ANSI standards have crucial value to the safety programs used in a variety of industries nationwide.

ANSI standards have crucial value to the safety programs used in a variety of industries nationwide. Although consumers are not always familiar with ANSI standards, they protect the environment and people's health and safety. Plus, they ensure that different products are compatible under one set of instructions, making people's lives easier, safer, and more enjoyable.

The ANSI standards drive the decision-making and development of all personal protective equipment (PPE), so they deserve some time in the spotlight. This article will take a more in-depth look at the standards and how they serve such a critical role in protecting people at work.  

The Organization

What is ANSI? Founded in 1918, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a nonprofit organization that oversees and sets U.S. standards, conformity, and norms for products found in nearly every U.S. sector. 

The organization was initially called the American Engineering Standards Committee (AESC) and was primarily focused only on engineering standards. Then, in 1928, the organization was reorganized and named the American Standards Association. Over time, it developed partnerships with numerous global organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and was eventually renamed in 1969 to its current ANSI title.

Today, ANSI standards are present in virtually every industry and regulate standards and quality control in over 270,000 different companies, promoting U.S. safety standards worldwide.   

The Standards

What are ANSI standards? As ANSI explains in their literature, a standard is an agreed-upon way of doing something.  For PPE, this agreed-upon way ensures that the PPE workers wear, equipment designed to keep them safe, meets an adopted minimum standard and performance level. Those who work on the front line do not want to simply take a company's word that a protective device works. Instead, they want to know it meets specific performance requirements. ANSI standards provide:

  • A common language for all involved in bringing a product to market.
  • Compatibility of components, making them interchangeable. 
  • Established and specific levels of performance based on universal testing methods.
  • A method for verifying the suitability of a product in different environments.
  • Clearly identified requirements for government regulation.

One example of a current standard implemented for gloves is the new ANSI ISEA 138 impact standard. Before its adoption, companies and workers had thrown at them a new wave of gloves that incorporated impact-reducing material on the back-of-hand created by multiple companies. However, there was little guidance as to what different materials did and what protection they offered which, over time, led to increased confusion as numerous companies began developing impact gloves providing varying degrees of protection. 

Thanks to the new standard's ANSI publication, wearers can now choose gloves rated on an impact-protection scale from 1-3. Workers can do their jobs more confidently and focus on their tasks as they worry less about their hands' safety. Similar standards have been established around other glove performance areas, such as puncture, abrasion, and cut resistance. MCR Safety will cover each of these performance areas more in-depth below, but first more on the overall process itself.

American National Standards Process

ANSI does not create or even enforce standards (for example, OSHA enforces ANSI standards). They are simply the organization that develops and oversees ongoing collaborative partnerships between industries and the government to address specific standardization needs and identify gaps in existing standards. ANSI coordinates the work of the organizations responsible for developing and writing national standards. There are more than 240 ANSI-accredited standards developing organizations (SDOs), including groups like ASTM International, Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., NFPA International, and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA).  

ANSI's involvement in the initial process only ensures transparency and due process amongst all the different stakeholders. They work to create an open and transparent medium of communication and information exchange between the various parties involved in bringing a product or service to the market.

The four steps to getting a standard adopted are explained here.

Setting a standard initially begins when an industry works to determine specific, agreed-upon guidelines, requirements, and best practices around products produced for human use. For the impact glove standard mentioned above, a subgroup of the International Safety Equipment Association's (ISEA) hand protection group worked on developing a voluntary standard for over three years, starting in 2016. This work took place in conjunction with seven leading glove manufacturing companies. The guidelines set encompass all aspects of the industry, from the design, operation, manufacturing, and servicing of equipment pieces.  

Once a standard is agreed upon, ANSI then supports these voluntary standards to ensure that products from any company also meet the adopted standard and performance level. This requires the cooperation of technical professionals, companies, industry groups, academics, and government and consumer representatives. For the impact glove standard, final adoption took place in 2019. Once approved, an ANSI standard has a five-year duration, then must be reaffirmed every five years.  

