December 14, 2015

Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know:

The standards for cut protection as outlined in the ANSI/ISEA 105 American National Standard for Hand Protection Selection Criteria and the EN 388 European regulatory standard for protective gloves (CE) are changing in 2016. While the American ANSI/ISEA standards have been finalized, the EN388 changes are in the final stages of approval.

Why the Change?

The need was recognized for a more consistent and accurate testing method between ANSI/ISEA and European safety standards. While these changes do not create parity between the two standards, they do begin to bridge the gap. There are three main reasons the standards are changing:

  • The two standards are very different in classification and testing methods, yet both provide a 1-5 ranking scale which causes confusion.
  • The standards were created prior to advances in PPE technology, and they don’t address current high cut resistant materials.
  • The 1-5 scale for both EN388 and ANSI/ISEA 105 includes large gaps between some of the levels (ANSI/ISEA cut level 4 includes 1500-3500 grams of cut resistance), creating the potential for the use of insufficient PPE.

Understanding the Changes to the ANSI/ISEA 105 American National Standard

The new ANSI/ISEA 105 standard will now use a 9-level scale (called out as A1-A9) that extends from 0 -6000 grams of cut resistance, which allows for more accurate identification of protection in PPE. The biggest change with this scale is that the current “Cut 4” will be divided into three separate levels, arming safety managers with a greater ability to dial in on the needs of a specific application. The following chart shows the changes:

new isea standard

In addition to a more accurate scale, the ANSI/ISEA 105 will require testing using the ASTM F2992-15 method which dictates use of the Tomodynamometer (TDM) machine (previously the TDM or CPPT machine was accepted). The test method will remain the same except for reducing the distance the blade travels from 25mm to 20mm.

Understanding the Changes to the EN 388 European Cut Standard

Although the ANSI/ISEA changes are set to be released in February 2016, the EN 388 cut changes are still being finalized.  The proposed EN388 changes address the inconsistencies with the Coup Test and will provide an additional cut score for high cut materials.

  • High cut resistant materials will be required to use the ISO 13997 cut method which requires the use of the TDM machine. Results will be based on the weight required to achieve cut through at the distance of 20mm (same as ANSI/ISEA 105), reported in Newtons, and given a six-step letter score (A-F).

cut standards conversion

As you can see, this scale roughly correlates to the ANSI/ASEA scale for cut levels A1-A6, but still falls short of differentiating highly cut resistant materials. For that reason, as well as the continued use of two potential testing protocols in the EN 388, we suggest using the ANSI/ISEA standards when evaluating PPE.

  • The Coup test will still be used in the interim for lower cut resistant materials. The test parameters will be altered to address variations that occur due to blade sharpness. If there are variations in the Coup testing, materials will need to be tested with the ISO/TDM test.

The Bottom Line

While these changes may sound confusing, the bottom line is that there is an effort being made to better standardize testing between ANSI/ISEA, ISO and EN 388, which will help safety managers globally better protect their people.

Safety of the employee has always been the driving force behind everything HexArmor® does. Our goal is to work with safety professionals around the globe to help determine appropriate solutions to the hazards their workers face daily. These new changes will allow safety managers to be better equipped to provide appropriate solutions.

In the coming months we will continue to address these changes with whitepapers, videos, and other educational materials. We also look forward to sharing the new standards introduced for needle stick protection.