Impact Gloves: What is the ANSI/ISEA 138 Standard?

Here’s what you need to know about the ANSI/IEA 138 standard as it relates to impact gloves.



Years back, the selection of work gloves available was far fewer and more for general purpose. Since the early 2000’s, industries have finally understood that safety gloves needed to account for all kinds of hazards. Cut resistant gloves, heat resistant gloves, and impact resistant gloves, suitable for different types of impact, have become more popular with more stringent standards. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 76% of hand injuries occur due to cuts and high impact.


You’re probably familiar with both the U.S. and European standards for industrial gloves that protect against cuts, punctures, abrasions and chemical exposure. These standards allow companies to properly compare products and find the best match for their specific application.


Related: Learn more about the North American Standard for cut-resistant gloves here.


Until a few years ago, there was no criteria to help assess the performance of gloves designed to reduce the risk of back-of-hand impact injuries. This scenario changed in 2016 when the European hand protection standard (EN 388) was updated to include the testing of impact gloves for the first time


Then in 2019, the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) established testing, classification and labeling requirements for products that offer dorsal impact protection. Here’s what you need to know about the ANSI/ISEA 138 standard as it relates to impact gloves.


Related: Watch the recent webinar our organization hosted with Bob Dale Gloves on the topic of ANSI/ISEA 138 here.


ANSI/ISEA 138 to Rate Products

This voluntary standard known as ANSI/ISEA 138, allows glove manufacturers to standardize what they are offering and end-users to begin comparing products on the level they are rated.


ANSI/ISEA 138 establishes minimum performance, classification and labeling requirements for impact gloves designed to protect the knuckles and fingers from impact forces while performing occupational tasks.


The goal is to evaluate impact gloves based on their ability to disperse impact forces on the knuckles and fingers and then classify them accordingly.


Performance Level Criteria

The new standard specifies three performance levels of impact protection that an impact glove will offer, ranging from level one for the lowest protection to level three for the highest protection from transmitted forces. The overall performance level of an impact glove reflects the lowest performance level recorded during the test.


For example, if the fingers and thumb only meet the performance level one criteria, but the knuckles get a performance level two rating, the impact glove will still be rated as performance level one.


Related: Which winter work gloves should you use for outdoor applications in the elements? Read our winter work gloves selection guide to learn more.


Testing Gloves Under the New Standard

ANSI/ISEA 138 also outlines test requirements, equipment and method, including preparation of samples and conditioning of the gloves. It defines specific test sites on the knuckles, fingers and thumbs. It also requires that the sites be marked on both the outside and back side of the glove.


The standard focuses on packaging, labeling and product marking on the glove directly. Gloves will be marked with a pictogram for each of the three levels.


Sites impacted during product performance testing are shown on the hand chart to the right. This chart shows the distribution of impacts over the knuckles, fingers and thumb.


Impact gloves ANSI/ISEA 138 Standards


A Range of Impact Injuries

Impact-related injuries can be anything from a bruise to the knuckles, to pinching of fingers between two pieces of equipment, to a severe bone fracture, and anything in between. According to an article in the June 2018 issue of Occupational Health & Safety, the oil and gas sector collected data from the International Association of Drilling Contractors. The data showed that finger injuries accounted for one-third of all injuries and almost 20% of lost-time injuries.


Areas of Potential Injury

·         Fingertips are commonly injured because they typically come in contact with every part of the work.


·         Knuckles are frequently impacted by things such as wrenches slipping or catching hands under the hood of a car.


The Benefit for Industries

The bones and tissues in the back of the hand are all vulnerable to impact injuries. In industries such as construction, mining, manufacturing, offshore oil and gas, warehousing and transport, care should be taken to protect the hands during work.


ANSI/ISEA 138 helps classify levels of impact protection and provides industries with the opportunity to select impact gloves best suited for the work needs and to reduce dorsal injuries.


What are the most popular styles of Bob Dale impact gloves the Conney Safety has to offer?

BDG® Cut-X5™ HPPE Nitrile Coated Gloves


These impact gloves feature a nitrile palm coating with textured finish to add a little friction and stick to your grip, even in slippery conditions. ThermoPlastic Rubber (TPR) on the back of the hand dampens impact to the knuckles and fingers. The 13-gauge high-performance polyethylene (HPPE) shell is designed to offer both flexibility and cut resistance.


·         The elastic knit wrist with hemmed cuff prevents dirt and debris from entering the glove

·         ANSI level A9 cut resistance

·         ANSI level 6 abrasion resistance

·         ANSI level 2 impact resistance

·         ANSI level 3 puncture resistance


BDG® Cut-X™ Goatskin Drivers Gloves


Grain goatskin leather gloves are soft and abrasion resistant, making it highly recommended for applications requiring tactile sensitivity. ThermoPlastic Rubber (TPR) on the back of the hand dampens impact to the knuckles and fingers. Gloves are further strengthened by the cut-resistant lining and reinforced thumb saddle.


·         Kevlar® stitching adds strength and burn resistance

·         Shirred elastic wrist with slip-on cuff allows for quick donning and doffing

·         Wing thumb improves comfort during open-handed work

·         ANSI level A5 cut resistance

·         ANSI level 2 impact resistance

·         ANSI level 3 puncture resistance


BDG® X-Site™ Synthetic Leather Performance Gloves


These synthetic leather performance impact gloves have an Aramid liner and ThermoPlastic Rubber (TPR) backing to provide superior cut and impact protection. Silicone grip gives better performance in wet and oily conditions. Gloves are touchscreen friendly and feature a spandex backing.


·         Synthetic leather palm

·         Foam padded palm

·         ANSI level A7 cut resistance

·         ANSI level 4 abrasion resistance

·         ANSI level 2 impact resistance

·         ANSI level 4 puncture resistance


Where can I purchase Bob Dale impact gloves?


Conney Safety and Bob Dale Gloves are proud to partner together to bring you a comprehensive line of impact gloves. You can also order from our complete supply of Bob Dale impact gloves at



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