In November 2016, the standards for testing against mechanical risks were updated when the market saw a drastic need for improvement in the assessment of personal protective equipment. Since then, an abundance of information has circulated – long technical blogs and whitepapers that can be tedious to read. After the 2 year official transition period, SHOWA still sees a crucial gap in knowledge on the new cut levels for PPE gloves, and is launching a global strategy to help safety professionals and glove wearers make the right choice in hand protection.
A – F OR F – A? EDUCATION IS KEY
As of April 2018, the old PPE Directive has been replaced with a legally binding regulation. PPE can be certified under the old directive until April 2019, so like SHOWA, manufacturers have been busy re-certifying their products. For mechanical risks, this meant updating testing methods and reporting, to include the new ISO 13997 A –F markings.
“After all this time, our team is still frequently asked questions by end-users and safety managers, like: Which cut level is higher, ‘A’ or ‘F’?
This particular confusion comes from the lack of consistency with other alphabetically-graded standards. For example, energy usage levels have ‘A’ seen as the highest efficiency while ‘F’ is the lowest.” explains Sales Director EMEA, Tony Lynch.
He continues: “As manufacturers of hand protection, we feel it is OUR responsibility to educate safety professionals and users on the differences. We need to help them make well-informed decisions about protecting their workers from the risks involved in every type of application. By funnelling the mass of information into something clear, concise and at their fingertips, we believe we can achieve that.”
MAKING A CLEAR LINK BETWEEN CUT LEVEL AND APPLICATION
A MODERN, FORWARD-THINKING STRATEGY FOR CUSTOMERS
Due to the abundance of content available, instead of a typical whitepaper or blog post, SHOWA’s strategy takes a creative approach: A Cut Protection Guide that works as a poster for safety managers to hang up for their workers,designed so that the key information is visible to all. This guide will help readers navigate the changes to the new standards and enable them to make better choices about their cut protection needs. You will see the tests explained, how to read the results on your glove, and which cut level you need for the task at hand.
While the update to the norm aims to paint a more reliable picture of protection, it has come at a price for many PPE manufacturers whose products have been downgraded, for example, Cut Level C gloves to Cut B gloves. In foresight of this, SHOWA has already revised their global glove offering strategy to ensure users can rely on a SHOWA quality glove, no matter the application at hand.
Cut through the confusion by downloading SHOWA’s new Cut Protection Guide via the website (cutprotection.SHOWAgroup.eu/en) or ask one of our SHOWA representatives.