ANSI and ISEA issue new consensus standard for assessing the conformity of personal protective equipment [US]

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) created ANSI/ISEA 125-2014 in response to the globalization of the personal protective equipment (PPE) industry. According to ISEA, some newer manufacturers have labeled products as compliant with ANSI standards, but independent testing found that numerous products did not conform to the standards. ANSI/ISEA 125-2014 provides manufacturers with a certification to prove to purchasers that their products do in fact meet the required standards. End-users purchasing equipment certified under ANSI/ISEA 125-2014 can be assured that the equipment will provide the required protection for their employees.

ANSI/ISEA 125-2014 creates three conformity assessment levels. Level 1 is the least stringent method, which requires suppliers to test products in-house or at third-party labs. The supplier must provide a declaration of conformity with the standards. Level 2 requires suppliers to test their products in ISO 17025 facilities, whether in-house or third-party, and manufacture the products under an ISO 9001-registered quality system. To meet the new ANSE/ISEA 125-2014 standard, the supplier must provide a declaration of conformity with the standards. Level 3 is the most stringent method and requires third-party certification of the entire process from testing to surveillance. To meet Level 3, an accredited third-party certification body must certify and apply its mark to the products.The standard provides guidance, but no requirements, as to what level of conformity assessment should be applied to any particular product, hazard, or work environment. The standard suggests that the level of conformity assessment a purchaser should require when purchasing equipment include an evaluation of the risks associated with using products that do not meet the required performance standards. This evaluation should include the severity of injury or illness that may occur if the equipment does not perform as required and the likelihood that an injury or illness will occur. The guidance provides a description of the appropriate conformity assessment for PPE based on the European Directive 89/686.

Level 1 PPE is suggested for use where injuries are likely to be superficial or reversible. Level 2 is recommended for use when hazards may cause grave and irreversible injury or illness, and for which the PPE user is unlikely to detect a defect in time to avoid injury or illness. Level 3 is recommended for PPE when hazards may lead to death or grave and irreversible injury or illness.


ANSI/ISEA 125-2014, American National Standard for Conformity Assessment of Safety and Personal Protective Equipment

Sandy Smith, “ANSI and the International Safety Equipment Association Release Landmark Standard to Address Conformity of PPE,” EHS Today, February 10, 2014 (

Sandy Smith, “ISEA’s Shipp and Fargo Discuss New ANSI Equipment Assessment Standard,” EHS Today, February 11, 2014 (

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