PPE Standards

Why use ANSI standards for PPE? The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) recommends using ANSI standards for PPE in the workplace, ensuring workers are wearing protection that meets minimum performance and labeling requirements. For safety managers establishing a company-wide safety program, products' performance scores pave the wave for deciding what PPE is suitable for the hazards their workers face.

Testing: Gloves, Glasses, and Hi-Vis Garments

MCR Safety takes the guesswork out of determining how products perform by adhering to ANSI standards across their product lines. Below, they highlight each of the different criteria they utilize. 


American National Standard for Hand Protection 

  • Abrasion – Gloves are tested following the ANSI/ISEA 105:16 standard by utilizing the ISO 17025:05 accredited test. The purpose of testing for abrasion is to determine how well the glove material resists the loss of mass from rubbing against rough surfaces. A glove that holds up to abrasion is essential for those on a job site who handle abrasive objects like bricks and concrete.

Abrasion Taber Test Machine

  • Cut  ANSI/ISEA 105 uses a nine-level scale of cut resistance, which extends from zero to 6,000 grams and is based on the TDM method of testing that uses a tomodynamometer. The higher the weight required to cut the material, the higher the cut-resistance rating, and the safer workers are from super-sharp objects.

ASTM F2992-15 Cut Test Method

  • Heat  Conductive heat testing measures how long it takes a person wearing the PPE to feel discomfort and develop second-degree burns when exposed to a given temperature. The ASTM F1060-08 test method is used to determine heat-resistance levels from 0-5.

Conductive heat test using a sensor to determine heat energy transferred to the glove.

  • Puncture  MCR Safety's ITC Lab tests gloves to ANSI/ISEA 105-16 for puncture resistance. It utilizes Clause 6.4 of EN388:2003 as the test method to determine the amount of force exerted by a steel stylus to puncture a glove palm. Performance levels are awarded in accordance with an average number assigned to 12 test results.

Puncture-resistance test using a stylus pushed through the glove's material.

  • Tear   ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 provides performance data to assist users in making an appropriate product decision. For tear performance, testing is performed using EN 388-16 test methods, which determines the amount of force required to tear a glove.

Tear-Resistance Testing

Impact Protection

American National Standard for Performance and Classification for Impact-Resistant Gloves

Impact  ANSI/ISEA 138, in effect since 2019, establishes key requirements around impact gloves.  Here are the four mandates MCR mentioned in a recent article:

More specifically, 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 occupational tasks.”

  • 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

Watch a video highlighting this standard.


American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel 


  • Hi-Vis  To comply with ANSI/ISEA 107-2015, a garment's background material and retroreflective or combined-performance material must be tested by an accredited laboratory. The finished item manufacturer then verifies that the garment or headwear meets all the standard requirements and provides a Declaration of Conformity for each model.  



American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection 

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020, the sixth revision of the voluntary eye and face protection standard, establishes performance criteria and testing requirements for devices used to protect the eyes and face from hazards that can potentially cause eye injuries. It also clarifies testing consistency in applying dark-state tolerances for automatically darkening welding filters and determining the minimum coverage area of head forms while it expands welding filter shades.

You can read up more on this entire standard in MCR's article, Understanding ANSI Z87.1.

Previously Featured on MCR Safety's blog.

Talk to Us!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

MCR Safety has over forty years of experience as a leader in the field of personal protective equipment (PPE). Our assortment of offerings includes gloves, glasses, and garments which are made from the highest quality materials available to ensure maximum safety, comfort, and style.

Browse Products from MCR Safety

More on Regulatory Compliance

Read about the required supplies that must be included in first aid kits to comply with a new ANSI standard that went into effect October 15, 2022.

Research shows that cuts, punctures, and lacerations account for over 44% of hand injuries; therefore cut-resistant gloves are a must-have in industrial work. 

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is considering a rule requiring higher-risk businesses to report more details on workplace injuries.


Signing into Better MRO is easy. Use your username / password, or register to create an account. We’ll bring you back here as soon as you’re done.

Redirecting you in 5 seconds