105-16 standard that is now in effect. We anticipate there will be a mix of identifications of cut resistance in the marketplace for some time because of long lead times and inventory in the pipeline.

These changes may sound confusing at first. The good news is that these changes and improvements are being made to better standardize testing between ANSI/ISEA, ISO and EN 388, which will help safety managers around the world better protect people in the workplace.

In addition to these changes, ANSI/ISEA 105 and EN 388 have recognized a need to address the standard for hypodermic needle puncture resistance. The ANSI/ISEA 105 standard has been updated to include a Standard Test Method for Protective Clothing Material Resistance to Hypodermic Needle Puncture. The new standard recognizes that needlesticks are common potential exposure for industries such as medical, sanitation and recycling.

The ASTM F2878-10 test method uses a 25 gauge needle to determine the force for a hypodermic needle to penetrate protective clothing or material. The puncture probe (25 gauge needle) travels at a 90° angle into a specimen at a velocity of 500mm/min. See the scale below.

Needlestick.jpgWith great progress in testing and measuring by industry standard groups, the changes to the standards will help better protect workers as the standards will help better identify cut protection in performance of gloves and apparel.

As a company dedicated to protecting workers, Arbill embraces the new changes that better identify the level of protection afforded to the PPE at hand. These new changes will allow safety managers and their workers to be better protected, which will mean fewer injuries.

Contact a Safety Account Manager today to discuss best practices for protecting your workers. Visit www.arbill.com for more information on our safety products and services.  We hope that you find our blogs helpful – please feel free to share with your colleagues and friends – the more workplace injuries that we can prevent will bring us closer to our goal.  Subscribe here and we will continue to provide important safety information for you and your employees.

Stay safe!


Topics: Arbill, hand protection, protect workers, OSHA, safety standards

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