Short Guide to Glove Puncture Testing

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Introduction:

In Europe and North America there is very close agreement in the in required puncture test requirements. There are some differences but more agreement. The most important factor to take away is that there are at least 3 types of puncture threats that glove specifiers need to consider. Large nail, small nail and hypodermic needle. Sadly good performance for one of these penetrators does not predict performance with the others. Gloves engineered for needle may not have high performance for the large nail and like wise large nail performance does not predict needle results. Users have to select glove and equipment designed for there puncture needs.

ANSI/ISEA Puncture Level for “Large Nail”

The ANSI test is best described as the large nail puncture test. The puncture probe is a 5mm diameter (3/16 Inch) with a dull conical tip.

There are 2 other puncture test that are important

  • NIJ 99-144 “Small Nail” ASTM F 1342 Puncture Resistance Levels

  • ASTM F3 2878-10 Hypodermic Needle Puncture 28 Gauge WMI

Of the 3 important puncture tests the “Large Nail” is the least informative about the material performance against sharp threats. The “small nail” and hypo test offer results relevant to sharp puncture threats

ASTM /ISEA 105 (EN388) Level Puncture (Newtons) Large nail

Level

Newtons

Grams force

lbf

0

< 10

0

1

≥ 10

1020

2.2

2

≥ 20

2039

4.5

3

≥ 60

6118

13.5

4

≥ 100

10197

22.5

5

≥ 150

15296

33.7

EN388 “Large Nail” Puncture Levels

The EN388 test is best described as the large nail puncture test. The puncture probe is a 5mm diameter (3/16 Inch) with a dull conical tip.

There are 2 other puncture test that are important

  • NIJ 99-144 “Small Nail” ASTM F 1342 Puncture Resistance Levels

  • ASTM F3 2878-10 Hypodermic Needle Puncture 28 Gauge WMI

Of the 3 important puncture tests the “Large Nail” is the least informative about the material performance against sharp threats. The “small nail” and hypo test offer results relevant to sharp puncture threats

The EN388 and ANSI 105 are off set by one level. EN388 level 4 is equal to ANSI 105 level 5.   

level

Newtons

grams force

lbf

1

20

2039

4.5

2

60

6118

13.5

3

100

10197

22.5

4

150

15296

33.7

NIJ 99-144 “Small Nail” ASTM F 1342 Puncture Resistance Levels

The NIJ-ASTM puncture test is based on a small 1.5mm diameter sharp penetrator. This is not a hypodermic needle but this test simulates a small sharp nail.

Like all penetration tests the “Small Nail” test uses a compression testing machine and a drum head clamp to hold the sample.

Level

Newtons

Grams force

lbf

Low

>20

2039

4.5

Moderate

>60

6118

13.5

High

>100

10197

22.5

ASTM F3 2878-10 Hypodermic Needle Puncture 28 Gauge WMI

We use the standard test for hypodermic puncture resistance. Base on Warwick’s 20 years of needle protection we have developed a set of levels that define a useful range of needle puncture resistance.

Like all puncture tests the needle puncture test is based on a compression testing machine. The sample is held in a drum head clamp.

 

Level

grams

Newtons

oz force

1 ≥

50

0.5

1.76

2 ≥

100

1.0

3.52

3 ≥

200

2.0

7.05

4 ≥

400

3.9

14.10

5 ≥

600

5.9

21.15

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Short Guide to Glove Cut Testing Methods

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Introduction:

Cut testing has 2 primary modes, knife edge only cutting and knife tip cutting. The standard evaluations for glove and safety gear use the knife edge only. The edge only cut data provides a good baseline for users on cut resistance. There is good agreement between the EN388, ANSI 105 an the NIJ cut criteria.  Users and glove specifiers should take note of the scalpel cut data for a better understanding of the actual resistance of the gloves and equipment in service. Real cut injuries generally include the knife tip.

ANSI/ISEA 105 Cut Level (ASTM F 1790-97 or -05)

The ANSI cut levels are based on the force required to cut through the protective material with a razor knife edge.

In this test the tip of the knife does not contact the material only the blade edge.

The most common cut testing method ASTM 1790-97 is based on a cutting distance for the knife of 25mm (1 inch). The force required to cut through the protective material in 25.4mm of knife travel is the test output.  

The levels are set as follows.

(25 mm of blade travel – ASTM F1790-97)
(20 mm of blade travel – ASTM F1790-05)
Level Grams force newtons lbf
1 ≥ 200 2.0 0.44
2 ≥ 500 4.9 1.10
3 ≥ 1000 9.8 2.20
4 ≥ 1500 14.7 3.30
5 ≥ 3500 34.3 7.71

Modified ASTM F 1342 Scalpel Cut Levels WMI

This Scalpel test is alternate to the straight knife cut tests.  This test measures the force required for the Scalpel blade to puncture and cut through the protective material.

Unlike the ANSI cut test the Scalpel test simulate cut events that involve the tip of sharp tools, sheet metal and glass shards.

The levels have been set to roughly correlate to the ASTM cut method, however because this is knife tip test there are differences in material performance.

The cutting force is measured on a compression testing machine with the sample held in a drum head clamp ring.

Level Grams force Newtons lbf
1 ≥ 75 0.7 0.17
2 ≥ 150 1.5 0.33
3 ≥ 300 2.9 0.66
4 ≥ 600 5.9 1.32
5 ≥ 1200 11.8 2.64

NIJ 99-114 cut rating (ASTM F 1790-97)

The NIJ  cut levels are based on the force required to cut through the protective material with a razor knife edge.

