CASE STUDY: PERSONAL
PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
FOR PWC COMPETITION
Safety in Personal Water Craft Motorsports regarding the use...
CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: How Protective is PWC PP...
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fails, contact the company and or their representativ...
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Safety in Motorsports has an origin, and that is unfo...
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Let’s face the fear. Nobody wants to sustain a signif...
CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014
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The percentage of injuries for PWC competitors is app...
CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014
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There is some argument that devices can create a ‘ful...
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A few years ago lifejackets used to be called (PFD’s)...
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Chapter 2: BACK PROTECTOR
The most important question...
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confused by different impact energy requirements betw...
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Both BKS and T-Pro protectors and body armor are eff...
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DAINESE
Dainese doesn't tout or even mention CE appr...
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which could explain these differences.
The Warrior “...
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I have received confirmation from an X20 owner that ...
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This goes against all other information about the on...
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Frankly, I think that the “quality of your product” ...
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We have no standards for motorcycle gear in the Unit...
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REVIEW OF SAFETY STANDARDIZATION FOR BACK PROTECTORS...
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Jet Tribe-TsunJet Ski Deflector
Product Description ...
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KNOX CONTOUR BACK PROTECTOR
http://www.jazzmotorspor...
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Chapter 3: LEG PROTECTORS
Are there any ratings for ...
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Chapter 4: Neck Braces
“Fiine 2008: The MFF command ...
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I want to believe in neck braces. The theory behind ...
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American football experienced an unfortunate outcome...
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camera collecting data at 1000 frames per second is ...
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RESPONSE FROM LEATT CORPORATION
In our history there...
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Another challenge is that these documents are not ea...
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T, Barlow I, Matthews SJ, Smith RM. Spinal injuries ...
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Inverted Impact pendulum for unrestraint torso testi...
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Chapter 5: LIFEJACKETS
Impact reality, is your lifej...
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If you are using a ‘one size fits all’, you must the...
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The History of Underwriter Laboratories (UL)
History...
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Products certified to ULC Canadian requirements
PFDs...
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There are several classifications for ISO Approval:
...
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There are several classifications for CE Approval.
C...
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CHAPTER 6: HELMETS
Let’s check in with the helmet is...
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However, in 2005 an article in Motorcyclist magazine...
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Additionally, experience indicates there will be a n...
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These are the only revenues. Snell’s directors and s...
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing
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Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing

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Safety in Motorsports. Have you seen the F1 movie regarding safety in Formula one racing? That says it all. Or have you paid attention to the safety changes in NASCAR? Look at every motorsport and what do you see? The sport of PWC racing is far behind. Here are facts, studies and terminology to assist the layperson gain a better understanding of the PPE for competition. It is time to change, here is the first measure towards understanding what direction the sport should address, check out this informative booklet.

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Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Racing

  1. 1. CASE STUDY: PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR PWC COMPETITION Safety in Personal Water Craft Motorsports regarding the use of personal protective equipment is vital component of enjoying a competitive experience and should be regarded as top priority for participants to educate and inspect equipment and design features of product selection 2014 Booklet on PPE Safety Considerations
  2. 2. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 1 Table of Contents Chapter 1: How Protective is PWC PPE? – Page 2 Chapter 2: Branding Versus Testing – Page 6 Chapter 3: Back Protector – Page 8 Chapter 4. Review of Back Protector Standards – Page 17 Chapter 4: Leg Protectors - Page 20 Chapter 5: Neck Braces – Page 21 Chapter 6: Lifejackets – Page 29 Chapter 7: Helmets – Page 35 Chapter 8: Cameras – Page 61 Final: About – Page 64 CASE STUDY - PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) IN MOTORSPORTS HOW PROTECTIVE IS PERSONAL WATERCRAFT PPE? Chapter 1: The Realities, Needs and the Myths of PPE Safety Shawn Alladio – Water Safety PWC Subject Matter Expert (SME) Historically PWC competitive associate bodies have failed to address safety in motorsports concerns related to track safety and personal safety of competitors and teams. What does this mean? Other power sport governing bodies and promoters have addressed safety concerns of their track design, staff, equipment standardization and apparel needs, usually because of dissatisfaction from members or an increase in injury/accidents. This includes the accessories that are utilized for safety or impact related incidents and not limited to the environmental changes occurring during various methods of competition. While there have been meetings and discussions which have not amounted to any official direction or amendments regarding scientific reviews, there still have to date neither been a panel of experts that addresses the PPE concerns of PWC competitive operations. Personal watercraft race teams and participants are the core value supporters of the sport. They care about their sport and invest readily into its competition spirit and supporting companies whom produce quality products they can utilize to achieve their best performance. This is an essential partnership bond. Read all the operational instructions, owner’s manuals and stay current on product recalls and notices. You will have to update and replace your gear as needed. This booklet will assist the reader in making sound judgment and selection respective to PWC required and recommended safety gear. When all else
  3. 3. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 2 fails, contact the company and or their representative directly to clarify your inquiry, best source is the manufacturer for updates. PWC participants at special events are passionate about their sport. They will produce only what is required or recommended by governing bodies. The majority are committed to the sport, however we have seen an extensive downturn in racing participation the past few years. Those that have remained are funding the sport with their participation. They want to do better and expect the same for their sport leadership. In an effort to support their pursuit of competitive excellence but not at the expense of ignoring safety inspections, values and product design claims that do not support real world test evaluations or theory this study was conducted with current information. Reference links are provided throughout the booklet for personal review. The teams decide what they are willing to employ and place in use. In partnership we will further advance the level of professionalism for safety in PWC events and we believe this booklet will enhance the educational knowledge and what standards are current or what standards are non-existent in exoskeleton protective devices. We are reliant upon their input and experience and will do our best to seek counsel and support from industry subject matter experts in the motorsports field in the hope that water contact evaluations are placed in proper perspective for evaluation. PIT CREW SAFETY Have you ever heard a discussion relative to your pit crew, such as the person you employ as your ‘Holder’? Pit Crew and Holder safety are equally as important to the success of any event. “Since 2002, NASCAR has implemented a rule where all over the wall pit members are required to wear helmets, no visors needed, full fire suits, and gloves; while the gas man must wear a fire apron as well as the suit. While it is not required yet, it is recommended that tire changers wear safety glasses to prevent eye injuries from lug nuts thrown off the car and fuel spills. Some tire changers wear face shields or goggles”.
  4. 4. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 3 Safety in Motorsports has an origin, and that is unfortunately derived from the loss of life at an event. Tragic circumstances have driven the need for better safety measures. Unfortunately in the PWC field, these incidents have not been tested, and we are not willing to endure any tragic circumstances related to a lack of safety in racing. As a leader in safety I have set firm standardization and best practices for our water rescue element, however it is very difficult to find the fact from fiction regarding PPE. We expect our teams and race members to enforce and insure that when they come to a race track they are prepared and ready to do their job with the highest level of professionalism known in this sport. COMPARATIVE SAFETY STUDY F1 car racing suffered many horrific race deaths. The idea was not to race and die, it was to race for as long as possible. Once the sport took responsibility, the attitude changed. It was then that the safety in motorsports was awakened. NASCAR was next. When NASCAR began applying safety in their motorsport they address several identifiable criteria: 1. Track Design 2. Safety Response and Staff Measures 3. Competitor Personal Protective Equipment 4. Vehicle Design and Modifications Safety in NASCAR has evolved into one of the biggest concerns in the sport of NASCAR. Mainly after the death of Dale Earnhardt, a seven time Winston Cup Series champion, NASCAR has decided to change all of their safety policies, such as the use of the HANS device. Since 2001, NASCAR has also changed the cars for the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series. NASCAR's safety policy includes the racing fire suit, carbon fiber seating, and roof flaps. They looked at historical data regarding other race track fatalities. They addressed the increased speed of the race vehicles to track design and conditions. They look at the common denominator of crashes, fires, survivability and safety for the responders and pit crew members.
  5. 5. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 4 Let’s face the fear. Nobody wants to sustain a significant traumatic injury. Companies recognize the need to supply product that supports reduction of this concern by designing products that can assist in collisions or accidents. But how are they evaluated and tested for safety ratings that produce results? Everyone will have an opinion or a commentary to supply. They will be backed by personal experience, listening to their peers, or the marketing promises of products. When it gets down to it, we need to address the core realities of design, function and features applied to these realities. Until the PWC community equipment designers are prepared to present their products for professional testing, it is safe to say we maintain no true safety record that can prove these products are preventable measures. Needless to say, this does not mean one will not wear or support products for bracing or impact. We will not endorse products that have not undergone thorough testing and evaluation with an approval from a recognized authority. In the meantime we strive to educate, inquire and observe what the best practices and trends are in current production and we will apply ourselves as those products are revealed that match standardization for the best coverage and continue to share the dialogue and results. Participant Injury Concerns Cervical spine injuries are often due to hyperextension (head moves backward and the back of the head touches the upper back) and hyper flexion (head moves forward and chin touches chest).  Blunt Force Trauma  Cervical Injury  Spinal Injury  Head Injury The top five Personal Watercraft Competition Injuries are related to the extreme body stress with the forces of action and vessel technical handling of the operator(s) and risk of injury during competition and practice (training).
  6. 6. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 5 The percentage of injuries for PWC competitors is approximately 90% have sustained some form of injury. Since injuries are so common many operators expect to receive at injury of varying degree at some time, from minor contusion, concussion or fractures of bones or torn musculature or ligaments/tendons. The majority of these injuries occur during a fall onboard or overboard or a crash in competition or practice. The speed of the vessel. Loss of temporary vision is a contributing factor. Contact with the water surface or another vessel and the resultant forces are high, injuries can be extremely serious in nature. More men are injured than women during competitions. A majority of PWC related injuries are typically sustained by newcomers to the sport and most are lower limb extremity injuries. The majority of injuries on a race track occur at the start to first turn buoy (generally a left handed turn) at a turn that has a higher degree of bend in its arc. Also when the weather and water conditions decline from flat or calm water conditions to increased water movement. Accidents can also occur from the trailing wake of another vessel that draws or drafts the centerline keel of the following PWC into a offset track line. Since there are no brakes it is imperative that competitors have a thorough understanding of water movement and their hull configuration with speed applied and the forces of action taking place to make the best technical applications possible. Landing from jumps also creates a higher risk of injury.
