Overview:\nHands are exposed to many hazards in the workplace. Whether handling small parts or carrying out heavy-duty work, many workers are at risk of sustaining injuries through cuts and scratches to their hands. Therefore, it is essential to identify and provide the most appropriate safety gloves for the specific task.\nIf you make the wrong decision, it could be equally as hazardous as not wearing any hand protection at all. In fact wearing safety gloves of any kind, regardless of the intended usage, may cause a worker to become complacent and less cautious of the hazards and so even more at risk. In addition, safety gloves that are ill-suited to a task may also inhibit dexterity or get caught in machinery.\nWhat is EN 388:\nEN 388 is the European safety standard for protective gloves against mechanical risks, which has been updated several times over the years. Indeed, due to the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016\/425, since 21st April 2019 it has been illegal to place gloves for mechanical protection on the EU market that have not been certified against the state-of-the-art (that is, EN 388:2016+A1:2018). To help users and safety managers determine the protection level of a pair of gloves, EN 388:2016 uses index values to rate the performance of a glove when protecting against various mechanical risks. These include abrasion, blade cut, tear, puncture, and impact.\nThe diagram below shows the EN 388 badge. Below this icon will be four numbers and 1 or 2 letters, which indicate the test performance of the gloves against each hazard.\n\nFor gloves satisfying the requirements of EN 388, the mechanical properties of the glove shall be shown in a pictogram, followed by the respective performance levels of each mechanical test (as above). The first number corresponds to the abrasion resistance, the second to the circular blade cut resistance, the third to the tear resistance, the fourth to puncture resistance and the fifth character (a letter) to the straight cut test. If either the circular blade cut test or the straight blade cut test has not been performed, an 'X' should be used in place of an achieved level. In addition, a marking code 'P' may also be added for gloves meeting the impact-resistant requirements of EN 388:2016+A1:2018. For the first four tests, it is a common convention to indicate '0' when level 1 cannot be attained. The pictogram cannot be used if the glove does not achieve at least level 1 or level A for at least one protective category.\nUnderstanding the EN 388 badge:\n\n\n\nTest\nLevel 1\nLevel 2\nLevel 3\nLevel 4\nLevel 5\n\n\nAbrasion resistance (number of cycles)\n100\n500\n2,000\n8,000\n–\n\n\nCircular blade cut resistance (index)\n1.2\n2.5\n5.0\n10.0\n20.0\n\n\nTear resistance (N)\n10\n25\n50\n75\n–\n\n\nPuncture resistance (N)\n20\n60\n100\n150\n–\n\n\n\nBelow is a breakdown on how the tests are carried out and how the performance scores are given.\nAbrasion Resistance\nThe first number in the code under the EN 388 relates to abrasion resistance. The material of the gloves is subjected to abrasion by sandpaper under a determined amount of pressure.\nFour levels of performance are defined within EN 388, ranging from 'level 1', (which is equivalent to holing between 100 and 499 cycles) to 'level 4', where holing does not occur before 8,000 cycles.\nWhen compared with EN 388:2003, there is a major technical change to the abrasion resistance method, relating to the choice of abrasive paper. The abrasion resistance test is undertaken on a Martindale abrasion machine, in which specimens of the material (cut from the palm of the glove) are fitted to a rubbing head of fixed size and weight. This head is then moved in an elliptical motion over a table covered with 180 grit abrasive material (a change from the 2003 version, in which 100 grit is specified).Four specimens of the material are tested, with the test result being the number of cycles required to abrade through ('hole') the material. For knitted gloves, the test is completed when one thread is broken or, for woven fabrics, when two separate threads are broken.. The performance level of a single material is decided by the lowest result of the four tests. For multiple layer materials (where the test specimen is made of several unbonded layers), each layer is tested separately and the performance level is based on the sum of the number of cycles.\n\n\n\n\nCompleted Turns\n\n\nAbrasion score\n\n\n\n\n8000\n\n\n4\n\n\n\n\n2000\n\n\n3\n\n\n\n\n500\n\n\n2\n\n\n\n\n100\n\n\n1\n\n\n\n\nLess than 100\n\n\n0\n\n\n\n\nCircular Blade Cut Resistance\nThis involves a rotating circular blade moving horizontally to and from across a fabric sample. A total force of 5 Newtons applied from above. The test is completed when the blade has broken through the sample material, and the result is then specified as an index value.