Hypodermic needles pose a serious health and safety concern for domestic frontline professionals, such as private security, police and prison officers.
Being attacked by someone carrying a firearm or any type of edged weapon can be classed as facing a real problem, but within certain professions… coming in contact with blood-born pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C can potentially mean receiving the ‘death penalty’ and in my opinion this issue represents a much higher and more realistic threat.
There are of course many recorded incidents of HIV positive prisoners using a hypodermic needle as weapon, but the one which jumps into my mind right away is the one which occurred on 7th May 2010 when Deborah Smith assaulted a prison officer. You can view the news article HERE.
Despite the opinion of many other so called experts, there are needle puncture resistance standards out there, which might not be designed to test body armour against, but nevertheless can give professionals a very clear indication what level of needle protection a product offers.
I very much hope that you are fully aware of the fact that the UK Home Office SP1 test or certification does not include or cover needle protection. Please be aware of it!
ASTM (The American Society for Testing and Materials) has recently developed a new international standard, the ASTM F2878. This is a ‘Test Method for Protective Clothing Material Resistance to Hypodermic Needle Puncture’.
This test method evaluates puncture resistance of protective clothing materials which may include: plastics or elastomeric films, coated fabrics, flexible materials, laminates, leathers or textile materials.
Please note that of course no single standard can replicate the conditions in which a needle puncture takes place, but testing to such standard must be a good thing and will certainly eliminate some concerns a potential body armour wearer might have.
The EN 388:2003 (Protective gloves against mechanical risks) is another available test This is a test developed to verify the needle puncture resistance of gloves and has not been designed to test body armour, but again… it will indicate someone in need of needle protection that a specific product or material has been tested against a recognised standard and that it has passed such test.
If I personally would have to wear a protective piece of equipment or clothing in order to protect myself from certain threats inclusive needles, then I would prefer to know that a scientist or another professional expert had a look at it and states that it is as good as the manufacturer claims.
Even if none of the above test have especially been designed to test body armour… it is simply better than no test at all. For me it would be reassuring.
Every single body armour manufactured by PPSS Group is offering unrivaled protection from hypodermic needles and similar threats.