  7. 7. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 6 There is some argument that devices can create a ‘fulcrum’ point that actually increases the risk of a fracture or break depending upon the location, amount of forces applied and the type of product in use. Due to the risk of injury in personal protective equipment is essential as operator maintains positive efficiency of balance, physical conditioning and vessel control. These are taken from a poll online regarding Closed Course racing, offshore/endurance racing, or freeride/freestyle formats regarding stand-up, sport and runabout type of watercraft. They are not broken down by vessel type or activity but used as a general overall consensus 1. Broken Ribs 2. Broken Tibia/Fibula/femur (Leg injury) 3. Broken wrist 4. Lacerations (sutures) 5. Fractured Pelvis/Hip injury These injuries reflect the transvers plane of the body folding forward while underway on plane generally resulting in forward impact with their Personal Water Craft of from impact collision of another PWC striking them. Freeride/freestyle injuries typically result in offset body trim landings or striking the hull with their head. Injuries have also been sustained by spectators and media representatives who are in dangerous areas off the track standing in waist deep water due to strikes from race boats. Or from standing behind the starting line when they are struck by the jet thrust water stream, which may include small pebbles or rocks. BRANDING VERSUS TESTING Most of the standards employed in this booklet are derived from the motocross industry examples mainly because there are no current PWC studies to apply. The motocross examples are not water related, tested or vetted through our aquatic oriented activity, which has a different measure of risk and impact. There are currently no standards or testing procedures necessary to call a piece of cardboard "the best protection system on the planet" in the United States. It seems ridiculous to buy gear based on marketing hype, sponsorship deals, rumors, arbitrary crash experience, looks, feel, and name recognition. Real, factual scientifically derived numbers should be the first reason for buying a piece of "protective" gear, unless it simply makes you ‘feel better’. Confidence itself can also go a long way, along with proper handling of a PWC underway not limited to physical fitness levels and a positive sportsmanlike manner. When a company issues in their branding or marketing sales pitch a blanket statement and or assumptions back up with zero safety or medical evaluation, this can prove dangerous.
  8. 8. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 7 A few years ago lifejackets used to be called (PFD’s) Personal Flotation Devices. The common term now is to use ‘lifejacket’ so those who use them realize the relationship to ‘life saving’ for practical use. Regarding lifejackets, there used to be 100 to 50 miles per hour impact ratings that were quickly endorsed in the boating safety community. Lifejackets are your single most important safety item. This was a great idea for the consumer so they would realize that their lifejacket at falls averaging those speeds would not break apart of create a failure ensuring they would stay intact. This did not ensure that the person wearing them would not suffer any injury. The problem is the assumption of an ignorant or uneducated user believing this would prevent injury. The terminology is no longer a factor in sales due to the ignorance of the user believing this would prevent injury at high speed falls into the water. It does our community no good will to make assumptions and not to address safety concerns regarding PPE. Consumer products should be reviewed by a team of orthopedic physicians and biomechanics experts to determine the viability of product design, construction materials and safety claims. That is what standardization requires, effect and professional testing regarding impact and the forces of action applied. We will follow online dialogue that asks the questions regarding protective personal equipment. Although we have no studies or evaluations conducted by authorized testing organizations for PPE that are sold within the Personal Watercraft industry, we are forced to delve into what other motorsports have been experiencing. Through this research we begin to discover that there is a common thread of concern. There are no products currently for waterborne speed events select for PWC use that are tested and endorsed by any governing or sanctioning safety board or medical review. It can be very confusing, but after some discussions and some simple research I have found a few companies that offer CE certified back protectors and specify compliance with the proper back protector standards (MOTOCROSS ONLY). The standard establishes a unified testing procedure to be used by clothing or protector manufacturers who intend to have their products qualified for sale in Europe and who want to offer their protective wear in all countries of the European Union. The result of this testing procedure determines whether manufacturers can market the protective equipment as "protectors" or simply "protective padding". All of the certified back protectors are only good for a single-use due to the structure and/or crushable materials used to absorb impact, though a few offer better protection for multiple impacts during a crash. Types of compression due to hyperextension and hyper flexion 1. Wedge compression fracture is caused by the result of hyper flexion 2. Burst compression fractures are caused by vertical and little horizontal movement and descend squarely onto the head 3. Garden-variety compression fractures are the most common http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/824380-overview Regardless of all the chatter, commentary and theory do not result in reality. The only true markings of product testing will be those who are authorized by a scientific group of applied sciences, checks and balances comparing various brands and their claims.
  9. 9. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 8 Chapter 2: BACK PROTECTOR The most important question I offer for discussion to a medical board would be should these devices be worn ‘over’ a lifejacket or ‘under’ a lifejacket? Which would increase coverage or decrease coverage due to risk of impact? Does this mean that the lifejacket should be replaced upon a strike along with the back protector? Who will be responsible for inspections and maintenance? Most of the CE certified back protectors employ some sort of deformable aluminum honeycomb to handle the impact energy. In most cases these are one use devices. This means you need to destroy them after a strike or any direct impact. There is also some debate as to the value of a back protector as most back injuries in motorcycle accidents seem to come from flexion or torsion to the trunk of the body and not impact strikes. There is no study of water use applications during motorsports events on the water, so we only have land based comparisons. The CE BACK PROTECTOR standard is labeled EN1621-2. The test is performed with a 5kg “kerbstone” dropped from one meter to create the test impact force of 50 Joules The standard contains two levels of energy transmission performance. 18kN passes LEVEL 1 "basic" compliance and 9kN passes LEVEL 2 "high performance" compliance. So LEVEL 2 protectors allow 50% less energy to reach the spine/ribs. The CE LIMB/JOINT PROTECTOR standard is labeled EN1621-1. It allows joint/limb armor to transmit no more than 35kN of force for all levels. Both of the CE body armor standards (back or limb) use the same amount of energy as a starting point, 50 joules. However, limb/joint armor ratings are based on performance at an initial force of 50 joules, 75 joules, or 100 joules, leading to 3 levels of performance within this standard. All 3 levels allow no more than 35 kN of energy to transmit: LEVEL 1 (50 joules), LEVEL 2 "high performance" (75 joules), and LEVEL 3 "extreme performance" (100 joules). “Astrene” gel/foam is the highest rated material used in body armor (extreme performance level in 8mm non-perforated thickness), followed closely by varying thickness and perforated forms of “Astrosorb”, and T-Pro’s four layers of “Armour-Flex” material. http://www.pva-ppe.org.uk/ PART%203...20EXPLAINED.html Here's an excerpt from the link above with an explanation of the current CE Back Protector Standards: "There has been criticism of the standard from medical experts who consider the transmitted force levels too severe; citing decades of automotive research which indicates 4 kN is the maximum force the brittle bones which form the human ribcage can withstand before they fracture. Four kiloNewtons is the requirement adopted in standards covering, for example, horse riders' body protectors and martial arts equipment.” Attempts to reduce the transmitted force requirement to 4 kN and to correspondingly reduce the 50 Joule impact energy requirement were strongly resisted by industry, who claimed consumers would be
  10. 10. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 9 confused by different impact energy requirements between EN1621-1 and EN1621-2. In truth, it was in the industry's commercial interests to test both types of protector at 50J, since they could then extol the efficacy of back protectors which, when struck with the same impact energy as limb protectors, transmitted only 9 or 18 kN compared to 35 kN. The consumer would be unaware that subtle differences in the impactor and anvil were responsible, and still less aware that 9 kN was still more than double the safe limit supported by medical experts. Furthermore, during the late 1990s, some companies had used the wholly inappropriate EN 1621-1 to CE mark their back protectors. Commercial objectives were given priority over consumer safety. Despite these concerns, EN1621-2 represents a starting point from wholly unsafe products should be rendered obsolete and unsellable. It will be important, however, for consumers to ensure back protectors are marked with the correct standard number, if they are not to mistakenly purchase an old stock. Finally, there are a small number of back protectors on the market which have been dual-tested against the requirements of EN1621-2 and also against a 4 kN transmitted force requirement. Reading the manufacturer's technical information will disclose which the superior products are.” Don't we only wish that was true. So there are two levels that are considered passing, but both of these levels fall within that 1621-2 back protector standard. However, 4kN is the medically recommended level of transmitted force, but is NOT actually required by the current CE back protector standard, and most protectors cannot provide this level at the 50 Joule impact level. Keep in mind that when a protector is just labeled as CE Approved, and no mention is made of the level of performance, it probably implies Level 1 compliance, but the claim should be verified (European sold models must comply by law). Here's a list of all of the back protectors I have found (BUT IS NOT ALL INCLUSIVE, TECHNOLOGIES HAVE CHANGED AND COMPANY DESIGNS), starting with the LEVEL 2 rated protectors, followed by some LEVEL 1 protectors, and finally by those that are NOT RATED and/or offer no performance data or verification of claims: BKS is the only motorcycle clothing manufacturer that offers back protectors that meet the medically established 4kN energy transmission level with their Astroshock model protector. BKS also offers limb/joint armor that meets the CE 1621-1 standard's highest rating, the "extreme performance" energy absorption level (35kN@100J). They seem to have the right attitude and the highest quality merchandise available, but they are also THE most expensive producer of leather motorcycle apparel on the planet. Should we really have to pay $3000.00 for the kind overall protection we need? Nobody else claims suits that are 100% CE approved as a whole (abrasion, tearing, seam burst, and impact). Why is there only one manufacturer willing to meet the baseline testing requirements and apply for certification? It’s a sad statement about level of respect we are shown as consumers by the majority of gear manufacturers. http://www.bksleather.co.uk/techno.htm T-Pro offers similar products, their website is full of good info and their products clearly stand-out as the highest-rated in crash protection.