\nThis result is determined by the cycle count needed to cut through the sample and calculate the degree of wear and tear on the blade.\nThe protection level is indicated by a number between 1 and 5, where 5 indicates the highest level of cut protection.\n\n\n\n\nCycle count\n\n\nCut Resistance Score\n\n\n\n\n20\n\n\n5\n\n\n\n\n10\n\n\n4\n\n\n\n\n5\n\n\n3\n\n\n\n\n2.5\n\n\n2\n\n\n\n\n1.2\n\n\n1\n\n\n\n\nLess than 1.2\n\n\n0\n\n\n\n\nTear Resistance\nThis test involves the force needed to tear the glove material apart. The score is between 1-4, 4 being the strongest.\n\n\n\n\nNewtons\n\n\nTear Resistance Score\n\n\n\n\n75\n\n\n4\n\n\n\n\n50\n\n\n3\n\n\n\n\n25\n\n\n2\n\n\n\n\n10\n\n\n1\n\n\n\n\nLess than 10\n\n\n0\n\n\n\n\nPuncture Resistance\nThis test to examine the full force required for a puncture in the material. The scores reflect the strength of the material, 4 being the strongest and 1 the softest.\n\n\n\n\nNewtons\n\n\nPuncture Resistance Score\n\n\n\n\n150\n\n\n4\n\n\n\n\n100\n\n\n3\n\n\n\n\n60\n\n\n2\n\n\n\n\n20\n\n\n1\n\n\n\n\nLess than 20\n\n\n0\n\n\n\n\nCut Resistance (EN ISO 13997)\nThis new test aims to determine the resistance of the safety gloves by applying significant force to the sample fabric in a single movement rather than in continuous circular motions like in the coupe test.\nA knife cuts with constant speed but increasing force until it breaks through the material. This technique allows for an accurate result of the minimum force required to cut the sample material at a depth of 20mm.\n\n\n\n\nNewtons\n\n\nCut Resistance Score\n\n\n\n\n30\n\n\nF\n\n\n\n\n22\n\n\nE\n\n\n\n\n15\n\n\nD\n\n\n\n\n10\n\n\nC\n\n\n\n\n5\n\n\nB\n\n\n\n\n2\n\n\nA\n\n\n\n\nImpact protection (EN 13594)\nThis test is optional as it is only relevant for specific types of glove. Therefore, a letter P will be the sixth and last sign under the badge on the glove; these are most common in motorbike gloves. Gloves that do not show the letter P means that there is no impact protection claim.\nWhat is EN511:\nThe European test to assess thermal gloves who offer protection against cold environments and hazards. 3 tests are carried out to assess the gloves performance in cold conditions. A score requirement of at least 1 in the EN 388 Abrasion Resistance test must be scored to carry out EN 511 on the glove.\nThe badge below shows how the badge is laid out and where the test scores show.\n\nUnderstanding EN511 badge:\n\n\n\n\nProduct Example; GL8951\n\n\nPerformance scores\n\n\nTests\n\n\n\n\n0\n\n\n0-4\n\n\nResistance to Convective Cold\n\n\n\n\n2\n\n\n0-4\n\n\nResistance to Contact Cold\n\n\n\n\nX\n\n\n0-1\n\n\nPermeability to Water\n\n\n\n\nResistance to Convective Cold\nThis test is linked to the Thermal Insulation (ITR) test against Convective Cold. The performance scores indicate how well the glove insulate and maintain you hand temperature against surroundings cold air.\nThe assessment is carried out on a mannequin hand placed in an enclosed chamber with a fan blowing air above the glove at a set 20°C. The power required to maintain the mannequin’s hand temperature is taken to give a performance score. The greater amount of power required, the lower the thermal resistance of the glove receives a lower Convective Cold score.\nResistance to Contact Cold\nThis test is linked to the Thermal Resistance (R) of the glove. The test requires the glove material to be placed between two metal plates which are at different temperatures. During the test, the temperature of both plates is dropped to measure the glove materials thermal resistance.\nThe higher the resistance score the better insulted the glove is for cold contact.\nPermeability to Water\nThe glove is soaked in water for a 30-minute set. This is a pass or fail test in only a score of 1 can be given if the water is not penetrated the glove after 30 minutes. A score of 0 will be given if the glove fails to prevent water from penetration. \nUser instructions\nWhen compared with EN 388:2003, EN 388:2016+A1:2018 has some additional requirements for the user instructions to be supplied with the gloves. If impact protection is claimed, the user instructions shall state the part of the glove for which the protection is claimed, and highlight that the protection does not apply to the fingers. For gloves with a tear performance of level 1 or greater, a warning must be included that these gloves should not be worn where there is a risk of entanglement with moving parts of machines. Finally, for products where performance levels are given for both cut tests, this statement will be included; "The circular blade cut test results are only indicative whilst the straight cut resistance test is the reference performance result".