Research & Development
HexArmor® – The Industry Leader in Needle Protection
Needles are sharp, beveled cutting instruments designed to pierce the skin. To stop them from puncturing the skin, you need to stop the cutting action by putting something hard in front of them, such as the protective guardplates found in SuperFabric® brand materials. HexArmor® needle resistant products work by layering SuperFabric® brand materials over each other. SuperFabric® brand material guardplates block and deflect needle hazards or trap and arrest them in the small gaps found between guardplates. Multiple aligned layers of fabric provide extra resistance against needle hazards.
HexArmor® products are tested in real world applications and are proven to reduce needlestick injuries. Using the correct test will ensure you have the right glove to protect your employees. As always, we recommend proper field testing to validate the appropriate level of protection necessary for your application.
The Truth about Needle Testing
For years the EN388 and ASTM 1342 were the main tests used for measuring puncture resistance for PPE. The shortcoming of the EN388 and ASTM 1342 tests are that they do not replicate real-world puncture hazards such as needles, slivers, burrs, frayed wire, wire rope, or glass shards. Is the truth in the test? The reason these tests are not relevant for puncture is simple. The test probe for the EN388 test is rounded and blunt, larger than the end of a ball-point pen. The test measures more of a tear or burst hazard, but has almost no relevance when it comes to needle or industrial testing. The test probe for the ASTM 1342 is thinner and more pointed than the E388 probe, but it still does not come close to replicating a needlestick hazard.
According to a March 11, 2011 ASTM Newsroom Press Release (#8815), this is an issue that the standards committees recognized, as well as other manufacturers: Due to risk of infection from blood-borne pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C, hypodermic needlesticks pose a life-safety risk to healthcare professionals, law enforcement officials, sanitation workers, and others. A new ASTM International standard addresses the unique mechanics of hypodermic needle puncture as related to protective clothing. The ASTM F2878 - 10 Standard Test Method for Protective Clothing Material Resistance to Hypodermic Needle Puncture was developed by Subcommittee F23.20 on Physical, part of ASTM International Committee F23 on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment.
HexArmor® and ASTM F2878 Test
HexArmor® has long understood these shortcomings and has been testing using a modified ASTM 1342 test using 25 gauge hypodermic needles. With the new ASTM F2878 test we are able to now standardize testing based on international standards. Here is the ASTM F2878 Test Overview:
Testing can be done using a 21G, 25G, or 28G needle
HexArmor tested using a 25G needle
Puncture probe (25G needle) travels at a 90˚ angle into a specimen at a velocity of 500mm/min
Amount of force necessary to puncture through the specimen is recorded to the nearest .01 Newton
The average of the 12 results is reported
Waste Management Needle Solutions
Working With Large Recycler To Eliminate Needle Injuries On Sorting Lines
Workers on recycle sorting lines are exposed to needles in waste streams every day, increasing the likelihood that a worker will come in contact with an exposed, contaminated needle. HexArmor® saw an opportunity to engineer a solution for these sorters using its advanced technology and worked with Waste Management, Inc. to spearhead an anti-needle program that has virtually eliminated needle injuries to date.
Rising number of needles in recycle streams creates need for better PPE
Waste Management Inc.’s (WM) increased recycling and sorting demands brought workers in contact with sharps and needles hidden in plastic bottles and containers. Each year recycling workers are exposed to approximately two-to-three billion improperly disposed needles. Exposure to contaminated needles created an unacceptable health risk for employees and the company.
HexArmor® collaborates with WM to develop needle protection solutions
HexArmor® designers worked directly with WM’s safety team to create a series of protective gloves that had the capability to resist needle sticks and punctures, as well as resist cuts from broken glass shards, steel, wire, and wood splinters commonly encountered in recycling operations. The collaborative nature of the HexArmor®/WM relationship led to the development of a mandated hand and arm protection program for recycle sorters that requires operators and line workers to exclusively wear HexArmor® products while on the job.
HexArmor® SuperFabric® brand material technology was the key to preventing needle sticks and punctures from sharps, as well as offering optimal resistance to cuts in a wide range of recycling and sorting tasks. SuperFabric® brand material stopped needle sticks at the point of attack to protect workers’ health and safety. In addition to developing a complete line of recycling and sorting gloves, HexArmor® has developed needle-resistant arm guards, which are now also required in the Waste Management Recycling Protection Mandate.
HexArmor® continues to collaborate with WM on improving current products, and engineering advanced solutions that offer superior protection and extended service in a wide range of waste handling and recycling applications.
All Relevant Case Studies
Talk to a HexArmor Representative
HexArmor® wants to get your team in our gloves. Our unique purpose-built gloves offer varying configurations of cut, industrial puncture, impact and/or needlestick protection. Please let us know how we can reach you and we will have a Solution Specialist contact you to discuss any questions you may have. We look forward to helping you stay safe.