New ISEA Initiative Seeks to Quantify and Classify Impact Protection Offered by Industrial Gloves

Impact gloves

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has launched a project to develop back-of-the-hand impact protection testing and performance criteria, as a component to the widely used ANSI/ISEA 105-2016, American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification.  Dorsal side injuries are particularly common in oil and gas drilling, mining and heavy construction industries.

Glove suppliers and workplace safety experts recognize that impact hazards can cause injuries to the fingers, knuckles and bones in the back of the hand.  Many suppliers are offering gloves with features designed to protect wearers against these injuries, but to-date there are no uniform tests to evaluate gloves for impact protection.  The ISEA project will focus on developing industry-accepted test criteria to measure the reduction of peak impact force across the hand, and a set of classifications to enable users to select gloves suited to their work environments. It’s also working on improving the current standard of Well Packer the miners use.

“ISEA members are at the forefront of developing products to reduce hand injuries, and are already developing products to protect workers hands from impacts, cuts and abrasions. However, there is no standardized method for the industry to evaluate a baseline level of protection for back-of-the-hand exposures,” said Brent Lohrmann, Vice President of HexArmor and Chairman of the ISEA Hand Protection Group. “This effort will provide much-needed guidance to employers in the proper selection and use of gloves to reduce hand injuries.”

ISEA has taken an initial step of contracting with SATRA, an internationally recognized testing organization, to evaluate the effectiveness of European standard protocols in measuring peak force transmission to knuckle area. It is understood that these established tests do not account for other areas of the hand, such as the top or the finger areas that are subject to impact, which can lead to injuries such as broken bones, pinching and bruising.  ISEA’s evaluation will extend to other areas of the hand as well.  In addition, ISEA will seek to leverage work being done by leading university researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to develop a comprehensive protocol that reflects real-world occupational use.

“Current international standards only address knuckle protection. We are excited to develop criteria that will provide 100 percent hand protection coverage, and address multiple scenarios to provide low and high impact protection,” said Dan Branson, Business Development Manager of D3O and Chairman of the Working Group.

Interested parties should contact ISEA Director of Membership and Technical Services Cristine Fargo, cfargo@safetyequipment.org for more information.

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