For years, there have been standards for industrial gloves protecting workers against hazards such as cuts, punctures, abrasions and chemical exposure – but until recently, they left much to be desired in terms of sufficiently protecting the hands of workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported around 124,000 hand injuries in 2018 which accounted for nearly 14% of all injuries and illnesses recorded. The bones and tissues in the back of the hand are especially vulnerable to impact injuries. Such injuries are common in a variety of industries and end-use applications, including offshore oil and gas, construction, mining, manufacturing, warehousing and transportation industries.
In February 2019, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) in conjunction with ISEA (International Safety Equipment Association) released a new standard that transformed the way workers select hand protection.
Tougher standards equal more protection.
ANSI/ISEA 138 was created specifically as a standard for industrial safety gloves and set out to clearly provide the information consumers need to make an informed hand protection purchase. The new standard establishes a minimum performance, classification and labeling requirement for gloves designed to protect the knuckles and fingers from impact forces.
ANSI/ISEA 138 extends testing coverage to include both the knuckles and the fingers, providing comprehensive testing coverage to those areas most at risk for injury. Also, ANSI/ISEA 138 states that testing must be completed by a third-party laboratory that meets ISO/IEC 17025:2017 requirements.
Performance level classification
The regulation has made purchasing decisions simpler by implementing a new performance level classification system. Under the ANSI/ISEA 138 standard, there are three levels of protection: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.
Level 1 provides the most basic level of impact protection and is most appropriate for those facing light impact hazards at their job, while Level 3 provides the most impact protection and is best for those working in conditions where heavy impact hazards exist.
For any glove claiming an ANSI/ISEA 138 classification, there must be a clear, visible icon identifying the glove’s classification. When selecting impact-resistant gloves, look for the approved ANSI/ISEA 138 icon to ensure the level of protection you’re promised is the level of protection you receive.
This icon must be visibly legible throughout the life of the glove:
BASIC IMPACT PROTECTION | LEVEL 1
Level 1 classified gloves are good for those looking to protect against minor impact hazards.
For a Level 1 impact-resistant glove that offers great grip and is comfortable to wear, Superior Glove® Dexterity® Impact and Cut Resistant Glove is just what you need.
MEDIUM IMPACT PROTECTION | LEVEL 2
If you need more impact protection than a Level 1 glove can provide but aren’t exposed to serious impact hazards, a Level 2 glove will do.
For a glove offering Level 2 impact protection, MORR™ Gear ANSI Impact Level 2 Glove is an excellent choice.
SERIOUS IMPACT PROTECTION | LEVEL 3
For protection against the most serious impact hazards, you’ll want your workers wearing gloves classified as Level 3. Superior Glove® Endura® 4Pro Impact-Resistant, Goat-Grain Driver Gloves is made for the highest impact protection.
How to Choose the Proper Gloves for Your Workers
The safety experts at ORR can help you choose the proper gloves for your workers. Contact us today to discuss your options.