glovesDetermined to end confusion over glove rating standards, the International Glove Association (IGA) has rolled out a new certification and standards program that will help manufacturers, distributors, and end users determine the correct performance standards for hand protection products.

Four years in the making, the IGA’s Certification and Standards 2012 Initiative Program was born out of the complexity and confusion surrounding glove testing methods, guidelines, and interpretations. These intricacies frequently result in the use of the wrong glove type for specific applications.

“In the hand protection marketplace, there’s a lot of confusion over the different standard ratings (CE and ANSI, for example), as well as how they are misused and miscommunicated to end users,” says Marty Shamis, IGA president. “Recognizing a need for leadership from the hand protection industry on this issue, the IGA staked out a leadership role on setting performance standards for attributes of hand protection and certifying available products to the established standards.”

Cut resistance has been a particularly onerous area for glove makers, sellers, and users. That’s because most applications requiring cut resistance are not set in controlled environments. For example, some applications have parts that are oily, have a serrated edge, or even involve hazardous conditions (such as sparks and flames). Due to these variables it’s crucial to not only set a minimum level or cut-test result as the selection criteria, but to also carefully examine the application and any extraneous hazards that may be present.

To gain an IGA Certification, the product must include both cut and abrasion testing under the supervision of the IGA.  Using the applicable TDM tester and the ASTM 05 protocol, the new IGA program certifies cut-resistant products and provides their performance rating based on the following result:

                 Lbs.                        Grams

Level 1     < 1.10                  < 500

Level 2    1.11 to 2.20           501 to 1000

Level 3    2.21 to 3.41         1001 to 1540

Level 4    3.42 to 4.72         1541 to 2140

Level 5    4.73 to 6.72         2141 to 3040

Level 6    6.73 to 8.72         3041 to 3940

Level 7    >8.73                   >3941

Development of the IGA’s new certification program centered around the core challenges created by a lack of North American testing and certification protocol for hand protection. “We were concerned about end user confusion over how the different standard ratings worked and what those standards really meant,” says Shamis. “North America needed a system to clearly provide comparable data on the performance level of hand protection products.”

As a knowledgeable organization, it made sense for the IGA to fill that void and create an accurate, standardized certification program that everyone can use and rely on. “The IGA has a firm grip on industry trends,” says Tom Ragan, president of Shelby Specialty Gloves, “while striving to improve hand protection with new glove testing and certification programs.”

About the International Glove Association

The IGA represents every facet of the hand protection industry, including glove manufacturers, distributors, importers and exporters, manufacturers' representatives, and suppliers. The organization’s deep roots can be traced to 1902, when the first glove association was formed. Since then this forward-thinking group has pioneered new marketing techniques, introduced technological innovations, and promoted the safety, health, and economic benefits of hand protection. The IGA works to increase public awareness, expand markets, and enhance the profitability of its member companies. It also speaks for its membership on legislative and regulatory issues of common concern and works with other industry groups to accomplish appropriate and mutual objectives. Visit the IGA online at