Industry Standards

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.

EN388 EN388 Mechanical
Hazards
EN407 EN407 Thermal
(Heat)
Hazards
EN407 EN1149 Antistatic
EN374-2 EN374-2 Micro-
Organisms
EN374-3 EN374-3 Chemical
Hazards
Other Hand Protection Standards
Food Safe Food
Handling
Food Safe Radioactive
Contamination
Food Safe Ionising
Radiation
Food Safe Low
Chemical
Resistance

Markings

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.

Dexterity (1-5)

The higher the rating, the greater the dexterity.

Innocuousness (pH)

All gloves are checked for compliance in terms of their pH value (between 3.5 and 9.5).

Performance levels

The higher the rating, the greater the performance, the lowest rating being zero.

SCOPE

This standard specifies the capability of gloves to protect the user against chemicals and/or micro-organisms.

DEFINITIONS

Penetration

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.

Permeation

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.

REQUIREMENTS

  • The minimum liquid proof section of the glove shall be at least equal to the minimum length of the glove specified in EN 420.
  • Penetration: A glove shall not leak when tested to an air and/or water leak test, and shall be tested and inspected in compliance with the Acceptable Quality Level.
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.

Code Chemical CAS Number Class
A Methanol 67-56-1 Primary alcohol
B Acetone 67-64-1 Ketone
C Acetonitrile 75-05-8 Nitrile compound
D Dichloromethane 75-09-2 Chlorinated paraffin
E Carbone disulphide 75-15-0 Sulphur containing Organic compound
F Toluene 108-88-3 Aromatic hydrocarbon
G Diethylamine 109-89-7 Amine
H Tetrahydrofurane 109-99-9 Heterocyclic and Ether compound
I Ethyl acetate 141-78-6 Ether
J N-Heptane 142-85-5 Saturated Hydrocarbon
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.

EN388

Scope

This standard applies to all kinds of protective gloves in respect of physical and mechanical aggressions caused by abrasion, blade cut, puncture and tearing.

DEFINITION AND REQUIREMENTS

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:

  1. 0 to 4 - Resistance to abrasion. Based on the number of cycles required to abrade through the sample given.
  2. 0 to 5 - Blade cut resistance. Based on the number of cycles required to cut through the sample at a constant speed.
  3. 0 to 4 - Tear resistance. Based on the amount of force required to tear the sample.
  4. 0 to 4 - Puncture resistance. Based on the amount of force required to pierce the sample with a standard sized point.

SCOPE

This standard specifies thermal performance for protective gloves against heat and/or fire.

DEFINITION AND REQUIREMENTS

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.

EN388

The ‘heat and flame’ pictogram is accompanied by a 6-digit number:

a. Resistance to flammability (performance level 0-4)

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.

b. Contact heat resistance (performance level 0-4)

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.

c. Convective heat resistance (performance level 0-4)

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.

d. Radiant heat resistance (performance level 0-4)

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.

e. Resistance to small splashes of molten metal (performance level 0-4)

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.

f. Resistance to large splashes of molten metal (performance level 0-4)

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.

SCOPE

This standard applies to any gloves to protect the hands against convective and contact cold down to -50oC.

DEFINITION AND REQUIREMENTS

Protection against cold is expressed by a pictogram followed by a series of 3 performance levels, relating to specific protective qualities.

EN388

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.

  • Convective cold resistance: based on the thermal insulation properties of the glove which are obtained by measuring the transfer of cold via convection.
  • Contact cold resistance: based on the thermal resistance of the glove material when exposed to contact with a cold object.
  • Water impermeability: 0 = water penetration after 30 minutes of exposure 1 = no water penetration.
DIRECTIVE 2002/72 EC

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.

STANDARD EN1149-1

The glove attains the levels of resistivity required by this standard in terms of electrostatic conduction or dissipation.