ANSI/ISEA 138-2019 American National Standard for Performance and Classification for Impact-Resistant Gloves

The human hand is one of the most important tools in a work environment, regardless of the task being performed. It is also most vulnerable to occupational injury, ranking high among all injury types, with an average total cost per incident of more than $22,000 according to some reports. Standards and guidance have been in place for certain types of hand injuries such as those caused by cuts, punctures and chemical exposure; yet there has been no standardized approach to address dorsal or back-of-hand injuries such as bone breakage and fractures, bruising and finger pinching. The decision-making process becomes more challenging given wide available of glove designs with varying performance claims.

To address the gaps in appropriately evaluating performance of a glove’s dorsal protection and assist employers in making informed product selections, the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has developed this new standard to establish testing, classification and labeling requirements that offer back-of-the-hand impact protection. These are commonly used in the automotive, heavy equipment and construction operation, cargo handling, oil /gas and towing/transportation industries.

Compliant gloves are evaluated for their capability to dissipate impact forces on the knuckles and fingers and are classified accordingly. The resulting classifications can be used by employers as a reliable means of comparing different products on an equal basis when selecting hand protection relative to the tasks being performed.

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