UPDATE TO STANDARD EN 388
GLOVES GIVING PROTECTION FROM MECHANICAL RISKS
THIS STANDARD APPLIES TO ALL KINDS OF PROTECTIVE GLOVES IN RESPECT OF PHYSICAL AND MECHANICAL AGGRESSIONS CAUSED BY ABRASION, BLADE CUT, PUNCTURE AND TEARING
A revised version of the EN 388 standard was released in November 2016 and is referred to as EN 388:2016.
EN 388: 2003
Every glove tested under EN 388:2003 achieved a performance rating expressed by a pictogram, followed by four numbers representing performance against each specific hazard. The higher the numerical rating (0-4 for abrasion, tear and puncture / 0-5 for blade cuts), the higher the protection offered.
EN 388: 2016
THE NEW STANDARD
A number of changes are effective under the new EN 388 standard. The most significant change has been to the cut resistance testing.
Designed to keep pace with the development of cut resistant fibres, the new standard is designed to address flaws in the cut test methodology applied as part of EN 388:2003. This enables safety managers to better match the protection required against the hazards encountered by the workforce.
In instances where the blade in the coup test experiences blunting, an additional test is carried out - EN ISO 13997.
In addition, new testing protocols covering abrasion and impact resistance have been created. All such changes are explained in more detail within this document.
The changes to the standard affect new products being certified. Distributors have until 21st April 2023 to sell through any stocks of product certified to the EN 388:2003 standard.
Although EN 388:2003 results were seen as a satisfactory indicator for gloves with lower cut resistance, a number of flaws were identified for those with higher cut resistance (cut levels 4-5).
The liners used with the latter that are blended with glass-fibre can blunt the microscopic edge of the blade used in the Coup Test, whilst steel-based engineered yarns can stop the testing machine due to metal-to-metal contact without necessarily cutting through the material. As a result, potentially large performance variances and inconsistent cut indices exist. The 2003 version of the standard used the Coup Test method only to indicate cut resistance performance.
In the 2016 version, the Coup Test is still used but if the blade become dull (by a factor of 3 or above after the second reference fabric cut) the EN ISO 13997 cut resistance method then becomes the reference test method for the assessment of the protection against cut risks. In this instance, an ‘X’ may be displayed in the place of a Coup Test result as the second digit under the EN 388 pictogram.
EN ISO 13997 cut resistance performance levels (measured in Newtons (N)) will be indicated by a six-letter classification system.
This will see the additional straight blade performance level result added as a 5th digit under the EN 388 pictogram.
The Coup Test method has also been revised which sees the number of test cycles limited to 60 (whether the blade has cut through the fabric or not) to prohibit endless testing.
The type of abrasive paper used in the test has been changed.
DUE TO THE CHANGE, SOME ABRASION SCORES MAY CHANGE WHEN TESTED TO THE NEW STANDARD.
To measure the abrasion resistance of a glove, the glove material is fitted to a Martindale abrasion machine and the rubbing head moves over the test material in an elliptical motion over a table covered with 180 grit abrasive material. The EN 388:2003 version specified a 100 grit material.
The number of cycles required to make a hole in the test material relate to the 1-4 levels of abrasion performance.
A new addition within the EN 388:2016 standard is an optional test to measure the impact protection of a glove that claims to have impact-resistant properties.
This test is carried out in accordance with EN 13594:2015 6.9 Protective Gloves for Motorcycle Riders.
The area/material of impact protection is tested by being secured to a domed anvil and impacted with a 2.5kg flat face striker and energy of 5J.
Gloves must meet the requirement of level 1 of EN 13594:2015 - the mean transmitted force shall be ≤7.0kN with no single results greater than ≤9.0kN.
A ‘P’ IS ADDED AS THE LAST DIGIT TO THE
IF THE GLOVE MEETS THIS REQUIREMENT, A ‘P’ IS ADDED AS THE LAST DIGIT TO THE EN 388:2016 GLOVE MARKING.