Marketing Manager, Chemical and Disposable Products, Ansell
Cut Resistance (i.e. CPPT value) is often the primary factor considered when evaluating cut protection because it can be readily measured. However, as this guide will show you, considering only cut resistance misses a larger part of the whole cut protection picture.
is often the primary factor considered when evaluating gloves for cut protection because it can be easily measured using standard devices such as the Cut Protection Performance Test or CPPT. However, if you only consider cut resistance when selecting hand protection, you are missing a larger part the cut protection story. For instance, no cut protective product works unless workers comply with safety requirements and wear the garment. Comfort, an Ansell hallmark that is recognized in the industry, plays an important part in compliance and hence in cut protection. In the discussion points that follow, you’ll learn more about the difference between “cut protection” and “cut resistance” to more effectively evaluate cut protection.
This guide provides an introduction to this technical topic, but it does not and cannot include the answers to all possible questions. Much work still needs to be done. Ansell’s Occupational team works closely with leading universities, agencies, and organizations to improve the testing procedures for cut resistance and establish a better understanding of the factors that influence cut protection and worker safety. The team is also working on methods to identify and quantify cut risks in various customer environments. Included on the Ansell team are scientists who are developing new procedures for testing the cut resistance of textile yarns and fabrics.
What is cut protection?
Cut protection is the combination of influences that tend to prevent a worker from being cut. Material properties such as cut resistance tear strength, and abrasion resistance as well as properties such as grip and dexterity are all important aspects of cut protection. However, cut protection also includes other factors not related to protective apparel such as machine guarding, workplace set-up, working conditions, and worker training.
Ansell Occupational can participate in your cut protection program by providing you with appropriate gloves and sleeves and consulting services based on Ansell’s collective experience. Ansell staff can also be available to assist with on-site training. Our Territory managers are prepared to work with account utilizing the Ansell GuardianSM process. (The Ansell GuardianSM process is discussed in more detail later in this document.)
How is cut resistance different from cut protection?
, defined as the ability of a material to resist damage when challenged with a moving sharp edged object, is only one component of cut protection. Because cut resistance can be measured using standard testing equipment, it’s often used when comparing the safety of various products. However, as discussed above, more than just the material properties of the glove or garment (i.e. cut resistance) must be considered when evaluating cut protection.
How is protective clothing evaluated for cut resistance?
In the European market, gloves are evaluated according to EN 388, the mandatory performance standard for all gloves as standardized and regulated by the CEN. The method uses a constant weight on a circular blade that is moved back and forth across a specimen by the test machine. The machine also rotates the blade against the direction that it is being moved, which intensifies the slicing action.
The CEN method is not well-suited for highly cut-resistant fabrics, especially those that contain glass or wire reinforcement. On those fabrics, the blade is rapidly worn dull during the testing and the data tends to over-estimate the cut resistance.
In the US an entirely different method was developed by ASTM, method F1790. It has been adopted by ISO as an international standard.
Before 2004, previous versions of this method called for a report of load that causes cut through in one inch (25 mm, not 20 mm). When comparing data, be certain that all of the tests were conducted according to the same edition of the standard. ASTM F 1790-97 is the older version that uses the longer cut distance and is still referenced by ANSI/ISEA to determine the performance levels of gloves.
How much variability is there in ASTM or ISO cut resistance test data?
Yarns, knitted gloves or coated PPE tend not to be extremely homogeneous by nature and therefore promotes a degree of variability in cut resistance data. The measured cut resistance of a specimen can vary depending on exactly where the cutting blade is placed on it and on which direction the yarns run under the contact spot. There are many factors that can contribute to variation in cut testing, and one of our top research goals is to identify and correct as many factors as possible.
This guide includes a table of cut resistance data and ratings for Ansell gloves. The averages are reported and are used to rate gloves according to the ANSI/ISEA scale from 0 to 5. Due to inherent variation (as discussed above) these ratings can provide only a general indication of the cut resistance of any protective material. These values also reflect laboratory measurements, and may vary depending on the specific work environment, materials, sharpness of the blade or edge, and the force applied.
What other glove properties are important in evaluating cut protection and choosing gloves?