  11. 11. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 10 Both BKS and T-Pro protectors and body armor are effective for multiple impacts during a crash event, and are made with no hard plastics which should be much more comfortable and is potentially safer than products made with hard materials. The most interesting piece of info from the T-Pro Body Armor site: "Back Protection for Motorcyclists--Only a few motorcyclists receive a direct blow to the spine causing serious injury; more spine injuries are probably due to direct blows to the shoulders and hips. The products commonly known as motorcyclists back protectors, if correctly designed and constructed may alleviate some minor direct impacts on the back, but will not prevent skeletal or neurological injuries to the spine in motorcycle accidents." It appears that most riders’ assumptions about the use and effectiveness of back protection is more than even the highest rated protectors can live-up to in actual performance. This information won’t stop people from purchasing a back protector, but it certainly gives us a better understanding of what to expect at current levels, so as not to be fooled by stories or sales pitches to the contrary. Is minimizing spinal, scapular, rib, and kidney bruising worth the cost of most of these protectors? Most would agree with that statement. T-Pro's Forcefield back protector is CE certified to the 1621-2 LEVEL 2 standards, making it one of the few that advertises meeting this higher level. They also claim that the "Armour Flex" material will absorb multiple impacts with the same effectiveness. However that doesn't necessarily mean that it should be used again after a crash, but, just like a helmet, it will protect against second or third blows in the same area in a crash. T-Pro also makes a chest protector/harness system, the 8100 harness, that they say conforms to the 1993 Swedish Off-Road Standards. I’m not familiar with the requirements for that certification. I would assume that off-road standards wouldn’t be ideal for street-speed impact protection, and I would consider 1993 to be archaic in terms of technology and materials advancements. How stringent that standard is, and if it applies favorably for street protectors? Johnson Leather, in the U.S., sells the T-Pro Forcefield products, as well as what looks to be the BKS "Astroshock" back protector inserts under their own name, and BKS now also sells a re-badged version of the T-pro Forcefield protector as well. http://www.tprobodyarmour.co.uk/ff_back.html http://www.johnsonleather.com/armor/
  12. 12. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 11 DAINESE Dainese doesn't tout or even mention CE approval anywhere on their website, but I did manage to find some info on the Dainese protectors from MotoLiberty's website. Dainese makes quite a few different models, not all advertise the same levels of protection, but most appear to be certified. They use an aluminum honeycomb structure, similar to the Knox protectors. "The Dainese folding back protector--Paraaschiena Ripegabile, is made with a hard plastic tortoise-shell type construction. It has an optimum shock absorption capacity which easily superseded the tough test at the highest level, EN1621-2 LEVEL 2." It also has the added convenience of being foldable for storage. The Dainese Wave 2 protector is CE rated LEVEL 1. The BAP protectors are also CE approved, LEVEL 1. The Back Space and Gilet Space models are also CE approved to the LEVEL 1 standard, passing with 15kN of transmitted force in tests. http://www.dainese.it http://www.motoliberty.com/prod_detail.asp?ProdID=34 Knox was the first company to apply for CE approval for their KC protectors back in 1997, under the previously established limb/joint protector standards (EN1621-1). For a while, Knox was the only company that offered a certified protector. All of the Knox protectors are approved to the current and proper 1621-2 standard (Level 1). They claim to surpass the basic requirements, but not higher level compliance. They offer the largest coverage area of any of the protectors available with all of their models. The Stowaway model is flexible enough to roll-up for convenient storage, and comes with its own storage bag and is still approved to the LEVEL 1 standard. http://www.planet-knox.com/Knox/index.asp Alpinestars states that their Tech Protector and RC back pad inserts are EN1621-2 approved (LEVEL 1). http://www.alpinestars.com/_lp/moto_protection.htm Spidi offers two families of back protector options, the Airback and Warriors. The Airback protector is CE Level 1 approved according to the Italian Spidi website. However, SpidiUSA doesn’t mention any of this info. The European versions are updated and not yet available in the U.S
  13. 13. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 12 which could explain these differences. The Warrior “mid” and “low” options are LEVEL 1 approved, but offer very little coverage area, focusing on the lumbar region with no shoulder blade coverage. Spidi touts the Airback protector as being more effective because of its shoulder blade coverage and the nature of most initial crash impacts hitting the shoulder blade region. It is also confusing with the standard and compact Warrior protectors. I noticed a difference the photos of the Spidi Warrior protectors on the Spidi USA website vs. the Italian site (English version). The US website shows a Warrior protector that looks different than the Warrior protectors on the Italian website. Again, I was told that the European version is updated and not yet available in the U.S which would explain these differences. Both Spidi websites state that the regular and compact versions of the Warrior are compliant with the CE Directives for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), which have nothing to do with the actual testing performance or standards for the equipment. The Directives are simply an ethics code and basis for testing procedures and standards operations. This is a very misleading statement regarding the effectiveness of these products. Have they been properly tested and certified to the EN1621-2 standard? It certainly doesn’t appear that way. http://www.spidi.it/spidi-jsp/index.jsp?lang=en http://www.spidiusa.com/Category.php...ory=protection http://www.ce-marking.org/directive-89686eec-PPE.html The Giali protector claims CE approval. No mention of level. It is a European model, so it is probably properly approved to the LEVEL 1 standard. http://www.motorcycle-uk.com/giali/G...rotectors.html Clover, another European brand, has a couple of models specified to meet LEVEL 1 standards, no word of availability of Clover protectors in the U.S. http://www.bbbikeshop.co.uk/acatalog...ctors_329.html Kobe back protectors claim CE approval as well, but no mention of which standard or level. http://www.1888fastlap.com/kobe_fast...ck_protect.htm Fieldsheer makes claims in their marketing copy for the X20 back protector that leaves the specifics to the imagination by not directly referring to the standard that their protector has passed. "The X20 back protector provides protection internally using a new "honey comb" plastic core, proved to exceed all European CE standards." Maybe I'm over-analyzing, but if you read it carefully, what is that really saying? Has it been certified? Has it been tested as a whole? Is the design or the final product proven to CE levels? All CE standards?
  14. 14. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 13 I have received confirmation from an X20 owner that it is properly rated to the 1621-2 LEVEL 1 standard. Not the best, as they make it sound, but properly rated and certified nonetheless. It would have been easier, if they just would have stated that in their ads. www.fieldsheer.com Helimot carries a German brand of protectors, Erbo. The models on Erbo’s own website are shrouded in a Cordura cover. I don’t know if they are the same models sold by Helimot, but Erbo states that those protectors are CE LEVEL 1 approved. Helimot has an interesting theory behind their TLV protector, but makes no claims of protection (It’s an American market product). I have heard stories of the owner of Helimot performing "real world" tests with a hammer for skeptics. Uh sorry, I'd rather have repeatable measurements than seat-of my-pants guesses at what crash forces are going to feel like. These dramatic exhibitions should be saved for differentiating the meaning of the data, rather than basing your presumptions of efficacy on them. http://www.helimot.com/catalog/other...tlv_data.shtml http://www.helimot.com/catalog/other...ack_data.shtml Knox makes reference to improper use of CE claims by other companies. They don't name names, but it appears to be in response to Bohn's non-certified CE labeling practice. Bohn uses a CE label without actually being certified. Bohn also does not specify which standard they are referring to in their marketing statements of "exceeding CE specs" or "built to European CE standards". An article on the British Motorcycle Federation website implies that unnamed companies are being sued for improperly using the CE mark and not complying with the proper specs for back protectors. I cannot find any actual information that directly refers to Bohn or the standards that Bohn allegedly meets or exceeds. http://www.bmf.co.uk/briefing/index....ef24.inc.shtml Bohn lists the Pro-Racer protectors as being "made to European CE standards", though they have NOT actually been certified. Is Bohn referring to the correct back protector standard when they make this claim? Well, Bohn’s claim was not only made prior to the existence of the 1621-2 back protector standard, but they have still refused to submit for proper testing and certification. Bohn makes no certification, rating, or other protection claims with any of the Carbon/Kevlar models or the Pro-Racer Motard version, and offers no performance data or levels or verification of protection for those model either. The Bohn X-Ploit chest and back harnesses claim to be "made to the Scandinavian Off-road Protection Standard." No word on whether these protectors are actually certified to that standard either. I don't know too much about the Swedish(Scandinavian) off-road standard, but it was instituted in 1993 and is probably not at the current level required by CE for street use items. Bohn's website offers no specific information regarding which CE specs are being met and how it is being proven. I find this claim to be blatantly deceptive and deceitful. Such claims should be backed-up with formal proof. Any company that tries to tag-on to safety standards and markings without actually providing open evidence or paying for the right to market its products using the standard is not selling in good faith. The other claim by Bohn is that their protectors can be used for multiple crashes.
