Compliant is not the same as certified. Gloves or for that matter any PPE that is certified has undergone a stringent – independently tested process. A lot of people don’t realise how lengthy and stringent the certification process takes.
What this process does, is covers the control points of the production process in the following ways:
|• Testing of the raw materials and components that are going to be used to create the product – including the point of their source.
• Inspection of the materials and components again – at the point of receiving said goods.
• Inspection and control of the manufacturing process. Including checking the correct stitching, thread and materials are used.
• Evaluation of the people’s skills who are in contact with the gloves during assembly and production.
• Inspection of every initial glove and then selective batch testing against the original glove intermittently thereafter.
If the above steps are taken, then the end user can have sound confidence in the products safety ability.Many gloves on the market claim that they comply with a standard – and sometimes they don’t say anything at all. When they do state compliance, a lot of the time the testing process has been undertaken either “in-house” or at a “non- accredited” facility.
Or in other words there is no control on the quality of the product or who is conducting the test.
When selecting Personal Protective Equipment (including gloves) what makes the certified product superior?
Selecting products that are certified to AS/NZS or other standards provides the wearer with the understanding that a high level of product quality is guaranteed. This is due to the strict and ridged validation process that the product has undergone through independent certification bodies such as SAI Global.
With so many options on the market, what are the risks involved when purchasing uncertified gloves?
The highest risk is that the gloves may not provide the protection for the reason that they were purchased or intended for. A lot of people don’t realise that when a glove (or any other product) is independently tested and certified – the level of certification accredited is actually what is call a minimum performance standard. What that means, is that any glove carrying that accreditation must meet or exceed the indicated performances within the standard.
So basically, if you purchase a glove that isn’t certified then it will most likely not provide the level of safety protection that you believe it should provide.
Richard Donarski – Health & Safety Team Leader – SAI Global
Richard Donarski has been a leader in the development of health & safety product standards for over 20 years. Richard is a Committee Member of various Australian Standards Committees and he has also represented Australia on a range of International (ISO) Standards Committees and European (EN) Standards Committees. Richard has also received awards for his development of standards from the New South Wales Government and Australasian Fire & Emergency Services Authorities Council.
In your experience, are you seeing a shift towards certified glove products?
I’m definitely seeing a drive towards people buying certified gloves – especially employers. The new OH&S laws are arguably having influence over this. These new laws make employers and to an extent the employees accountable for their PPE (including gloves) choices and inturn it is making everybody more aware of what is important when it comes to safety.