March 4, 2020

Your Guide to the ASTM F2878-10 Needlestick Puncture Test

Staying safe on the job leaves no room for accidents, especially when it comes to needlestick exposure. Exposure to needlesticks run you the risk of not only injury but bloodborne disease – just one stick and the fear of contracting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV is stunningly real.

Understanding the standard (and the need for it) is imperative in helping to ensure workers are wearing the proper needle-resistant personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves or arm guards, while on the job. Not only will you reduce or eliminate injury, but you’ll dramatically reduce the emotional and financial liability of your organization. 

What is the Needlestick Resistance Standard?

The ANSI/ISEA 105 hand protection standard was updated to include the ASTM F2878-10 needlestick puncture test in February 2016. 

Before this standard became effective, the only tests available were the ANSI/ISEA 105 and EN388 puncture tests that use a blunt probe to measure the amount of force required to puncture through a sample material/glove. However, due to the bluntness of the probe, the puncture test was inadequate for determining needlestick-specific resistance and in no way represented the danger of a hypodermic needle.

The ASTM F2878-10 recognizes needlestick incidents as a common potential exposure risk for the law enforcement, medical, sanitation, and recycling industries. Protective clothing or material must be tested under this standard to determine the proper rating that it takes to stop and/or mitigate needlestick punctures.

How the test works: The ASTM F2878 hypodermic needle test calls for a 21G, 25G, or 28G needle (HexArmor® uses a 25-gauge needle) to measure the amount of force it takes to puncture through the testing material. 

Test fabric is held firmly between two plates in a sample holder

A probe penetrates the test fabric at a 90° angle at a 500mm/min

A minimum of 12 specimens are used to report the classification level

Results are reported in Newtons

ANSI/ISEA uses a 1-5 rating scale for these test results, measuring from 2-10 Newtons, with a level 5 measuring at 10 Newtons or higher.


How the standard is labeled: Though manufacturers are not required to label needle puncture scores, needlestick-resistant gloves will be marked on the label or glove branding with their ASTM F2878 test score from level 1-5, with the Newtons score sometimes added as well.

The Bottom Line 

While there are many options when it comes to needlestick-resistant materials, no one material or glove will protect from all needlestick hazards. No material is needlestick proof. Because work conditions vary from one job to another, there is no way to tell how effective a particular safety glove will be without testing it in the field against the actual hazards encountered in the workplace. Testing standards should be used as a guide to help choose gloves, and field-testing should be done before any new gloves are implemented.

Get Your Needlestick Protection from HexArmor® 

For years, HexArmor has been using the ASTM F2878-10 test not only to test and measure our lineup of needlestick-resistant PPE, but to benchmark our products against others on the market. 

Compliant with the ASTM F2878, our needlestick-resistant products do more than pass industry-accepted testing methods – they feature industry-leading SuperFabric®* brand material technology, which HexArmor® is an exclusive licensee of, that blocks and deflects needle hazards unlike anything else on the market. 

SuperFabric® has consistently outperformed the competition in not only needlestick resistance but also in cut protection, which is typically an equally important attribute for industries which require needlestick resistance

If you have questions on needlestick testing or other hand safety standards, please contact a HexArmor® safety advisor. Together, we can face the needlestick crisis head-on, regardless of your industry.


*SuperFabric® is a registered Trademark of HDM, Inc.