Potential hazards to hands and arms include skin absorption of harmful substances, chemical or thermal burns, radiation, electric shock, bruises, abrasions, cuts, punctures, fractures, or amputations. The nature of the hazard and the operation involved will affect the selection of the appropriate protective equipment, which includes gloves, finger guards, and arm coverings. ANSI/ISEA 105-2016: American National Standard For Hand Protection Classification provides specifications for hand protection classification.
When Is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Used for Hand Protection?
Selection of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is based on the performance characteristics of the glove in relation to the tasks to be performed. Hand protection must be selected and used when personnel may be exposed to certain hazards, such as:
- Harmful dry or liquid substances (e.g., strong acids/bases, toxic or corrosive materials, organic solvents, and radioactive materials) that can be absorbed through the skin or can cause skin irritation, chemical burns, or similar conditions.
- Tools, equipment, or materials that can cause cuts, lacerations, punctures, fractures, amputations, or abrasions.
- Materials or agents that can cause thermal burns or expose personnel to harmful temperatures.
- Blood or other potentially infectious agents.
- Live electrical systems or components.
What Is ANSI/ISEA 105-2016?
ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 addresses the classification and testing of hand protection for specific performance properties related to chemical and industrial applications. Hand protection includes gloves, mittens, partial gloves, or other items covering the hand or a portion of the hand that are intended to provide protection against or resistance to a specific hazard. This American National Standard provides performance ranges for related to mechanical protection (cut-resistance, puncture resistance and abrasion resistance), chemical protection (permeation resistance, degradation) and other performance characteristics such as ignition resistance and vibration reductions based on standardized test methods. ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 provides descriptions of test methods as well as different levels of performance for each property with zero (0) representing the minimal protection or none at all.
The standard provides manufacturers with a mechanism to classify their products for specified areas of glove performance. The classification ranges from mechanical protection, chemical protection, heat and flame protection, vibration reduction, and dexterity. The information from this testing and classification can be used to help users to select appropriate hand protection.
The standard does not address protection from electric shock, ionizing or non-ionizing radiation, every type of thermal exposure and harmful temperature extreme, and every type of exposure to chemicals, biological agents, or other hazardous substances. ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 also does not address protection for welding, emergency response applications, or fire fighter applications.
Types of Protective Gloves
There are many types of gloves available to protect against a wide variety of hazards. The variety of potential occupational hand injuries, however, makes selecting the right pair of gloves challenging. Here are some categories of gloves:
- Leather, Canvas or Metal Mesh Gloves: protect against cuts, burns and punctures. Qualities include comfort, durability, dexterity, mild heat resistance, and abrasion resistance.
- Fabric Gloves: made of cotton or other fabric. They generally protect against dirt, chafing, and abrasions.
- Coated gloves: offer superior hand protection from wet environments where dexterity is important, but they provide minimal protection from physical hazards such as cuts, abrasions, or punctures.
- Insulating rubber gloves: used for protection against electrical hazards. Nitrile and natural rubber coated gloves are often used as substitutes for leather gloves.
- Chemical and liquid resistant gloves: used when working with chemicals with a high acute toxicity, corrosive materials in high concentrations, handling chemicals for extended periods of time, or immersing all or part of a hand into a chemical.
- Disposable gloves: best for one-time use situations as they are typically very thin and may tear or puncture easily. They provide the wearer with improved sensitivity and dexterity, but are less chemical resistant than standard chemical resistant gloves.
- Critical-environment gloves: used in applications that require extreme cleanliness, such as in the electronic, nuclear, and pharmaceutical industries
Hand Protection Classification
ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 states that gloves should be classified according to their resulting performance when tested. Where the material in the glove varies, testing of the intended resistance area should be performed. End-users should be notified regarding the varying performance levels of these products. The standard further details that manufacturers should be permitted to clearly report the classification of specific performance properties for different areas of the hand protection items.
ANSI/ISEA 105-2016: American National Standard For Hand Protection Classification is available on the ANSI Webstore.