  15. 15. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 14 This goes against all other information about the only materials in use that will absorb the necessary amount of energy to meet the 1621-2 standard. So far, there are no companies that meet the proper standards without using materials that permanently deform after a crash impact or multiple impacts during a single crash, just like helmets. But they do offer-up some gems, like this quote from Eric Bostrom: "After testing at the Jan 2000 Laguna Shakedown Eric reported: '...really comfortable, and made me feel safe on the bike' " Boy that was convincing, haha. Yes, that is the entire testimonial. http://www.bohnarmor.com/bohnarmor/index.asp http://www.actionstation.com/proracer.html Impact Armor claims their protectors are "Designed to exceed ALL European CE specifications for armor", but are NOT actually CE certified and do not provide any performance data either. The CE had not introduced the 1621-2 back protector standards at the time that statement about the "design" was originally published. There is no reference to the proper standard, and the lack of open proof leaves that statement worthless. Impact Armor relies on testimonials from unpaid professional racers, but nothing in the way of proven results of crash worthiness or protective levels in their marketing or correspondence. I had email correspondence with Michael Braxton, owner of Impact Armor. He seemed friendly, but unwilling to divulge any real information about how his Impact Armor protectors have performed in tests. In fact, I got the gist that they haven't been tested at all or at least in the current form. He focuses on theory and a “patented design“, but the design and theory need to be proven by repeatable testing of a final product to be worthwhile. In fact, in Mr. Braxton’s allusions to CE, the website states that “prototypes were submitted for testing to the Cambridge Institute in Britain”. Results of these “prototype” tests are not shown, and the assertion is qualified by a statement about a 6-year long “wear ability program” as if they were the same issue. Also, the “patented design” is not in reference to a protective feature, but a convenience feature that allows disposal and replacement of damaged components after an impact-use. A patent doesn’t say anything about the design’s effectiveness. This all amounts to a lot of hype without actually saying anything substantial about the actual crash-worthiness of the product. I inferred that these theories were tested in the early '90s while working with T-Pro. I don't know the complete history of T-Pro and Impact Armor or Michael Braxton, but I am leery of his evasiveness and lip service to safety and standards in our correspondence, though his intentions did sound sincere at times. However when it comes to safety, somebody's sincere intentions won't buy a cup of coffee. One statement he made did bother me though: According to Braxton, “Frankly, the cost, time and bureaucracy to obtain CE certification is just not worth the hassle... And if you did subject yourself to the process, the quality of your product is treated no differently than the others.…”
  16. 16. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 15 Frankly, I think that the “quality of your product” would be revealed by performance testing. What does he really mean by that statement? Does it sound arrogant or just ignorant? Either way, it’s certainly laughable. Apparently it’s less of a hassle to claim something meaningful without paying for its use, but he is certainly willing to reap the benefits of the association. According to Paul Varnessy, head of PVA Technical File Services, “It actually costs less to test and certify a motorcycle suit than it does the average pair of safety shoes - as proven by the fact that the first companies to achieve EC type approval were the small, UK manufacturers of bespoke motorcyclists’ clothing.” www.impactarmor.com Teknic makes no specific claims of protective levels or performance results with their 4 or 7 link protectors, but they also sell the CE approved Knox back protectors. http://www.teknicgear.com/pages/coll.../4_7_link.html http://www.forcefieldbodyarmour.com/product/extreme-harness-adventure/2347 Joe Rocket's website says very little about their GPX back protector. It is NOT shown to be CE certified. It is, however, made with the same material that BKS uses in their body armor, "Astrosorb", one of the highest-rated foams used in LIMB/JOINT armor, but make no reference to the thickness used or performance results, just that it is one-piece. Other companies have stated that Astrosorb alone will not meet the CE back protector standards. http://www.joerocket.com/catalog/ite...roducts_id=233 The NJK, another American model that offers nothing about protection levels or certifications: The Italian made UFO back protectors. Don't know about their availability in the U.S., or certification, but they are likely properly approved as a European product. There are plenty more out there, the important thing is to know what to look for before you spend any more money thinking you have the safest possible piece of equipment. In the end you have to ask yourself just how much limited personal experience, limited arbitrary crash experience, limited knowledge of the real forces at work in any crash story, and the beliefs of others in what they have heard through the grapevine will get you the right answers. The problem with any of that information is that it is never complete or accurate, no matter how well- intentioned it may be. Is any of this sort of speculation going to satisfy your motivation to part with your money? What information will provide you with the safety expectations you have decided are appropriate? The need for a Snell-type standard in the US that is clear, comprehensive, and concise is the only solution.
  17. 17. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 16 We have no standards for motorcycle gear in the United States, which means somebody can slap a piece of cardboard together, and call it the world's best protection system ever, and it may even look the part. I'm also sure that you could find some racers or average Joe's to swear by it as well. Perpetuation of poor information and marketing hype leaves too much to our own speculation as the basis for our protective measures. All of these questions, and any misinformation, marketing hype, and rumors can be avoided with a simple testing procedure. Snell labeling for helmets has been largely successful and we need to demand something similar for the rest of our body. If "something is better than nothing" then "something better" can be just that. Back protectors were designed for road crashes. Water impact and forces of action and speed contact via physical body positioning is far different in terms of contact, gear coming loose, and the protective measures are vastly different and not comparable. What does our PWC industry offer in comparison to the motorcycle industry? At least this company is trying. What are the bare bone facts per marketing and standard approvals and what do they mean to the user? Do not forget this: Contact with water, any garments/protective gear that is LOOSE will ‘catch’ and can create a ‘SNAP BACK’ or catch point effect! I have to give these companies some credit they are trying, but there is not a testing or evaluation standard. So what does this mean in terms of product use and function?
  18. 18. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 17 REVIEW OF SAFETY STANDARDIZATION FOR BACK PROTECTORS IMPACT LEVEL STANDARDS 4kN is the medically recommended level of transmitted force. This is the maximum force which the human ribcage can withstand before they fracture. Performance Levels All three levels of performance allow no more than 35 kN of energy to transmit  Level 1 - 50 Joule ‘Initial Force’  Level 2 - ‘High Performance’  Level 3 - ‘Extreme Performance’ 1. EN1621-1 (BASIC) 5kg ‘kerbstone’ test impact force of 50 joules dropped 1 meter 18kN passes. This is the least desirable and inappropriate level for back protection, products that fall in this category appear to be unsafe. 2. EN1621-2 (HIGH PERFORMANCE) 5kg ‘kerbstone’ test impact force dropped 1 meter 9kN passes allowing 50% less energy to reach the spine/ribs. These are considered with dual tests, and most back protectors cannot even provide this basic standard.  CE LIMB/JOINT Protector Standard - Meets energy absorption level (35kN@100J)  CE RATED LEVEL 1  CE APPROVED, LEVEL 1 What should you look for? - First look at the Product Description. - Second look at the Product Specifications. Do you see any commentary in writing that reflects a direct relationship and substantiated claim to the any of the following: 1. Level of Performance 2. Approval (abrasion, tearing, seam burst and impact rating) 3. Rating 4. Energy Transmits Level
  19. 19. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 18 Jet Tribe-TsunJet Ski Deflector Product Description Excerpts: “PWCs are getting faster and more powerful every year. But in 2011, riders are still relying on motocross equipment not designed for PWC use to protect themselves from the hazards of high speed racing. What's wrong with that picture? PWC riders need just as much protection as their land cousins and they deserve protection they can call their own. This thing has clear overlapping polycarbonate panels to protect that ever so precious spine of ours while not covering the ridiculously cool Flying Skulls print that decorates the Race Vest. Break-away plastic rivets and 6-point velcro mounting keep it in place. Built-in water drain vents ensures that water doesn't weigh it down. And it's a great piece of lightweight armor should the Zombie Apocalypse ever happen. How's that for multi-purpose?” PWC Back Deflector Skull Model ● High impact injection molded polycarbonate plates. ● Articulating sections conform to the curvature of your back. ● Break-away plastic rivets and 6-point velcro system mounts back deflector to the RS-16 Race Vest securely. ● Built-in water drain vents ensures that water does not get captured but flows through without weighing down the vest. JTG Stealth 71 Back Deflector  Eva Compression Molded Outer Shell.  Impact Cell Internal Core.  2 Layers of ABS Plastic Sheets.  Laminated Poly Carbonate Cells.  Universal Fit for any Jettribe Side-Entry Vest: RS-16, RS-17, Moto-1, Moto1-G2, JetPilot Side-Entry and QuakySense, Fly Side-Entry Vest.  IJSBA, TJSBA Race Compliant.  Floats Independently. http://www.tsunamijetski.com/jtg-11433s-pwc-back-deflector-smoke/
  20. 20. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 19 KNOX CONTOUR BACK PROTECTOR http://www.jazzmotorsports.com/knox-contour-tour-back-protector-p-318887.html  Highest performance and ultra light so you forget you are wearing a back protector!  CE approved to Level 2 of EN1621-2.  Transmits only 6KN of energy.  Ultra light weight at only 600g.  Engineered and formed in a 5 layer mould that follows the contour of the back.  Fully adjustable and removable kidney protectors in soft PU give added performance.  Quick release straps that also cross over for increased comfort.  Technically advanced spacer fabric for breathability and antibacterial waist straps with Coolmax for comfort.  Optional CE approved chest protector can be purchased separately.  With additional coccyx protection References: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jaDCBXnfnk http://www.jobesports.com/products/pwc-gear/accessories/shield-back-protector/ This one is CE approved but exactly what does that mean in terms of protection and impact? http://www.landway.com.tw/back-protectors.shtml This manufacturer doesn’t even give a proper description of the benefits or justifications medically in terms of PWC use?