In this test the tip of the knife does not contact the material only the blade edge.

The most common cut testing method ASTM 1790-97 is used by NIJ for this rating. The test is based on a cutting distance for the knife of 25mm (1 inch). The force required to cut through the protective material in 25.4mm of knife travel is the output of this test.  

These levels are roughly the same as ANSI 105 levels 2, 3 and 4

The NIJ levels are set as follows.

Newtons Grams force lbf
Low < 5 509.9 1.12
Moderate ≥ 6 611.8 1.35
High ≥ 16 1631.5 3.59

EN388 Cut resistant levels Rotary Knife or ISO13997 Cut testing

The EN388 cut testing program has 2 tests. A test using a rotary knife machine that measure the rotations to cut through the sample. The calibration process for this machine make it unsuitable for some materials at the higher cut levels so a second test method ISO13997 is used. This is a straight razor knife force test. The ANSI 105 cut levels are similar at level 4 but are quite different for level 5. The ANSI 105 cut level 5 is a higher requirement.

Level Cut Index

(turns of knife)

EN388 rotary

ISO13997 testing

cut force Newtons

ISO13997

cut force grams

ISO13997

cut force lbf

1 >1.2
2 >2.5
3 >5
4 >10 13 1326 2.9
5 >20 22 2243 4.9
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Quick Guide to PPE Glove Standards

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Puncture and Cut Resistant Gloves.

Cut Resistant Gloves — How Are These Products Rated ?

For most glove buyers the key question is: How do I reduce injury rates at work? Common sense tells you that cut resistant gloves should be part of your safety program.  But which cut and puncture gloves do you buy? There must be a PPE standard for safety gloves.  Unfortunately buyers find PPE standards difficult to use and these standards are not very helpful with glove selection. We are going to try to boil this “standards and ratings” question down to just the key points.

 

Worldwide there are 2 important safety glove rating systems:

  • In Europe and many parts of the world the EN388 standard is used
  • In the US, the newer standard ANSI/ISEA 105-2011 is used
  • Other standards for heat, chemical protection and vibration

EN388 and ANSI/ISEA 105 are both mechanical protection standards, they cover:

  • Cut resistance to blades moving slowly, expressed as levels 1-5  with 5 the highest
  • Puncture Resistance to large blunt rods, expressed as levels 1-4  with 4 the highest
  • Abrasion Resistance
  • Tear Resistance

The test methods and levels are not the same for the two systems and some care needs to be used to make sure that you are comparing glove ratings within the same system – ANSI to ANSI and EN388 to EN388. Cut resistant glove ratings for ANSI/ISEA are somewhat higher than the same rating levels for EN388.   So use the ANSI/ISEA system to keep things simple.

 

Cut Resistant Gloves for Cut Threats

Utility Knife = Lost Time Machine Cut threats are the most common issue in the work place

 

What is NOT Important in Safety Glove Ratings

So what’s important about these standards?  It may be easier to look at what’s NOT important, or less important as a start: 

 Abrasion Resistance and the Tear Resistance are low priority for most users.  It is unlikely that your glove performance will be affected by these ratings. If abrasion and tear are important to your application you are already aware of how to use these 2 rating factors for your glove needs.

This gets us down to the 2 key factors for most users, Cut Resistance and Puncture Resistance.  We will look at these two rating factors one at a time.

Buy Cut 5 Rated Gloves and Reduce Your Injury Rates

Technology for cut resistant gloves has come a long way in 20 years.  At one time this type of PPE was dominated by Kevlar fiber and Spectra fiber in knit gloves.  Knitting enough Kevlar or Spectra into the glove to deliver cut 5 made for a thick, bulky product. Now there are more advanced composite materials, like TurtleSkin CP,  used as a thin layer in very light glove. These materials give the highest cut level 5 performance with little or no loss of dexterity.

For users of cut resistant gloves it is very difficult to know what cut level is needed for a particular task.  At this point advanced cut level 5 gloves are thin and offer great dexterity.  Go ahead and reduce your injury rates and buy the maximum level of cut resistance.  Advanced glove technology makes cut 5 an easy decision.

If you just can’t get enough of this PPE technology stuff see more information in the white paper on Dynamic Cut and Puncture.

Lets Try to Make Some Sense of Safety Glove Puncture Resistance Ratings

The second of the 2 most important factors is puncture. Most hand injuries are a combination of cut and puncture, so puncture resistance is a definite factor in reduction of lost time accidents. Unfortunately the ANSI and EN388 puncture tests use a very large diameter 0.2″ or 5mm test probe. Most users of cut resistant gloves are really more concerned about  smaller, sharper threats.  Most customers talk about  sheet metal slivers, small wires, glass shards, wood splinters and even hypodermic needles as the important puncture threats. The EN388 and ANSI/ISEA105 puncture rating does not help you with these threats.  Some suppliers (TurtleSkin and others) use the ASTM F1342 -05(2013) because this test has the small sharp probe and hypo as test options.

If you feel that puncture is part of your injury history you can get more information on protection from our Puncture White Paper .

The second alternative is to buy gloves that are rated for ASTM F1342-05 at 200-700 grams of Hypodermic Needle  Puncture and you’ll know your are covered.

One last thought on PPE :

 “Buy what you will WEAR and then WEAR what you buy”

“Cut resistant gloves don’t prevent injuries if they stay in your pocket.”

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