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What Are the American National Standards for Safety Gear?

Posted by Taylor Gowland on
What Are the American National Standards for Safety Gear?

Safety is a crucial part of any business. It's imperative for anyone who works in industrial, high temperature, or low-visibility conditions. These conditions can be dangerous, even deadly. As such, standards have been put in place for work safety gear and safety clothing. These standards are designed to keep teams who work in those conditions safer. It's important to understand, however, that not all work safety gear is made according to the American National Standards for personal protective equipment (PPE). The standards create a guideline against which safety clothing and gear are measured to determine if they provide at least the required minimum amount of protection. This protection is crucial since the lives and health of team members may rely on safety apparel and PPE providing adequate protection.

American National Standard for Eye and Face Protection

We rely heavily on our eyes to take in information about the world around us. Not only that, but our faces are highly sensitive areas. Damage to either the face or eyes can have a catastrophic impact on someone's life. As such, it's essential to make sure that eye and face protection equipment is up to the basic standards required to protect workers from the hazards they are likely to face on the job. If your workers have trouble with their eye protection fogging up, they should have eye protection that meets the anti-fogging standards added in the 2020 update. There are also standards for transmittance allowances, welding filter shades, and protection against droplets, splashes, and dust.

American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection

The head needs to be properly protected with work safety gear. More colloquially known as hard hats, industrial helmets are classified in the ANSI standard by types and classes. The different types and classes allow employers to select the appropriate head protection that best suits the needs of their workers. Some jobs demand more protection for the head from lateral impacts (Type 2), while others need top-only impact protection (Type 1). Products of both types are tested for impact attenuation and resistance to penetration. Type 2 industrial helmets are also tested for chin strap retention, off-center penetration resistance, and impact attenuation from side, top, front, and back impacts. While the types of head protection denote the impact they protect from, the classes of head protection indicate their electrical insulation capacity. There are three classes: Class G (general), Class E (electrical), and Class C (conductive). The first two must provide protection from 2,200 volts and 20,000 volts, respectively, while Class C offers no electrical insulation.

American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel

In low-visibility situations, it is still necessary to get work done. This leads to the need for high-visibility safety apparel. There are three performance classes of high-visibility safety apparel: Type O (off-road), Type R (roadway and temporary traffic control), and Type P (public safety activities). The different classes utilize different design attributes and numbers of visibility materials. Which one should be used by any given worker depends on the job they'll be doing and where they'll be doing it. It's the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure that each piece of safety work clothing has been tested by an accredited laboratory and meets the required standards.

American National Standard for Flame Resistant Clothing

Heat is another major concern for workers in a variety of industrial and high-temperature conditions. If teams will be exposed to high heat or flames, having access to flame-resistant clothing is a matter of necessity. Like virtually every other type of work safety gear, there are standards that flame-resistant clothing must meet. Those standards are set at different levels, allowing safety managers to choose the type of flame-resistant clothing that best protects their teams from the hazards to which they could be exposed. There are three classes of flame-resistant clothing: Class 125, Class 150, and Class 350. Class 125 must provide adequate protection from temperatures up to but not exceeding 125 degrees. Class 150 must provide adequate protection from temperatures up to but not exceeding 150 degrees. Class 350 must provide adequate protection from temperatures up to but not exceeding 350 degrees.


If you want to be a part of a successful business, worker safety must be first on your list of priorities. As a safety manager, you have a duty to ensure that your workers and teams have the proper safety clothing and work safety gear to get their jobs done without risking their lives or their health. That means understanding the American National Standards for safety gear to protect the eyes, face, and head, and for high visibility safety clothing and flame resistant clothing. In addition to being the right type or class of safety wear for the job, it also needs to be kept in good condition. 

Ensure that every one of your workers has the protective safety gear they need to do their jobs safely and that it's properly inspected, cared for, and maintained. You'll find it easier to comply with OSHA regulations, and you'll also be protecting the people who make it possible for the company you work for to exist and thrive. Contact Master Brands today to order your custom safety workwear and apparel!

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