  21. 21. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 20 Chapter 3: LEG PROTECTORS Are there any ratings for leg protectors available as a support device? In motocross they have strong supportive designed boots that cover the entire lower leg. I couldn’t find anything regarding leg protection ratings. Leg Protectors or leg guards are sold as a protective device for lower limb coverage. What coverage is to be expected? Contact with another Personal Watercraft on a race track and at what angle or force or pressure applied? How many lbs. per square inch of pressure can these devices manage before failure of the human frame? What type of strike are they going to deflect and how secure to the body are these products? When we discuss impact, it is either water impact, body impact to our own PWC or impact from another PWC. Many times on the race track as a course marshal I would pick up neck braces and discarded leg protectors! How were these riders losing them? Sometimes it was from the jet thrust or bow water spray leading up to the first turn from other race craft, other times it was their body digging into a turn or their bow plunging below the water surface and forcing a hard plume of water against their body in the footwell. Or the elastic binders (fasteners) would age or did not fit the competitor body frame properly. They often would slide down on their legs not staying in place. These products also have a lifespan to them and should be replaced and they should be inspected for damage and cared for accordingly. The kinetic energy that is transferred at point of contact can run all the way up to ‘blunt force trauma’. This can also be a ‘pin’ between the seated straddle position on their PWC against the hull pressure of a competitor boat. On a runabout the seated position typically places a bend at the knee joint. The angle of contact and force applied would need to be measured inline from the knee to the ankle joint, One would need an exoskeleton protection such as a hull, cage or physical barrier to reduce or offset some of that energy applied, made of construction material that can take many kN’s of force http://worldwidewatersports.co.uk/product.php?product=262 These are just water spray related http://www.justwatersports.com/contents/en-uk/d108_pwcbodyarmour.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ649Nlu5Yc Great advice on the replacement of the product from impact. Race Guards went out of business for leg protectors, Dianese is not making any more
  22. 22. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 21 Chapter 4: Neck Braces “Fiine 2008: The MFF command a study INRETS, a laboratory of Applied Biomechanics at the Faculty Hospital north of Marseille, France. After a year and a half years of study, preliminary results are provided by the FFM at the awards ceremony held in Paris in November 2010. Jacques Bolle, president of the federation, said that "The protections flexible neck provide no gain protection. The collars rigid type Leatt Brace, may in some cases offer additional protection, but not sufficient for the FFM make them mandatory. At the announcement of preliminary results of the experiment in Marseille, we have reopened the case, and conducted our own investigation by going on site in south and exploring the tests conducted by some manufacturers. Our investigations suggest large areas of shadow. Impossible at present to define the real usefulness of these protections. Only certainty, they provide no additional danger to the driver in an accident. The intégbralité this broad survey and comments from experts should be read by all those involved.” Excerpt below from Dirt Rider http://www.leatt-brace.com/ RESPONSE FROM DR. JOHN BODNAR I want to applaud Pete Peterson and the staff of Dirt Rider for taking the effort to produce a very balanced report on a topic of major importance to the motorcycle community. There are many misconceptions in the area of neck injuries and the issues of neck brace usage in our sport. This article presents the facts as they stand today and hopefully will continue the discussion of protective gear in motorcycling, especially in off-road and motocross riders. The topic of motorcycle safety is one that at times can seem to take a back seat to other issues, and Dirt Rider has performed a genuine service to all riders in bringing this article to the forefront. John A. Bodnar, MD Medical Director, Asterisk Mobile Medical Center RESPONSE FROM JIMMY BUTTON “I am happy to see someone finally presented a non-bias story on it and just gave the facts.” RESPONSE FROM DR. STEPHEN SWISHER I’m an emergency physician at Mammoth Hospital, in Mammoth Lakes, CA. We treat motocross injuries every summer, particularly during the Mammoth Motocross. An increasing number of our patients arrive wearing neck braces. Often the brace was broken in the crash. Many of these riders tell me they wouldn’t have walked away from the crash without a neck brace. Sounds promising. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to separate promise from reality. Currently there’s no large, randomized controlled trial to show that the braces have any effect. In fact, there are few studies regarding neck braces. Most neck brace research thus far is manufacturer-sponsored and potentially biased (bias can be unintentional–the desire for a study outcome can lead you to that very outcome). Quality research takes time and large numbers of patients. For example, it took years to establish that ski/snowboard helmets actually decrease the rate and severity of head injuries. The medical literature is filled with promising therapies and interventions that never panned out. It’s too early to say whether neck braces will be shown to be beneficial, like ski helmets, or of no benefit, like antibiotics for the common cold. And here’s the counter-narrative. In my practice, every patient who walked away from a crash wearing a neck brace was matched by a patient without a neck brace who also walked away from a crash. Although I’ve treated several hundred motocross patients, it’s unclear to me whether the neck braces make a difference. My patient numbers are simply too small for a trend to be noticeable.
  23. 23. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 22 I want to believe in neck braces. The theory behind them seems sound. They aren’t cheap but they aren’t expensive either. It’s unlikely that they increase the risk of other injuries such as clavicle fractures. It’s up to you. Stephen A. Swisher, MD Mammoth Hospital Mammoth Lakes, CA RESPONSE FROM DR. ERIK SWARTZ I was honored, and fortunate, to be contacted by Mr. Peterson as he was developing this excellent article on the practice of wearing neck braces in motorcycle riding. My primary area of interest actually concerns the management of catastrophic head and neck injury in equipment intensive ‘collision’ sports, such as American Football. I conduct research on this topic and also serve on the National Football League’s Head, Neck, and Spine’s Subcommittee on Safety Equipment and Rules. Obviously motorcycle riding and American football are similar in that the participant typically wears protective equipment to prevent injury, such as a helmet. So, I was immediately intrigued with the concept of a protective neck brace to mitigate spine injury, primarily because of my lack of familiarity with the sport and its associated injury mechanisms. I was also keenly interested since my uncle is a long time participant in Enduro racing, and has had his share of crashes and injuries. When first confronted with a new protective device or design I tend to be of a skeptical mindset until I am convinced of its merit. After reviewing materials that were provided to me I was immediately impressed with the detailed work that one of the neck brace companies had already undertaken to produce validity and reliability data for their product. These efforts are commendable, and clearly are critical, in manufacturing a device that not only does what it is designed to do, but equally important, doesn’t do anything it’s not supposed to do. These efforts should not be halted, however. Rather, companies should be willing to accept that validity, reliability, and effectiveness of a product designed to prevent (or minimize) injury is essentially a never-ending pursuit and empirical data should be reproduced externally, and independently wherever possible. Internally produced data and anecdotal claims are of a lower level of evidence in the medical and scientific communities. Another element I was pleased to see with one of the company’s materials, and also reflected in the article, is that the manufacturer of a neck brace is careful with the claims they make regarding its products’ protective capabilities. For example, when I first looked at the device my initial conclusion was that it would not help prevent spine injuries due to an axial load mechanism, (when an impact is directed at the crown of the head and compresses the cervical spine) the most common mechanism for serious spine injury in American football. It was refreshing to see that the company states from the outset that their product is, indeed, not designed to prevent injury from this mechanism. The tempered claims of the protective equipment a manufacturer enhances the confidence in the claims the manufacturer makes about what the product can do. We have recently seen the US Federal Trade Commission investigate and charge companies regarding deceptive claims made about the health benefits of their products, most notably with products that claim to reduce the risk of concussion. A cautious marketing strategy for any manufacturer of protective equipment is warranted. Finally, I would like to comment on a side effect, sort of speak, inherent to the introduction of new protective equipment into any sport or activity. Namely, a phenomenon described by others as ‘risk compensation’ means that individuals may increase their threshold of risk if they feel more protected. An easy example I tend to use to describe this is with sky-diving. Most people’s threshold for risk is such that if standing at an open door of an airplane in flight, thousands of feet off the ground, most would probably not elect to jump out of the plane. However, give a person a parachute that will protect them from harm and their threshold for risk is now elevated so much that they feel safe enough to change their behavior and accept the risk of jumping from the airplane.
  24. 24. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 23 American football experienced an unfortunate outcome of this risk compensation in the late 60’s and 70’s when helmet designs moved to incorporating a hard outer shell and a facemask. Players began to use their heads during tackling (spearing); a behavior that previously was avoided because their helmets did not afford much protection; and the rate of catastrophic neck injuries sky rocketed. Therefore, we navigate a fine line between protecting participants of sport from injury, and avoiding the unintended consequences that might come from them gaining a false sense of security. Honestly, from my perspective it’s hard to imagine motorcycle riders doing anything more risky than they already are, but I’m always mindful of the individual that assumes higher risk because they feel more protected. Erik E Swartz, PhD, ATC, FNATA Associate Professor, Clinical Coordinator Athletic Training Education Program University of New Hampshire RESPONSE FROM ATLAS BRACE OUR DESIGN Atlas is extremely unique when it comes to neck brace technology. Every Atlas Brace is based our patented flexible technology. By incorporating flex into the neck brace, our goal is to not only reduce the forces on the head and neck, but also for the brace itself to dissipate and possibly reduce those impact forces before they are transferred to other areas of the body. By sitting around the spine and sternum, and using dual chest and back supports we increase the surface area that the brace rests on the body, which can help to spread out the impact forces rather than concentrate them in small areas. This flexible technology creates many unique characteristics that are not possible to achieve with rigid designs, and which is why we believe so strongly in our products. OUR MISSION Atlas’ mission was to create a testing method that could get as close to mimicking real life as possible. We use a 3rd party team of experts to perform our testing, so we are able to obtain un-bias results that are not under our own influence or design. The bulk of Atlas’ impact testing is performed by Dynamic Research, Inc. (DRI) in Torrance, CA by their extremely knowledgeable staff of Bio-Mechanical Engineers and Doctors, who are regular off road motorcycle riders themselves that understand what kind of dangerous scenarios they may be faced with. DRI has previous experience testing braces, and had multiple ideas on how to not only better the technology and the testing performed on them. Their team started from scratch to come up with something radically different that would provide us with useful repeatable tests, and more accurate data from scenarios which we see in real life. HOW WE TEST Since most crashes riders experience are very violent and can include multi-directional forces, a better real-world testing method was needed. DRI was able to create a custom built, forward/downward pendulum test rig (think Superman in flying position) that not only measures deflection in the direction of our choice, but also compression to the head and neck caused by the body’s weight crashing down behind the head as it typically does in various motorcycle crashes. With our one of a kind test rig we are able to repeat multiple controlled impacts into a custom built adjustable-angle surface. These mimic various scenarios of common crashes, including the “lawn dart” scenario of a rider going over the bars, and impacting head first into the ground, or an upcoming obstacle. This type of testing gives us extremely useful, and repeatable data that we can use to further develop our products. Our Dummy is made up of an instrumented upper torso surrogate fitted with a Hybrid III head-form and a Motorcycle Anthropometric Test Device (MATD) neck, which was specifically developed (and certified) by DRI to be more realistic for data acquisition during motorcycle crash scenarios than a standard car crash type neck. Instrumentation on the surrogate includes a 9 accelerometer array mounted inside the Hybrid III head-form for measurement of linear and angular accelerations as well as a 6-degree-of- freedom upper neck load cell that monitors three dimensional forces and moments. A digital high speed video
  25. 25. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 24 camera collecting data at 1000 frames per second is used to capture all impacts. The complete upper torso fixture is illustrated in Fig. 1, and the MATD neck is shown in Fig. 2. In all our testing, each test scenario was performed with, and without an Atlas Brace to provide comparative results. We were very pleased to find positive results in every impact scenario we performed, and that in each situation wearing an Atlas Brace was successful in reducing the forces to the head and neck, comparative to not wearing a brace in the same impacts. Although this does not in any way guarantee an injury will prevented or reduced, it does give us extremely valuable data related to our products positive performance while helping to further the development and understanding of impacts that riders may experience and how we can better control these forces. While our testing is unique and not directly comparative to some of our competitors testing, we still feel very strongly that neck braces are a vital component of rider safety, and should be highly considered as part of every rider’s program. CERTIFICATION In addition to our lab testing performed in the USA, the Atlas Brace is lab tested in Europe to meet various CE standards. The Atlas Brace conforms to the requirements of the European Directive 89/686/EEC concerning Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). CE is the only current certification for neck braces, and Atlas is proud to meet these requirements. THE REAL WORLD Often times devices which perform extremely well in Lab scenarios pose multiple challenges in the real world. During the initial design phase of the Atlas Brace we found this to be a very difficult to overcome, and searched for the best way to combine mobility and comfort, with safety and protection. Since the development was led by a former professional motocross racer, we were able to carefully develop this mix over a 3 year period. We credit a huge portion of this to our real world rider testing, input, and feedback, as well as the developmental input from DRI who had a big influence on how to create a controlled flexible design that would provide the safety results we were looking for. The results are exactly what we hoped for, and we believe that having former Champions Ryan Villopoto and Jake Weimer choose to wear our product shows that we have created a great product. When asked about riders who choose to wear, or not wear a neck brace, this is what Ryan Villopoto had to say: “For me, it’s a choice I make, and even if a neck brace only helped me one percent, that’s a one percent advantage I have and it’s only going to help.”
