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Impact Resistance

By: Tabitha Mishra
| Last updated: April 6, 2022

What Does Impact Resistance Mean?

Impact resistance refers to a material's ability to withstand sudden or intense force or shock. It is an important consideration in the design and selection of various types of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as:

In addtion to a level of protection, impact resistance also gives an indication of the durabiltiy of materials.

Safeopedia Explains Impact Resistance

Impact is one of the basic hazard categories and a common one across many job types and work tasks.

During a fall, for instance, a worker's body harness, lifeline, self-retracting lanyard, and anchor are all subject to high impact. Unless each of those components can withstand the force of tha timpact, the PPE cannot ensure the worker's safety.

While the inherent qualities of the material play a large role in determining a PPE's level of impact resistance, environmental factors like temperature can affect the amount of energy the material can absorb.

Impact Resistance for Face Protection

Safety glasses can be made with impact-resistant metal or plastic frames and fitted with impact-resistant lenses. To comply with the ANSI Z87.1 standard, they must also have side protection.

Likewise, safety goggles can provide impact protection while also creating a full seal around the eye to protect it from dusts, liquid splashes, and other hazards.

Impact Resistance for Foot Protection

Foot and leg injuries can result from impact from falling or rolling objects, crushing force, penetrating materials, and various other hazards.

Safety-toed shoes or boots are an effective to protect the most vulnerable portions of the foot from impact-related injuries. Metatarsal guards made of aluminum, steel, or plastic can also be strapped to the outside of the user's footwear to provide additional impact protection.

Impact Resistance for Hand Protection

Workers' hands can be particularly vulnerable to impact injuries, which can result in damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. To guard against this hazards, workers can wear safety gloves equipped with dorsal (back of hand) impact protection.

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) impact standard mandates four key requirements:

  • Defines an agreed test method
  • Includes three defined performance levels
  • Specifies a pictogram mark for each of the levels for compliant gloves
  • Requires products to be tested in a laboratory with a certificate of accreditation that meets the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017

Impact Resistance for Head Protection

Both Type I and Type II hard hats provide impact protection to the wearer. Type I hard hats, however, only provide impact resistance at the top of the head and are designed to protect against injuries from falling objects. Type II hard hats also provide protection at the sides of the head.

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PPEFall ProtectionHand ProtectionHand and Arm Protection

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