If you work in the oilfield, you know the dangers workers face daily; dangers that can turn deadly. One of the dangers workers face is back-of-hand injury.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that in 2015, workers sustained 143,000 injuries to their hands. When you peel back the onion further, 76% of on-the-job hand injuries result from cuts and crushes. Yet, it’s only been within the last decade that PPE manufacturers have turned their attention to developing a more comprehensive range of gloves, including those designed with back-of-hand impact protection.
While there is a hand-protection standard in North America, ANSI/ISEA 105: 2016, American national standard for hand protection classification, addresses the cut, abrasion, tear, and puncture performance of gloves, not impact protection. The information below provides key insights into everything you need to know when it comes to the new back-of-hand standard for gloves.
Impact Safety Gloves
The bones and soft tissues located on the back of a worker’s hands are exposed to impact injuries, ranging from bumps and bruises to severe bone fractures.
Common sources for impact and pinch point injuries:
- Struck by tongs or spinning chain
- Working around heavy pipes, cables, hoses, and ropes
- Everyday activities
Impact protection can mitigate a variety of on-the-job hazards, including:
- Being struck-by objects in motion, whether moving, swinging, flying, or falling
- Rig site clearing
- Heavy material handling and moving heavy loads
- Connections breaking free from high-pressure lines
- Improper use of tools that are loose and cracked, eventually breaking apart
- Working in close quarters, where pinch points are common
An oil and gas worker; who wears the Predator PD2903 gloves put it this way, “You need padding all around due to working around and holding iron that weighs anywhere from 500 to 1,000 pounds.” There is no better way of expressing the need for impact protection.
The New Guidelines
Despite everyone’s best intentions in developing new impact gloves, there has been a lack of standardization for impact protection
. This has resulted in claims about the quality and impact protection performance of different gloves that have been hard to verify.
Oil and Gas workers face numerous workplace hazards and risks.
It has been challenging for companies to determine which impact gloves are best for their workers—which ones will keep workers’ hands safe while allowing them the full range of motion to get their jobs done. As a result, companies have begun focusing more on cost—a known quantity—and purchase gloves that are not always best suited to protect their workers.
The new ANSI/ISEA 138 impact standard for performance and classification for impact-resistant hand protection changes that.
Impact Work Gloves ANSI 138
A subgroup of the International Safety Equipment Association's (ISEA) hand protection group has been working together since 2016 to voluntarily develop a new standard that makes it easier to find the suitable gloves, for the right task, with the right level of protection.
ISEA is the leading association for personal protective equipment and technologies that enable people to work in hazardous environments.
Thanks to the publication of the new standard (and its adoption by manufacturers), employers can be assured they will purchase gloves that offer their valued workers exactly the protection they need. Workers can do their jobs confidently, focusing on their tasks, and worry less about the safety of their hands.
Mandates from Impact Resistant Gloves Standards
- Defines an agreed-upon testing method for gloves’ impact protection
- Includes three clearly defined performance levels
- Specifies a pictogram mark for each of the levels of compliant gloves
- Requires that products be tested in a laboratory with a certificate of accreditation meeting the requirements ISO/IEC 17025:2017, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories
The standard establishes
the "minimum performance, classification and labeling requirements for hand protection products designed to protect the knuckles and fingers from impact forces, while performing the occupational task.
ANSI 138 Performance Levels
ANSI/ISEA 138 is used to “evaluate compliant gloves ‘for their capability to dissipate impact forces on the knuckles and fingers' and to classify them accordingly.” The testing that the gloves must undergo is rigorous, and the standard defines the testing requirements, equipment, and method to be used. It includes preparing samples and conditioning the gloves for specific test sites on the knuckles, fingers, and thumbs. The standard also requires that the sites be marked on the outside and backside of the glove.
Gloves are rated on an impact-protection scale from 1-3.
A classification of 3 means that a glove offers the most protection. In contrast, a score of 1 means that a glove offers the least: a higher performance-level rating indicates a greater degree of protection, meaning that less force is transmitted to the wearer's hand.
It is important to note that, according to the standard, "the overall performance level of a glove reflects the lowest performance level recorded. If the fingers and thumb meet level one, but the knuckles level two, the glove will still be rated as performance level one. A manufacturer can't just ramp up protection on the knuckles and forget about the fingers. It is a complete, well-rounded glove that achieves higher test scores.
The two most critical performance areas
As with any standard measuring performance, crucial elements distinguish gloves with a higher number from lower numbers. Here are the two most essential elements for the impact standard:
- Assessment of the fingers and thumbs – finger and thumb impact performance is assessed at two distances from the fingertip. The above New Impact standard image shows an example of the two assessments.
- Knuckle protection – knuckles are located by having a test subject don the test glove, and then locate the exact knuckle locations while grasping a tube. There are some gloves where the knuckle bumper does not cover the wearer’s knuckles and, as a result, protection is compromised.
Specifications of ANSI/ISEA 138 impact standard
During testing, a 2.5kg mass is dropped with an impact energy of 5J onto each glove. The impact test is performed on knuckles and fingers separately.
The resulting classification of each rating is as follows, with protection increasing as one move to the next performance level:
||Mean Transmitted Force
||≤ 9 kN
||≤ 6.5 kN
||≤ 4 kN
As stated above, the higher performance level means there is better overall impact protection. However, when you examine the transmitted force, the lower number is better. Why? A lower recorded Peak Transmitted Force (PTF) means the glove's back-of-hand material absorbs more energy. Better material and protection equates to more energy absorbed, which equates to a higher-performing glove overall.
FF2930 – Impact Performance level 2
The FF2930 is our highest-rated impact glove.
Swinging chains are a constant concern for Oil and Gas workers.
Check out the below video, which highlights MCR Safety’s FF2930 being tested.
D3O® Impact Technology Video
The FF2930 incorporates D3O® technology, which provides wearers with advanced protection. Examples include:
- Back-of-hand impact dissipation is up to 54% better, while the glove is 57% thinner.
- Impact dissipation on fingers is up to 46% better, while the glove is 37% thinner.
MCR Safety has come a long way over the past decade. Click the below image to check out our Impact Protection Resource page, highlighting the last decade of advancements in impact protection, along with the new back-of-hand protection standard.
Impact Protection Page
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Impact Protection Selection Tool
On the Impact Protection Page, you can select specific impact gloves based on the impact performance level. For those only needing bump protection, the MC503 is perfect! However, if you need protection against high impact hazards, our tool will reveal the specific gloves tested for higher performance levels.
You can find all our impact protection gloves by visiting our dedicated online impact glove catalog. Here are some of the other impact gloves you'll see in our catalog.
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Impact Absorption Work Gloves
The next chapter in back-of-hand protection is here! Industry standards for impact resistance will ensure back-of-hand performance measures are met and workers stay protected with the best gear.
MCR Safety's Oil and Gas industry web pages offer more insight into industry-specific hazards and oilfield impact gloves.
Do you have questions about our products or the new standard? Contact us!
You can submit a question, provide suggestions and comments. We're happy to answer your questions, and we'll be happy to help you find the perfect PPE gear for your needs.
Click the above image to leave us comments, questions, or any concerns.
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For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it's wearing premium EVA rain boots while working on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. It's all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.