  26. 26. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 25 RESPONSE FROM LEATT CORPORATION In our history there have been many articles written about our neck braces and neck braces in general. No journalist has ever before gone into such detail and found so many independent, qualified resources for information and opinions. All we have ever tried to do, here at Leatt, is make a business out of helping protect riders and for this detailed article we owe thanks to Dirt Rider for effort, investment and integrity to publish this. Leatt has an open door policy on our science, technology, testing and test results. It has been this way for many years now and even our legal team has said that full disclosure reduces liability and promotes informed decisions by riders. Sadly, in my 36 years of motorcycle industry experience, most legal advice about safety products is “say nothing”. In our opinion that advice just leads to confusion, misunderstandings and more injured riders. It concerns us that some other safety product companies either don’t have the test procedures and test results or choose not to share them. I just don’t see how that policy benefits the riders or the companies and we can only hope they change their policies. Yes, I work for Leatt. But I am also a rider and racer. I had a motorcycle shop owner I did business with who was tragically killed in a desert race crash from a neck injury. I was a supplier to that shop of protective equipment and remember how helpless I felt facing his wife and knowing that there was nothing made, at that time, to help protect from that injury. I don’t have to work at Leatt, I choose to. Dr. Leatt didn’t need to make neck braces; he already had a nice career. We all choose to do what we do for the riders. Provided by Phil Davy, Leatt International Marketing manager and Leatt USA General Manager Leatt Video – http://youtu.be/fJ5NvChWbpo END NOTES FOR MAGAZINE STORY Below are the endnotes to the May 2013 Dirt Rider feature story “The Neck Brace.” As the story pointed out under in the “The Trouble with Numbers” section, “It’s very difficult to find medical statistics on SCI from off-road and motocross crashes; too many of these statistics are from streetbike crashes, and many of those don’t even show if the rider was wearing a helmet.” In nearly all cases the statistics are for general injuries and do not take neck brace effectiveness into account, since none of the studies cited here collected that data. These endnotes then should be thought of as information on injuries, in most cases from motorcycle crashes, but there is no conclusive “with a neck brace vs. without a neck brace” motorcycle crash injury statistics that could be found during the writing of this magazine story.
  27. 27. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 26 Another challenge is that these documents are not easily available for people outside the medical/research field. I have included a few helpful links for readers who want to read the full studies. The links will lead you to an Abstract (summary), and you will have to subscribe/pay to see the entire document. These endnotes are supplied to assist you if you want to delve deeper into this topic of neck protection effectiveness. If you’d like to share insight or information with Dirt Rider please email to DRMail@sorc.com and cc pete.peterson@sorc.com. [1] I will use for this first endnote some AMA motocross statistics that are unpublished but were provided to the authors of the Leatt White Paper. For this data see Table 2-6 on page 17 of the Leatt White Paper (http://www.leatt-brace.com/images/uploads/library/LEATT_WHITE_PAPER_FINAL_rev1.pdf ), or check their General Injury Statistics page (http://www.leatt-brace.com/images/uploads/accident_form/Injury_Stats.pdf ) Which reference some AMA Motocross statistics that shows that approximately 29% of spinal fracture injuries in the very small collection of motocross crash data resulted in spinal cord injury. This percentage is not very reliable since it was drawn from such a small body of date. Drawing from a larger pool of data- [Reference provided by Leatt, and cited in Leatt’s White Paper] Robertson A, Giannoudis PV, Branfoot T, Barlow I, Matthews SJ, Smith RM. Spinal injuries in motorcycle crashes: Patterns and outcomes. The Journal of Trauma. 2002;53:5-8. - shows approximately 20% of spinal injuries resulted in spinal cord injury (25 out of 126). Here’s a link to get access to this paper on a ‘subscribe to read’ site that hosts papers from many medical journals – http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/Fulltext/2002/07000/Spinal_Injuries_in_Motorcycle_Crashes__Patterns.2 .aspx [2] From Dr. Chris Leatt, “The incident of neurological deficit depends on the study group e.g. MVA [motor vehicle accidents] vs. dirt bike accidents. The risk of spinal column injury may be 3 – 7%, of these approximately 20% plus may have a neurological deficit, but for the dirt bike groups the study groups are relatively small and statistical significance difficult to prove. The [Leatt] white paper includes this topic.” A neurological deficit generally means full or partial loss of muscle groups and organ function, and that neurological deficit can be temporary, incomplete, or complete. [3] [these same references are used for endnote 5] [[EN – concentration in thoracic area]] – These statistics are possibly misleading since so many motorcycle spinal cord injury statistics are gathered from motorcycle riding on streets (motorcycle or scooter), and it was pointed out to me during my research for the Dirt Rider story that in many of these studies the details surrounding the rider’s gear and the crash are not available. This is frustrating for the sake of researching the effectiveness of neck protection in motocross and off- road motorcycle crashes, but in the grand scope of things it is overall good news, as was pointed out to me, that these types of injuries are rare enough that gathering a large enough body of information is difficult. The references to the medical journals, however, are –[same reference cited in endnote #1] [Reference provided by Leatt, and cited in Leatt’s White Paper] Robertson A, Giannoudis PV, Branfoot
  28. 28. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 27 T, Barlow I, Matthews SJ, Smith RM. Spinal injuries in motorcycle crashes: Patterns and outcomes. The Journal of Trauma. 2002;53:5-8. Here’s a link to get access to this paper on a ‘subscribe to read’ site that hosts papers from many medical journals – http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/Fulltext/2002/07000/Spinal_Injuries_in_Motorcycle_Crashes__Patterns.2 .aspx [Reference provided by Leatt, and cited in Leatt’s White Paper] Robertson A, Branfoot T, Barlow IF, Giannoudis PV.Spinal injury patterns resulting from car and motorcycle accidents. Spine. 2002; 27(24):2825-2830. Here’s a link to get access to this paper on a ‘subscribe to read’ site that hosts papers from many medical journals – http://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Fulltext/2002/12150/Spinal_Injury_Patterns_Resulting_From_Car_a nd.19.aspx [Reference provided by Leatt, and cited in Leatt’s White Paper] Shrosbree RD. Spinal cord injuries of motorcycle accidents. Paraplegia. 1979; 16:102–12. [Reference provided by Leatt, and cited in Leatt’s White Paper] Kuppferschmid JP, Weaver ML, Raves JJ, Diamond DL. Thoracic spine injuries in victims of motorcycle accidents. Journal of Trauma.1989; 29:593–596. Here’s a link to get access to this paper on a ‘subscribe to read’ site that hosts papers from many medical journals – http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/Abstract/1989/05000/Thoracic_Spine_Injuries_in_Victims_of_Motorcycle. 9.aspx Gorski TF, Gorski YC, McLeod G, Suh D, Cordero R, Essien F, Berry D, Festus D. Patterns of injury and outcomes associated with motocross accidents. The American Surgeon. 2003; 69; 10: 895-98. [4] These are the specifications of the test dummy that the Leatt Laboratory uses – Hybrid III 50 th percentile Anthropomorphic Test Dummy with:  Chest Potentiometer  3 x Uni-axial Head Accelerometers  6-Axis Upper Neck Load Cell  6-Axis Lower Neck Load Cell  2 x 2-Axis Clavicle Load Cell  3 x Uni-axial Chest Accelerometers  2 x Tri-axial Head Gryometers  MATD & Hybrid III neck Hydraulic Automotive Impact Pendulum – 6.5m vertical lift = ±40km/h impact High Speed Camera – PhotronFastCAM SAE3 – 1000fps @ 1024×1024 Non-flicker lights – Dedo DLH 200D Data Acquisition Unit – 28 measured channels – SoMateDAQ Lite Post-Processing software – nCodeGlyphworks HBM PACELine CMC 120kN piezoelectric force transducer Various S Beam Load Cells Shaft Encoder for shaft rotation measurement
  29. 29. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 28 Inverted Impact pendulum for unrestraint torso testing Horizontal Impact pendulum for unrestraint torso testing Helmet drop tower to test according to various test standards – up to 10m/s impact CE drop tower for PPE certification testing Fatigue tester Slow tension / compression testing equipment 6m Vertical Drop tower for dynamic material testing Various temperature chambers R &D workshop with the following capabilities:  Carbon Fibre / Kevlar / Fibre Glass Layup  Precision Drilling  Milling Machine  Grinding Room  Spray Painting [5] See endnote 3 [6] SVEMO letter Leatt looked into the Internet rumor of a rider in Sweden being cut with a shattered neck brace. Leatt couldn’t find any evidence of this rumor being true, and their search actually resulted in a letter from SVEMO (The Swedish Motorcycle and Snowmobile Federation) stating that none of the fatal injuries from that year were associated with head or neck trauma or with neck braces. You can read that letter, it’s posted on Leatt’s website, with this link – http://www.leatt-brace.com/images/uploads/library/FIM_Sweden_Letter.pdf The magazine feature story and this web story are, as has been mentioned before, not an end point, but just a discussion of information available today. Hopefully more information will becomes available, more advancements in protective gear will be made, and more discussion will help share all the facts, concerns, theories, and advice with motocross and off- road riders. Read more: http://www.dirtrider.com/features/the-neck-brace-web-component/#ixzz2tQQ8TbX0
  30. 30. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 29 Chapter 5: LIFEJACKETS Impact reality, is your lifejacket properly fitted, sized and maintained for spills, falls and contact at speed? This lifejacket below does not have a Silkscreened ‘LOT NO.’ That area is left blank. Does this make it illegal? Will my lifejackets that have no ‘LOT NO.’ be considered non-approved? The answer is this is an illegal Lifejacket. These items are required: 1. MODEL NUMBER 2. LOT NO. 3. Type 4. USCG Approval Number USCG Approved have LOT NO’s that are silkscreened of each panel with the corresponding Serial and approval certifications for each design.
