Page 10 - OHS, May 2020
P. 10

Five Things Health & Safety Managers Should Know About PPE Standards
PPE standards equip health and safety managers with tools to make informed choices about the right product for the job.
orth America’s standards for health and safety managers help regulate the billion- dollar PPE industry. ISEA defines a stan- dard as “a document, established by consen-
sociation (ISEA) (which represents PPE manufactur- ers, distributors, and test laboratories) and ASTM In- ternational (which develops and publishes more than 12,000 consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems and services).
PPE manufacturers’ product test results should be referenced before selecting a product. A prod- uct’s compliance to a certain standard does not always translate into sufficient protection. It is critical for managers and buyers to review product test results to determine the likelihood of potential solutions genu- inely protecting their workers from injury.
Standards continue to be revised based on shift- ing demands and new technologies. Prior to the publication of ANSI/ISEA 138 in 2019, there were clear expectations for industrial gloves’ ability to protect against cuts, punctures, abrasion and chemi- cal exposure, but there weren’t any PPE standards to evaluate the performance of back of hand impact pro- tection. The development of back of hand protection standards and further mitigation of hand-related in- juries began in 2016 by an ISEA specialist workgroup comprised of seven major glove manufacturers; a ma- terials expert, and a medical professional specializing in plastic and reconstructive hand surgery.
Standards are constantly changing, and it’s essen- tial that safety managers keep up with the new de- mands and technologies for their workers’ safety.
Managers play a critical role in shaping and adopting industry standards. A critical step in preventing injuries is for safety managers to stay in- formed of changes to PPE standards. ASTM Interna- tional operates an online platform, Compass, to sup- port the standards learning process.
Managers are also encouraged to participate in the development of standards by sharing their experi- ences and insights with ASTM International in order to keep PPE guidelines as effective as possible.
Bill VanMullekom is the Executive Vice President of D3O. REFERENCES
1. faq/what-is-a-standard/
2. North America & Europe Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Distribution Market Analysis by Product, By End-use. And Segment Forecasts, 2018-2025
sus and approved by a recognized body, that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for a product for common and repeated use.”1 Standards equip health and safety managers with tools to make informed choices about the right product for the job, verifying that a product is suitable for its intended purpose by establishing a baseline level of performance.
According to a report2 published in March 2019 by Allied Market Research, the North America PPE glove market was valued at $2.4 billion in 2017 and is estimated to reach $3.75 billion by 2025. This in- creasing level of investment from a growing number of PPE manufacturers and distributors means health and safety managers face a challenge to stay up to date—not only with a plethora of innovative new products, each making bold and sometimes unsub- stantiated claims, but also with the new and revised standards that regulate a particular sector.
To add a further level of complexity, there is something of an ‘alphabet soup’ of bodies represent- ing, monitoring and overseeing PPE standards. Even the best-intentioned health and safety manager can sometimes be excused for struggling to navigate this acronym-packed, PPE landscape. Below are five things health and safety managers should know about PPE standards:
A “voluntary” compliance framework is in the best interest of industrial workers. Top-down or academically driven standards can overlook the risks and realities workers face on a daily basis. Voluntary standards make health and safety managers account- able for choosing the best products in terms of design, durability, comfort, and cost for their teams’ needs. As a result, standards are adopted through a consensus of interested parties, such as manufacturers, consultants, end-users, academics and more.
Guidelines are available to help adequately pro- tect workers in hazardous environments. Without the reliability of enforced standards, managers and buyers run the risk of under-specifying PPE, leaving workers at greater risk of injury, or of over-specifying, which can incur unnecessary expenses. Of the many organizations developing industry standards, two of the leaders are the International Safety Equipment As-
10 Occupational Health & Safety | MAY 2020

   8   9   10   11   12