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Chances are that the update to the ANSI cut levels didn’t make it to your news feed and there probably weren’t a lot of Facebook posts about it.
Let’s face it: You’re probably not the glove nerd that we are, so you don’t keep up with the day-to-day of hand safety.
But if you’re involved in safety in any capacity, then you NEED to know about these updates to the test standards and glove classifications.
When you’re faced with numerous cut hazards in the workplace, it’s crucial that you’re wearing the best gloves for the job.
If you’re one of the smart ones you might be thinking “but Mr. Video Announcer Guy, I already do that.”
Well if that’s the case then kudos to you. However, there’s a reason why car companies are always coming out with new models. Why Apple is constantly coming out with a new version of the iPhone. It’s even why the Internet exists for crying-out-loud, because someone realized that there was room for improvement. For something greater than what already existed.
That same kind of innovative thinking is the driving force behind the recent changes to the cut testing standards.
As glove technologies, applications and a little thing we like to call engineered yarns have advanced so to have the products that glove manufacturers have created and, because of that, the way in which we test the gloves and therefore the rating system that denotes the level of cut resistance needs to change as well.
It needs to acknowledge those technological changes although it might seem like a bit of a pain right now but I promise you this is a good thing.
Those behind the testing standards believe that these changes will not only help to standardize the way the testing is conducted but as a result make you, and I, safer in the long run.
So whether you build robots, are a champion carrot chopper or even a katana wielding zombie slayer, you’ll never have to worry about losing a finger while you’re on the job or even get a scratch on your precious fingers for that matter.
Now that you understand the ‘why,’ what will the changes actually entail? Well if you’re in North America, your main concern should be the changes to the old ANSI/ISEA standard. One of the main changes is to increase the current level of cut levels from five to nine.
Since the current cut level four rating covers such a large range, all the way from 1500 to 3499 grams of cut protection.
Dividing it into smaller sections means that those who are actually wearing the gloves will benefit from a more accurate glove selection.
It’ll make everyone much safer since it’ll prevent everyone who used to fall under that huge cut level 4 category from assuming that they could all benefit from the same level of cut protection, regardless of which end of the spectrum they fall under.
Introducing the nine cut levels under the new ANSI/ISEA standard. As you can see levels A1 to A3 are most suitable for light to medium cut hazards, while levels A4 to A6 are best for medium cut hazards and, as you might have guessed, levels A7 and up are best for high cut hazards.
Basically as with the previous five levels, the rule is that the more dangerous the cut hazards the higher up you’ll want to go up the ladder.
(With few exceptions of course).
So now that you understand the reasoning behind the new cut ratings, what are some of the other important changes?
Well since the ISO 13997 TDM machine results have been found to be more consistent than the CPPT ones over the years, the TDM machine will now be the recommended testing machine for future testing results.
Using a single method of testing will make the ratings more reliable overall and if punctures are a big concern in your workplace, you’ll be happy to know that the new ANSI/ISEA standard will also include a new needle stick puncture test. Allowing for a higher level of protection against puncture threats.
These changes don’t sound so bad now do they?
Well don’t panic.
While the new ANSI/ISEA testing standard was officially passed in February 2016, and the changes will become a part of the North American testing process going forward, there isn’t a specific deadline that the testing has to be done by.
That means that you can retest your gloves on your own time. But keep in mind that the sooner you retest them, the better. Since your gloves won’t be certified under the new standard until testing has been done.
So don’t worry, the approval of these new standards won’t affect the performance of your gloves, they’ll just make the work glove selection process that much easier and more accurate.
Therefore, keeping everyone’s hands that much safer in the workplace.
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