  31. 31. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 30 If you are using a ‘one size fits all’, you must then appropriately affix the sizing straps so they are secure against the frame of your body and the loose webbing ends are tied back and secure. (c) Lifejacket lots. A lot number must be assigned to each group of lifejackets produced. No lot may exceed 1000 lifejackets. A new lot must be started whenever any change in materials or a revision to a production method is made, and whenever any substantial discontinuity in the production process occurs. Changes in lots of component materials must be treated as changes in materials. Lots must be numbered serially. The lot number assigned, along with the approval number, must enable the lifejacket manufacturer, by referring to the records required by this subpart, to determine who produced the components used in the lifejacket. http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/46/160.176-15
  32. 32. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 31 The History of Underwriter Laboratories (UL) History UL has a proud history that continues to motivate us each and every day. For more than a century we have employed exacting scientific processes and the highest ethical principles to deliver trusted results. Today, we are still focusing on the next generation of safety challenges, helping new geographies, new industries and new stakeholders create safer living and work environments. Products Certified to Underwriter Laboratories (UL) Standards for Safety Lifejackets are certified under the following product categories in accordance with requirements in one or more of the UL standards identified for each category. Flotation aids and special-use devices (OPZY) - Includes Type III PFDs, such as buoyant vests and jackets. Devices to be worn are designated as Type III and Type V special-use devices evaluated for a specific restricted activity (UL 1123). Near-shore buoyant vests (OQFZ) - Includes Type II devices intended for use on uninspected commercial vessels less than 40 feet in length that do not carry passengers for hire (UL 1123, UL 1177). Buoyant throwable devices (OPPR) - Buoyant cushions, horseshoe and ring buoys suitable for use on recreational boats less than 16 feet in length, and as throwable devices for recreational boats (UL 1175). Inflatable personal flotation devices (OTDG) - Inflatable PFDs for use on either recreational boats or commercial vessels, as indicated on the product markings (UL 1180). Hybrid PFDs (OTHZ) - Wearable PFDs with both inherently and inflatable buoyancy intended for use on recreational boats (UL 1517). Rearming kits (OTFQ) - Rearming kits for inflatable and hybrid personal flotation devices, intended for field installation by the consumer (UL 1180). Immersion suits (NCPR) - Immersion suits designed to minimize thermal shock upon entering cold water, to lessen the effect of hypothermia, and to provide flotation for the wearer while in the water (UL 1197). Commercial ring buoys (OUDX) - Commercial ring buoys intended primarily for use as throwable devices on merchant vessels, but also suitable for use on recreational boats less than 16 feet in length and all canoes and kayaks (UL 1516). Lifesaving equipment components (OPET2) - Components intended for factory installation in complete lifesaving equipment that is to be investigated as part of the overall end product lifesaving equipment. (UL 1191). Fabricated parts of foam flotation material (OTAW2) - Material traceability of skived die-cut and other fabricated parts. These fabricated parts are intended to provide a mechanism for identifying such factory installed materials when used in the end-use product (UL 1191). Marine lifesaving device components (OPET2) - Includes components for marine lifesaving device components such as thread, fabrics, foam, hardware, inflation systems, etc.
  33. 33. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 32 Products certified to ULC Canadian requirements PFDs are certified under the following product category in accordance with requirements in one or more of the following standards. CAN/CGSB 65.7 - Life Jackets CAN/CGSB 65.11 - Personal Flotation Devices CAN/CGSB 65.15 - Personal Flotation Devices for Children CAN/CGSB 65.16 - Immersion Suit Systems CAN/CGSB 65.18 - Closed Cell Polymeric Foam Materials CAN/CGSB 65.19 - Textile Components of Life Jackets and Personal Flotation Devices Personal buoyant water safety products (ZDTQC) - PFDs, life jackets, and immersion suits intended for use on recreational boats. Products certified to 46 CFR federal regulations PFDs are certified under the following product categories in accordance with applicable requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations defined within 46CFR Life preservers and life jackets (OTPS) - Type I personal flotation devices designed to turn unconscious wearers face up in the water. Certified life preservers and life jackets are approved by the Commandant, United States Coast Guard (USCG), and are marked with a USCG approval number. Special-use Personal Flotation Devices (OUFV) - Special-use personal flotation devices approved by the Commandant, United States Coast Guard (USCG) and marked with the Coast Guard Approval number. The USCG has designated these devices as Type V PFDs. Devices designated as Type V have special or restricted provisions associated with their USCG Approval as marked on the device. Improper size and fit of lifejackets will not be tolerated at a PWC event due to safety and boating laws and regulations Improperly sized and fitted lifejackets are a disaster for use, when you hit the water at high speed ejections they can catch, create a drag effect and ride up over your frame. This can cause the fast tech buckles to break apart, rendering the lifejacket useless. CE Approval ISO lifejacket approval Lifejacket ISO Approval Since July 1995, it has been illegal to sell Lifejackets or Buoyancy Aids that have not been tested to European or International specifications. Every Lifejacket and Buoyancy aid sold by Marine Warehouse is fully approved and carries the relevant CE or ISO mark.
  34. 34. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 33 There are several classifications for ISO Approval: CE standards deal with various categories of buoyancy performance, the big four are shown below. The rating is for an adult size so smaller sizes have proportionally less buoyancy: ISO12402-5, Covers 50N buoyancy aids, providing a minimum of 5kg of buoyancy. Products that carry this approval include our specialist range which includes anglers vests, waterski vests, PWC vests, wakeboarding vests, and the various dinghy and canoe vests. ISO12402-4, Covers 100N lifejackets, providing a minimum of 10kg of buoyancy. Products that carry this approval include our orange foam range of lifejackets for both adults and children. ISO12402-3, Covers 150N lifejackets, providing a minimum of 15kg of buoyancy. Products that carry this approval include the majority of our Manual and automatic lifejackets for both adults and children. ISO12402-2, Covers 275N lifejackets, providing a minimum of 27.5kg of buoyancy. Products that carry this approval include our specialist range of lifejackets for offshore use. Buoyancy explained Newtons, are a measure of force. 10 Newtons (or 10N in lifejacket speak) is equivalent to 1 kilogram of buoyancy. So a 150 Newton lifejacket (or 150N) provides 15kg of buoyancy. Remember these are the minimum buoyancy requirements for the European standard, so the actual vest or lifejacket may provide more. Kids life jackets are commonly rated as 100N or 150N but they don’t actually have that much buoyancy. For example a kid’s foam lifejacket size 10-20kg has 30N of buoyancy. What else does ISO approval cover? ISO approval also covers other features not just buoyancy ratings. These include the design, performance, specification of materials used in manufacture, and even the information that the user guide provides. For example our Harness jackets are approved to ISO12402-6 in addition to the standard certification. Lifejacket CE/EN Approval Every Lifejacket and Buoyancy aid sold by Marine Warehouse is fully approved and carries the relevant CE or ISO mark. Testing is carried out at the Fleetwood Testing Laboratory in Lancashire who are accredited by The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to the ISO 17025 standard. CE approved Lifejackets All Marine Warehouse Lifejackets carry the relevant CE or ISO approval. Testing is carried out in the UK by the Fleetwood Testing Laboratory. Fleetwood are known in the industry as having rigorous standards.
