Knowing the EN standards is essential in helping the right decision to be made when it comes to protecting workers’ hands. When buying industrial gloves, an understanding of the numeric or alphabetical codes and symbols used for specifying protection levels in the standards is recommended.
Each glove carries the manufacturer’s logo, the reference, the size and CE mark. If it is classed in category III, the number of the notified body that carried out the tests also appears on the glove.
The higher the rating, the greater the dexterity.
All gloves are checked for compliance in terms of their pH value (between 3.5 and 9.5).
The higher the rating, the greater the performance, the lowest rating being zero.
This standard specifies the capability of gloves to protect the user against chemicals and/or micro-organisms.
The movement of a chemical and/or micro-organism through porous materials, seam, pinholes or other imperfections in a protective glove material at a non-molecular level.
The rubber and plastic films in gloves do not always act as barriers to liquids. Sometimes they can act as sponges, soaking up the liquids and holding them against the skin. It is therefore necessary to measure break-through times, or the time taken for the hazardous liquid to come in contact with the skin.
|AQL: Performance Level||Acceptable quality level unit||Inspection levels|
|Level 3||< 0.65||G1|
|Level 2||< 1.5||G1|
|Level 1||< 4.0||GA4|
The ‘Chemical resistant’ glove pictogram must be accompanied by a 3-digit code. This code refers to 3 chemicals (from a list of 12 standard defined chemicals) for which a breakthrough time of at least 30 minutes has been obtained.
|E||Carbone disulphide||75-15-0||Sulphur containing Organic compound|
|H||Tetrahydrofurane||109-99-9||Heterocyclic and Ether compound|
|K||Sodium hydroxide 40%||1310-73-2||Inorganic base|
|L||Sulphuric acid 96%||7664-93-9||Inorganic mineral acid|
Permeation: Each chemical tested is classified in terms of breakthrough time (performance level 0 to 6):
|Measured breakthrough time||Protection index||Measured breakthrough time||Protection index|
|> 10 minutes||Class 1||> 120 minutes||Class 4|
|> 30 minutes||Class 2||> 240 minutes||Class 5|
|> 60 minutes||Class 3||> 480 minutes||Class 6|
The ‘Low Chemical resistant’ or ‘Waterproof’ glove pictogram is to be used for those gloves that do not achieve a breakthrough time of at least 30 minutes against at least three chemicals from the defined list, but which comply with the Penetration test.
The ‘Micro-organism’ pictogram is to be used when the glove conforms to at least a performance level 2 for the Penetration test.
Warning: The chemical data information does not necessarily reflect the actual duration in the workplace.
This standard applies to all kinds of protective gloves in respect of physical and mechanical aggressions caused by abrasion, blade cut, puncture and tearing.
Protection against mechanical hazards is expressed by a pictogram followed by four numbers (performance levels), each representing test performance against a specific hazard.
The ‘Mechanical Risks’ pictogram is accompanied by a 4-digit code:
This standard specifies thermal performance for protective gloves against heat and/or fire.
The nature and degree of protection is shown by a pictogram followed by a series of six performance levels, relating to specific protective qualities. Gloves must also achieve at least Performance level 1 for abrasion and tear.
The ‘heat and flame’ pictogram is accompanied by a 6-digit number:
Based on the length of time the material continues to burn and glow after the source of ignition is removed. The seams of the glove shall not come apart after an ignition time of 15 seconds.
Based on the temperature range (100-500oC) at which the user will feel no pain for at least 15 seconds. If an EN level 3 or higher is obtained, the product shall record at least EN level 3 in the flammability test. Otherwise, the maximum contact heat level shall be reported as level 2.
Based on the length of time the glove is able to delay the transfer of heat from a flame. A performance level shall only be mentioned if a performance level of 3 or 4 is obtained in the flammability test.
Based on the length of time the glove is able to delay the transfer of heat when exposed to a radiant heat source. A performance level shall only be mentioned if a performance level 3 or 4 is obtained in the flammability test.
The number of molten metal drops required to heat the glove sample to a given level. A performance level shall only be mentioned if a performance level 3 or 4 is obtained in the flammability test.
The weight of molten metal required to cause smoothing or pin-holing across a simulated skin placed directly behind the glove sample. The test is failed if metal droplets remain stuck to the glove material or if the specimen ignites.
This standard applies to any gloves to protect the hands against convective and contact cold down to -50oC.
Protection against cold is expressed by a pictogram followed by a series of 3 performance levels, relating to specific protective qualities.
The ‘cold hazard’ pictogram is accompanied by a 3-digit number:
a. Resistance to convective cold (performance level 0 - 4)
b. Resistance to contact cold (performance level 0 - 4)
c. Permeability by water (0 or 1)
All gloves must achieve at least EN388 performance level 1 for abrasion and tear.
European directive 2002/72 (which replaces 90/128/EEC) governs the conditions and restrictions that all plastic materials and objects must comply with if they are intended to come into contact with foods.
The glove attains the levels of resistivity required by this standard in terms of electrostatic conduction or dissipation.