The importance of Grip is apparent once you consider that sharp-edged objects pose a much greater threat when they are in motion. A secure grip when combined with the proper level of cut resistance can significantly reduce the chance of cut injury by preventing slipping and slicing, decreasing the grip force required during a task, and providing the wearer with more control.
Abrasion Resistance and Durability are both important factors when choosing cut protection. Most products are used for extended periods of time, and it is important to ensure that they provide the same level protection at the end of the shift as they did at the beginning.
Dexterity and Comfort will also be important in some workplaces where small sharp objects must be handled or the gloves need to be worn for extended periods of time. In a recent Frost and Sullivan survey 85% of the respondents said that comfort is the leading feature that influences their hand protection decision. When hand protection is deemed unsuitable the biggest problem identified by 55% of the respondents is that the gloves “hinder my touch.” In the same report Ansell was identified as the highest rated company offering hand protection products in the categories of comfort and ease of use. Comfortable hand protection products that are easy to use mean that workers are more likely to use the recommended hand protection product. In the case of cut protection Ansell can play a significant role in keeping workers safe because they are more willing to wear comfortable, easy to use products.
Some gloves may be worn for more than just cut protection. The people who select them may need to consider protection from other hazards such as high temperatures or chemicals.
All of these factors, along with environmental factors at individual work places, are to be addressed by the Ansell cut protection team as they form their agenda to better understand Cut Protection.
How are gloves evaluated for grip?
Ansell has been developing products with enhanced grip features as well as working to develop improved test equipment to compare the grip capabilities of various gloves. To demonstrate the differences in grip among gloves: install a pole vertically on a circular base or similar support. Ballast the pole with enough weight to make it hard to lift. If you wish to demonstrate oil grip, lubricate the pole with an appropriate grade of oil. Have the test subject try on several gloves and attempt to lift that pole while wearing each of them. Differences in the required grip strength and the feeling of hand fatigue when lifting the pole in a controlled manner while wearing the different gloves will be readily evident.
Of course a better grip can improve other properties in addition to cut protection. A reduction in grip force means a reduction in work effort by the individual. This improves workplace ergonomics and can have a very positive effect on the reduction in repetitive motion injuries. Ansell Grip Technology™ is a key process platform that Ansell has invested in. For more information on testing and evaluating Grip, please log into Alphatecgloves.com
How can Ansell help you improve cut protection in your workplace?
Ansell Occupational can contribute to your cut protection program by providing you with appropriate gloves and sleeves. Ansell associates may be able to help in other ways too. Field Territory Managers have visited many worksites and can advise you on the other aspects of cut protection. They may not be primary experts in areas such as adequate lighting and machine guarding, but they can often notice potential problem areas before an accident happens. They are trained to help you pick the right gloves, and are backed by technical experts in all areas of hand protection. A glove survey by one of these Territory Managers is often a good idea.
The Ansell Occupational team can participate in your cut protection program by providing consulting services and on-site training based on Ansell’s collective experience. A key contributor, the Ansell GuardianSM process, is designed around seven key cost saving practices and incorporates tools to capture such information as:
• User Applications and Product Needs (SafetyNet Data)
• Safety and Injury Related Data
• Current Product Information
• Non - Compliance Issues
• Training Opportunities
• Ergonomic Risks
• Process Waste Reduction
• Efficiency improvement opportunities
• Controls (Laundering, Recycling, Dispensing, Disposal Information)
• Inventory Management and Standardization across a single plant or multiple plant locations
Ansell Cut Protection Team – “Next Steps”
The Ansell Cut Protection team has been working to identify the factors that influence cut protection. Research also continues into improved test methods that can be used by standards setting organizations. Our goal is both continuous improvements in worker safety and in the tools used to identify and evaluate protective clothing.
Our agenda for the next few months is to develop a research program utilizing input from end-user customers to define risks and their level of influence in creating factors that result in worker injury. Our goal is to create measurement tools that will help plant Safety and Management Professionals make better decisions when choosing cut protection.
For more information contact a member of the Ansell Cut Protection Team at 732-345-2122 or send us a message at AnsellSolutions.com