  35. 35. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 34 There are several classifications for CE Approval. CE standards deal with various categories of buoyancy performance, the big four are shown below. The rating is for an adult size so smaller sizes have proportionally less buoyancy: EN393, Covers 50N buoyancy aids, providing a minimum of 5kg of buoyancy. Products that carry this approval include our specialist range which includes anglers vests, waterski vests, PWC vests, wakeboarding vests, and the various dinghy and canoe vests. EN395, Covers 100N lifejackets, providing a minimum of 10kg of buoyancy. Products that carry this approval include our orange foam range of lifejackets for both adults and children. EN396, Covers 150N lifejackets, providing a minimum of 15kg of buoyancy. Products that carry this approval include the majority of our Manual and automatic lifejackets for both adults and children. EN399, Covers 275N lifejackets, providing a minimum of 27.5kg of buoyancy. Products that carry this approval include our specialist range of lifejackets for offshore use. Buoyancy explained Newtons are a measure of force. 10 Newtons (or 10N in lifejacket speak) is equivalent to 1 kilogram of buoyancy. So a 150 Newton lifejacket (or 150N) provides 15kg of buoyancy. Remember these are the minimum buoyancy requirements for the European standard, so the actual vest or lifejacket may provide more. Kids life jackets are commonly rated as 100N or 150N but they don’t actually have that much buoyancy. For example a kids foam lifejacket size 10-20kg has 30N of buoyancy. What else does CE approval cover? CE approval also covers other features not just buoyancy ratings. These include the design, performance, specification of materials used in manufacture, and even the information that the user guide provides. The author freeriding, photos by David Pu’u
  36. 36. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 35 CHAPTER 6: HELMETS Let’s check in with the helmet issue. What makes a good helmet for PWC usage? Don’t let branding claims persuade your purchase. Along with a Lifejacket this is your most important investment for personal safety. Choose wisely! Water testing standards ARE NOT the same as land based, however with that differences of the forces of action and body movement it is far more difficult to assess safety with crashes on the water and in the body positions with the increased speeds of newer PWC’s. We will take a look at what is available, even though it is severely limited. “Sorting out differences in helmet ratings”. Here is an interesting article for your review in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/automobiles/27SNELL.html?_r=0 DOT- Department of Transportation http://www.motosport.com/blog/the-big-list-of-dot-snell-ece-approved-motocross-helmets#DOT HELMET SAFETY STANDARD TESTING There is not one true ‘water standard helmet’ available today on the market that has been thoroughly tested. Our PWC sport utilizes motorcycle ‘motocross’ style helmets. The problem we have is fit and sizing. Once you get your motorcross helmet wet the interior foam panels will start to decompress and lessen the fit you first enjoyed. These are things you must consider in purchasing your helmet. If the helmet ‘rides down over your brow it does not fit you properly. Likewise if your goggles ride down on your nose it does not fit you head properly. NOTE: FreeRide and Freestyle helmets come under a lesser classification of CE Standards. Due to the ‘snap back’ effect of striking the forward part of your PWC or falls to the water, a visor is not advisable and can assist in neck injuries due to snap back effect. The same thing goes for affixing a filming camera to your helmet. SNELL has set the safety standard testing for helmets. The Snell Memorial Foundation is a non-profit founded in 1957 after the death of William "Pete" Snell, who died in 1956 after sustaining injuries to his head in a car race. Snell standards raise the bar compared to those set by DOT and are updated every five years. The current standard of M2010 allows a peak acceleration of 300g and uses five different anvil shapes. The number of tests and actual testing is much more rigorous than DOT. Achieving a Snell standard designation is voluntary and manufacturers submit their helmets for testing. Snell also randomly buys Snell approved helmets and re-tests them for compliance. Snell has questioned the validity of DOT's criteria on gravity constant measures as they were taken from helmet standards in 1972.
  37. 37. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 36 However, in 2005 an article in Motorcyclist magazine criticized Snell standards as too excessive. It was reported that a softer absorption material would transfer less g force to the head as opposed to the harder material used in Snell helmets. Though Snell offered a rebuttal at the time, the M2010 standards addressed some of those criticisms. ECE Certification The ECE or United Nations Economic Commission for Europe is actually the most common internationally recognized helmet certification as more than 50 countries have adopted the ECE standards for helmets. The ECE standard, like DOT, favors impact absorbing helmets. The current standard is known as ECE 22.05. ECE standards are similar to DOT standards in that it tests helmets on penetration, impact attenuation, retention and peripheral vision. There are some differences most notably the peak acceleration energy allowed for impact attenuation is 275g and ECE tests for abrasion resistance on how well the helmet shears away. DOT requires extensions from the helmet, like snaps and rivets, to be no more than 5mm; ECE requires no more than 2mm. Unlike the DOT standard which relies on the manufacturer being honest, the ECE batch tests helmets prior to public release to ensure quality before the helmet leaves the factory. TRIFECTA When a helmet passes all three testing measures. Reference Material: http://www.motosport.com/blog/the-big-list-of-dot-snell-ece-approved-motocross-helmets#DOT How do helmets work? Helmets are normally comprised of four elements; a rigid outer shell, a crushable liner, chin straps or a retaining system, and fit or comfort padding. The rigid outer shell, when present, adds a load-spreading capability, and prevents objects from penetrating the helmet. The liner, usually made of EPS (expanded polystyrene) or similar types of materials, absorbs the energy of an impact by crushing. The chin strap when properly buckled and adjusted along with the fit padding helps the helmet remain in position during a crash. Helmets work like a brake or shock absorber. During a fall or crash, a head is traveling at a certain speed. Since the head has weight and is moving, there is a certain amount of energy associated with the moving head. When the helmet along with the accompanying head impacts an unyielding object, a rock, a wall, a curb or the ground, the hard shell starts by taking the energy generated by the falling helmet (head) and spreads it over a larger portion of the helmet, specifically, the internal foam liner. The foam liner then starts to crush and break which uses up a lot of the energy, keeping it from reaching the head inside. Depending on how fast the head is traveling, and how big, heavy and immovable the object is, the faster the head slows down, and the more energy is present. In short, everything slows down really quickly. A helmet will effectively reduce the speed of the head by breaking and crushing which reduces the amount of energy transferred to the brain. The whole process takes only milliseconds to turn a potentially lethal blow into a survivable one. Why should you replace your helmet every five years? The five-year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance.
  38. 38. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 37 Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five-year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five-year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy. If a helmet is altered from its shell integrity, say if a person drills a hole or a series of mounting holes for a GoPro camera, this will void the warranty and security of its construction. Shall the IJSBA allow only ‘glued in place’ helmet mounts? Why does Snell make my racing association upgrade to the newest Snell Standards? Each association and/or track has the responsibility for the safety of its members or participants, which generally creates a unique set of issues that must be dealt with, and rules to be set accordingly. Snell recommends the latest Snell Standards to all consumers who need head protection. Why won't Snell certify some types of helmets like flip up front designs? Snell does not dismiss out of hand any helmet design that strays from the conventional. Snell does not point out any design specifications other than general requirements in its standards. We are, however, always concerned with innovations and new designs that may affect helmet's ability to protect the wearer, or in some cases helmet's potential to cause injury. At present the Foundation has not had the opportunity to test any of the flip up front type helmets for certification. We do not find any fault with these designs as long as they are used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and meet all of the requirements of the standard. We will also certify any size of helmet as long as it meets the same requirements as any other Snell certified helmet. Where's the Snell label located? There are two forms of the Snell serialized label. The most common is the adhesive label, but there is also a cloth type for the M, SA and RS standards. The adhesive label, or decal is usually affixed somewhere on the inside of the helmet. If it is not readily visible, check underneath the flaps of the comfort padding. The cloth type labels a generally sewn onto the chin strap and folded over. If a thorough search fails to turn up a decal, then regardless of any claims or advertisements, your helmet is not part of the Snell certification program and does not have the confidence of the Foundation. What are the differences between the SA, M and K standards? The SA standard was designed for competitive auto racing while the M standard was for motorcycling and other motorsports. The K standard was released to accommodate helmets used in karting. There are three major differences between them: 1. The SA standard requires flammability test while the M and K standards do not. 2. The SA and K standards allow for a narrower visual field than the M standard (Some SA and K certified helmets may not be street legal). 3. The SA and K standards include a rollbar multi-impact test while the M standard does not. Who/What is Snell? William "Pete" Snell was an amateur auto racer. He died needlessly in a racing event in 1956 when his then state-of- the-art helmet utterly failed to protect him. In memory of Pete, a number of his friends, colleagues and fellow racers including Dr. George Snively, formed the Snell Memorial Foundation to try to improve helmet design and capabilities, and to encourage the development and use of truly protective helmets. Snell certification services are conducted on a fee for service basis. Charges are levied for testing and for the Snell certification labels which go into each Snell certified helmet.
  39. 39. CASE STUDY: Personal Protective Equipment for PWC Competition 2014 38 These are the only revenues. Snell’s directors and staff (www.smf.org) are not allowed any financial connection with the helmet industry. This is customary for any not-for-profit organization serving the public interest. Further, Snell’s charges to the industry are minimal. The real costs of Snell certification go into the additional engineering and quality control necessary to meet Snell Standards. The value is in the helmets. Helmets must meet the government requirements or they are not eligible for sale. Snell motorcycle helmets distributed for sale in the US meet DOT requirements. It’s the law. And there is no real cause for conflict between Snell Standards and those who prefer the mandatory minimums set forth in the United States’ DOT standard or in ECE 22-05 now required in Europe. Snell Standards are voluntary. Manufacturers choose to produce Snell certified helmets and riders choose to wear them. The reason Snell has been able to set standards and certify helmets for the last fifty years is that many riders, experts and manufacturers agree that Snell Standards and Snell certification demand more than the mandatory minimums. There are at least two dimensions to helmet performance: momentum and energy. The helmet must control the momentum transfer between the wearer’s head and the impact surface, that is; it must be sufficiently soft to keep the g’s within safe levels. But the helmet must also manage the total impact energy. Because once the energy management is exhausted, the helmet loses all capacity to limit g levels. Any remaining shock will, instead, test the physical limits of the rider’s bone and tissue. There seems to be no upper limit to the amount of energy management a rider might ever need. And street riders certainly need as much or more than riders in many competitive events. Snell Standards look for all the energy management any rider, street or competition, could reasonably be expected to wear. DOT requires only a fraction of the impact energy management demanded in Snell Standards and ECE 22-05 demands even less than DOT. But there is no official objection to helmets managing more than these mandatory minimums. And there is a considerable gap between these minimums and the most that current technology can provide. Snell certification identifies helmets with premium levels of impact management and, in so doing, serves those who choose to build those helmets and those who choose to wear them. The Snell Memorial Foundation has been actively conducting and supporting research to understand the nature and severity of head and brain injury and to increase head impact protection in such activities as bicycling, motorcycling, auto racing and other non-motorized recreational activities. Basic studies of injury mechanism and protection, as well as field research related to injury severity and causation have been undertaken. What's a batch test, and is it better than RST? Batch testing is another form of compliance checking. It is a common method used by many European and other country's Governmental Standards as well as some of the private ones. Batch test schemes are used to test many types of products. It's called a batch test is because a manufacturer will produce a batch of product and be required to submit a certain number of samples from the batch for testing, or in some cases test data collected by the manufacturer these products to the organization requiring the test. The drawbacks of batch testing are that the system may be manipulated too easily. Unscrupulous manufacturers could make sure the tests performed on their products in their own lab, or by a hired one, indicate that they technically are in compliance with the requirements of the standard. Additionally, if it is required that the batch helmet samples are tested at an outside source, it is possible to make sure the helmets selected will perform as required.

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