Date: March 30, 1998 To: All Snell Certified Manufacturers From: Edward B. Becker,Executive Director
This is the nineteenth of the Foundation's quarterly newsletters
to the helmet manufacturing industry. The eighteenth was sent
out last January. Comments and items for inclusion in subsequent
issues are invited.
A manufacturers' meeting was held Friday, February 20, 1998, in
Indianapolis, the day before the opening of the Powersports Expo.
Ed Hunter and Ed Becker represented the Foundation. The primary
topic was motorcycle helmet standards, in particular, Snell M-95,
DOT FMVSS 218 both current and as proposed, and UN Regulation 22
Revision 4. A table comparing them was presented and discussed
during the meeting. Copies of the table are available on
DOT (FMVSS 218) Qualification Testing
The Snell California laboratory has just completed installation
of equipment and procedures for testing helmets to the
requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (the
DOT standard). Motorcycle helmets marketed for street use in the
United States must meet these requirements but the responsibility
for certifying compliance is left to the manufacturer or US
M-95 certification may not, of itself, guarantee DOT compliance.
Technical differences between the M-95 and DOT standards require
separate testing to establish compliance with both. If an M-95
certified motorcycle helmet is to be sold for street use in the
United States, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer or
importer to see that the necessary test documentation is
maintained and the necessary labelling is applied.
The Foundation does not require DOT compliance for M-95
certification but, as a service to our clients, we are now able
to perform the required testing and maintain the test
documentation. Certified manufacturers will not be required to
submit for DOT qualification testing. However, certified
manufacturers who wish to, may submit samples for separate DOT
qualification testing here at our California laboratory.
Please contact our offices for further information.
Bicycle Helmet Program Restructure
The Foundation has restructured the B-90, B-95 and N-94 programs.
The restructuring includes a marked lowering of the per helmet
cost to the manufacturer. It also improves the efficiency of the
programs without compromising the significance or the value of
Another significant feature of the restructuring is that Snell
bicycle helmet certification will, of itself, demonstrate that
the helmet model also complies with the requirements of the
Consumer Product Safety Commission.
This demonstration is enabled by three new documents:
1. 1998 Augmentation to the 1990 Standard for Protective
Headgear for Use in Bicycling.
2. 1998 Addendum to the 1995 Standard for Protective Headgear
For Use With Bicycles and to the 1994 Standard for
Protective Headgear for Use in Non-Motorized Sports.
3. 1998 Addendum to Standards for Protective Headgear For
Children Four years of Age and Younger For Use in Bicycling.
These three documents modify and augment the existing Snell Standards as necessary to demonstrate complete compliance with
the performance requirements of CFR 16 Part 1203, the CPSC Safety
Standard for Bicycle Helmets.
No special testing will be required for B-95 and N-94 certified
helmets in current production and marketed for use by "persons
age 5 and older." Our random sample testing of these products
over the next few months will document CPSC compliance. However,
B-90 certified products and all Snell certified bicycle helmets
marketed for use by "persons age 1 and older (extended coverage)"
will require certification testing if Snell labelled production
is to continue beyond December 31, 1998.
It is hoped that lower unit costs for Snell Certification and the
elimination of any additional CPSC testing obligation will ease
participation in the Foundation's programs and increase the
accessibility of protective headgear meeting the Foundation's
high standards for protective performance.
Further information on the restructured programs and modified
standards is available on the Foundation's web pages
<http://www.smf.org> or through our California offices.
Bicycle 'A' and 'C' Testing
Over the next few months, the Foundation's test reports for
bicycle helmets may list the Snell standard along with an 'A' or
'C' suffix. The suffix indicates that the standard corresponds
to the CPSC Adult (persons age five and over) or Child
requirements (persons age one and over - extended coverage).
These suffixes will not be included in the certificates awarded
to products passing certification testing. Once the transition
to the CPSC compliant B-95, N-94 and B-90 standards is complete,
the 'A' suffix will be dropped altogether.
Certified Products List Restructure
The Foundation's lists of Snell Certified helmet models have
traditionally been organized by manufacturer, model and size.
Since these lists are distributed to consumers and posted on our
web site, we feel that the public and our clients would be better
served if the lists were organized by brand name, model and size.
In many cases, the manufacturer name is the brand name. However,
oftentimes helmets are made for private labelers or sold under a
brand designation other than the manufacturer name. It may be
difficult, if not impossible, for someone to locate such a helmet
on our lists. We have reorganized our lists to include brand
name information. If no brand is indicated, we will use the
manufacturer name but, at the manufacturer's request, we will
make any appropriate changes.
Frank Lin advises that the certified products lists are among the
most frequently visited pages on our web site. I hope that each
certified manufacturer will review the lists to ensure that all
headgear are fairly and correctly represented. I would be
especially grateful for any comments or suggestions for improving
Drop Mass Changes
The California lab has just completed all the changes necessary
to standardize the drop masses for the ISO A, E, J, M and O
headforms. All impact testing to Snell Standards will be at drop
masses ranging from 5.00 kg to 5.10 kg.
The ISO O headform, the largest in the size range, presented
unique difficulties. In order to meet the drop mass
specification, all testing on the O headform will be done on the
monorail facility. The ISO A, E, J and M headforms will be done
on the twin wire rigs as before.
This mass standardization may cause some helmets to yield higher
peak accelerations during impact testing. The change should be
inversely proportional to the change in drop mass. Since the
increase will never be more than 10%, few currently certified
models, if any, will have any difficulty.
Snell Web Site
The Snell Foundation World Wide Web Site, http://www.smf.org, now
includes more than thirty pages of helmet and head protection
information. There are descriptions of the Foundation and its
certification programs, lists of certified products, links to ftp
downloads of Snell Standards and drafts and links to other web
sites of interest.
Dr. Frank Lin maintains the site and makes bi-weekly additions
and updates to the materials. Frank has received many
compliments for his clear, entertaining and user-friendly
presentation of this useful information. In the last six months,
Sympatico, one of Canada's largest internet providers, gave the
Snell pages a Four Star rating in a survey of health related web
One of the primary purposes of the site is to acquaint the public
with the importance of selecting and wearing the most effective
protective headgear. Once the Foundation tests and certifies a
helmet, we want people to wear it. If you manufacture or sell
Snell certified helmets and you maintain an internet web site,
please contact Dr. Lin to see about establishing a link.
Frank welcomes comments and suggestions regarding any aspect of
the web site.
Ski Helmet Standards
The Foundation's directors are considering a second ski helmet
standard in addition to the 1998 Standard for Protective Headgear
Used in Skiing and Other Winter Activities (S-98). This new
standard, still in draft, will apply to recreational snow sports
such as skiing and snowboarding and tentatively referred to as
RS-98 is similar to S-98 but calls out lower levels of impact. The protection required is still significantly greater than that called out in the Foundation's bicycle helmet standards. Much of the currently available ski headgear will not meet the requirements of the new draft. However, manufacturers of ski helmets are invited to comment on the draft and to submit samples for developmental testing. Please contact the North Highlands office for further information.
Helmet Testing: Gib Brown Gib@smf.org Certification Labels: Ms. Bonnie Adams Bonnie@smf.org Public Education: Ms. Hong Zhang Hong@smf.org Administrative: Steve Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org Internet Web Site: Frank Lin email@example.com All Other: Ed Becker Ed@smf.orgPhone: (916) 331-5073; Fax: (916) 331-0359; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org