By Anne Thurman, Product Development Director at West Chester Protective Gear 

Earlier this month, the ISEA released its new ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 hand protection classification, the first change since 2005. This is good news for glove users, because the new standards better equip safety managers to find the appropriate protection for the job. The changes are being made to reflect innovation and advances in yarn technologies over the last decade.

So what exactly are the new standards?

The ANSI 105 standards were always about comprehensive hand protection. They include testing to determine the level of protection for:

  1. Cut Resistance
  2. Puncture Resistance
  3. Hypodermic Needle Puncture Resistance (new)
  4. Abrasion Resistance
  5. Chemical Permeation Resistance
  6. Chemical Degradation Resistance
  7. Ignition Resistance
  8. Heat Degradation Resistance
  9. Conductive Heat Resistance
  10. Vibration Reduction
  11. Dexterity


The two most significant changes to the 2016 standards are an expansion of the levels of Cut Resistance, and the addition of a new Hypodermic Needle Puncture Resistance test.

Changes to the Levels of Cut Resistance

The changes to cut protection testing do two things: 

First, they more accurately identify levels of cut resistance by using a 9-level scale. Previously, the highest level of cut resistance was level 5, and the cut resistance level 4 was very broad. Safety managers used to call us to ask whether a glove was "a high 4 or a low 4." The new standards now separate out category 4 into three more narrowly gradated levels. They also expand the upper limit on cut resistance. (See the graph below)

Cut resistance is measured by how many grams of pressure can be applied to a razor blade moving across a swatch of the fabric before cutting through 0.8 in. (20 mm) or more. The gram score tells you how many grams of pressure the glove withstood before being cut.

Second, the changes improve the accuracy in test results by designating a single test method. All tests now require using the ASTM F2992-15 method on the Tomodynamometer (TDM-100) machine. Previously TDM or CPPT machines were accepted.

Comparing the New Standards with Existing Product

You might be wondering what new cut level you will need compared with the level of protection that you are used to. The new standards enable you to make a more informed decision. The increased granularity within what used to be level 4 range will enable you to make distinctions that previously didn't exist. In general, you can use this guide in choosing your new ANSI cut level.

  • A1 - Light cut hazards
  • A2 - Light/medium cut hazards
  • A3 - Light/medium cut hazards
  • A4 - Medium cut hazards
  • A5 - Medium/heavy cut hazards
  • A6 - High cut hazards
  • A7 - High cut hazards
  • A8 - High cut hazards
  • A9 - High cut hazards

Upgraded Puncture Testing

The updated standard adds a new hypodermic needle puncture test in addition to the existing puncture resistance test. This addresses the needs of the medical, recycling, sanitation and law enforcement industries. This new standard requires the ASTM F2878-10 test method, which uses a 25mm hypodermic needle instead of the probe that is used in the original puncture resistance test. Resistance levels in both versions of the puncture tests are rated on a level of 0 to 5. Similar to the cut resistance tests, both puncture tests apply pressure on top of the probe or needle that is pressed into the swatch of fabric from the glove.  The puncture score is measured in newtons, instead of grams. (Newtons are an international standard of force - they measure acceleration of a mass over space).