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Remember when the standards for testing the cut resistance of gloves changed in 2016? In a nutshell, the most notable change was that the levels increased from five to nine.
Just like a release for the newest iPhone, people lined up around the block to get the newest high cut gloves.
Some of them were camped out for weeks!
But here’s the thing: Most people don’t need them!
Shortly after the standards were updated, Superior Glove president, Tony Geng, sat down with textile manufacturer DSM Dyneema® to discuss the need for these new high cut gloves.
“One thing that I’m worried about is that some people will think immediately that they have to go to the highest standard possible and really I don’t think that there are many industries out there that are going to need an A9, 6,000 gram, cut glove. Maybe in meat packing, maybe in some automotive there’s a place for it. But don’t automatically jump to the conclusion.
Say I was using an A4 or A5 [glove] therefore I immediately have to go to an A9. No, you really have to think about the adoption because the number one thing you have to remember is compliance and getting people to wear the gloves and keep them on all the time, that’s still the most important thing.”
There are times when more IS better:
But if you’re thinking that a bit of cut protection is good so more cut protection is better, that’s a problem.
For a glove to reach the highest levels of cut resistance, a lot of engineering is involved and a lot of strong fibers — steel, composite filament fiber, Kevlar®, high performance polyethylene — are married together.
High cut gloves will be stiffer and you’ll need to exert more energy to move in them.
That’s not a bad trade-off if it’s protecting you from serious injury. But if it’s minor cuts you’re looking to stop then a cut level A4 glove has a better balance between cut protection and dexterity.
When the standard first changed from five to nine levels of cut resistance our sales team got a lot of calls from people wanting to upgrade to level 9.
The reason was that they were using cut 5 gloves — the highest level of cut resistance at the time. Logically they would need to use the highest level on the new standard as well.
But rather than thinking only about the levels, it’s important to look at the numbers associated with the levels.
As pictured above, the old ANSI level 5 was classified as anything over 3500 grams. Meaning that if your cut level 5 glove offered 3501 grams of cut protection, you should be buying a level A6 glove, not an A9 glove.
Like Tony mentioned in the video, there are industries that will require level A7, A8 or A9 for protection from cuts.
For instance, the pulp and paper industry.
Paper producing mills use extremely sharp slitter blades to cut down larger rolls of product. Slitter blades are being adjusted, maintained or replaced by hand on an hourly basis and the risk for serious injury is high.
The right time to use a high cut glove is if you’re consistently handling sharp objects and the injury could result in serious injury. Plain and simple.
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