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Ballistic-Resistant Head Protection

A proposed ASTM specification will fill a need for a standard ensuring that protective helmets, particularly those used in law enforcement, are tested consistently.

Once approved, WK46152, Specification for Ballistic-Resistant Head Protection for Law Enforcement Applications, will provide government agencies with a means of establishing minimum performance requirements for protective helmets.

“Law enforcement officers require specialized head protection for a number of specific operational scenarios, such as tactical entry, crisis negotiation, active shooter response, motor patrol, watercraft operations and mounted patrol,” says ASTM member John Cronin, operations manager, PPE Lab, HP White Laboratory Inc. “The proposed standard applies to head protection used for high risk operations where firearms may be present.”

WK46152 will define a minimum set of characteristics that should be measured to evaluate the performance and suitability of protective head gear for law enforcement applications, including ballistic protection and disturbance control. The standard will be used primarily by law enforcement or corrections agencies to define purchasing requirements and will allow agencies to evaluate head protection from different manufacturers in a fair and consistent fashion.

Some of the specific performance features to be addressed in the proposed standard include the following:

  • Perforation resistance;
  • Backface deformation;
  • Blunt impact;
  • Chin strap retention;
  • Stability; and
  • Other performance criteria related to life-safety, quality, durability and function.

WK46152 is being developed by Subcommittee E54.04 on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), part of ASTM International Committee E54 on Homeland Security Applications. All interested parties, particularly individuals with experience related to field use or the evaluation of head protection, are welcome to join in the ongoing development of WK46152.

CONTACT Technical Information: John Cronin, HP White Laboratory Inc. • Cortland, N.Y. • Phone: 603-933-3768 | ASTM Staff: Rick Lake • Phone: 610-832-9689 | Upcoming Meeting: Jan. 26-28, 2015 • January Committee Week • New Orleans, La.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.