ANSI/ISEA 138 Impact Protection Test

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hand injuries are the most commonly reported injuries in the workplace. In every industry, may it be oil and gas, mining, automotive, construction, manufacturing, or warehouse, the impact protection for workers are highly important as the soft tissues and bones become vulnerable when performing tasks without wearing the right gloves?

To improve hand protection from impact hazards, there are different materials and standards have been introduced. The material used for impact protection is called TPR (ThermoPlastic Rubber) whereas, to claim the performance of the impact gloves various impact protection standards have been introduced. But before moving on to the standards, let’s find out why there is a need for impact protection.

Why impact protection is necessary

Impact protection aims to mitigate several workplace hazards, such as:

  • Being hit and injured by flying or falling objects
  • Handling heavy materials and tools
  • Faulty high-pressure lines
  • Improper use of damaged tools

ANSI/ISEA 138 Impact standards

ANSI/ISEA 138, is commonly defined as the American national standard for performance and classification for impact resistant hand protection. The impact hand protection standard states the “minimum performance, classification and labeling requirements for hand protection products designed to protect the knuckles and fingers from impact forces while performing occupational tasks.”

ANSI/ISEA 138 Impact standards

The standard in detail briefs about the requirements, equipment, and methods that should be used for the impact testing. ISEA 138 standard is an industry-accepted test criterion to measure the effectiveness of various dorsal impact protective gloves in reducing the impact force across the hand. Also, it does not only focuses on impact performance but also makes the cut, puncture, abrasion, and tear components into accountability.

  • It defines an agreed-upon test level for impact protection.
  • It clearly defines the required performance levels
  • It includes the pictogram marking for each of the stated levels for compliant gloves
  • It states a requirement of product to be tested in a laboratory possessing a certificate of accreditation that meets the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017, general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

ANSI/ISEA 138 Impact Rating
How does impact testing work?

A pair of glove is needed per test. The gloves are cut in half and the back-of-hand is positioned on an anvil and a 5 Joules striker is dropped on the back-of-hand. The intensity of force that is transferred through the glove back-of-hand is then recorded with a force gauge that is joined below the anvil.

The ISEA 138 tests impact performance on two areas: knuckles, which are tested 4 times, and fingers/thumb which are tested five times.

The average of the knuckle tests and ten-finger tests are compared to each other to find the highest average that will be a measure of a final impact testing score. Among the three different performance levels, level 3 determines the highest protection offered, and similarly, level 1 is determinant of the lowest degree of protection.

ISEA 138 tests impact performance

According to the standard, “the overall performance level of a glove reflects the lowest performance level recorded, so that if the fingers and thumb meet level one but the knuckles level two, the glove will still be rated as performance level one.” The statement justifies that the manufacturers need to prioritize protection on both the portions of the glove (knuckles as well as fingers) and only then will they achieve higher test scores on impact performance.

The ISEA 138 levels provide greater flexibility and protection to the end-user as unlike EN 388 it does not measure the impact force on the option of a pass or fail but offers a performance scale of 3 levels to enable the end-user to make a choice among the ANSI/ISEA 138 gloves that meet their needs and is appropriate to the level of hazard or risk they encounter.

At Elite Leather, we make sure to follow all the international standards while manufacturing and delivering impact gloves to prioritize the hand safety, comfort, dexterity, impact protection of the worker. View our collection today.

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