European Standards For Protective Gloves

Last updated: May 13, 2024

What Does European Standards For Protective Gloves Mean?

EN 388 is the European standard regulating protective gloves for use in the workplace. To be sold as PPE in Europe, a pair of safety gloves must earn an EN 388 certificate. To do this, they must prove to be cut-, tear-, and puncture-resistant.

Safeopedia Explains European Standards For Protective Gloves

The EN 388 test procedure includes individual tests that measure heavy rubbing, cutting, tearing, and punctures.

Abrasion resistance is measured using the Martindale test. Four samples are tested and the result is the number of cycles required to rub through the material. The performance level for the material is determined by the lowest result of the four tests. For gloves with multiple layers, each layer is tested separately.

To test cut resistance, an instrument is used to measure how many circular movements it takes for a sharp object to cut through the material.

To test tear resistance, a sample of the material is clamped in the jaws of a strength testing machine.

For puncture resistance, a rounded point is pushed through the material at a fixed speed and force.

EN 388 underwent a revision in 2016, including the following updates:

  1. Under the old standard, cut resistance was measured by using the Coup Test which could make the blade dull during the test. The new standard limits the number of passes the blade can make over the test fabric to 60.
  2. Unlike the old standard, new abrasive paper will be used. For which, some abrasion scores may change when a product is re-certified under the new test conditions.
  3. The impact test is included in the list that claims specific impact-resistant properties. The marking will include a ‘P’ to indicate the glove has passed the impact test.
  4. The glove marking will now feature two additional components.

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