EN388:2016 Glove Standards: What you need to know

hand wearing cut resistant gloves

You may have heard there’s been an update to the EN388:2003 glove standard. EN388:2016 Protection against mechanical risks has recently been published, replacing the old glove standard and ensuring that your workforce is sufficiently protected against mechanical risks.

In this blog we aim to guide you through the new glove scoring system and help you understand the new glove scoring and markings. It is important that the gloves you choose give your workers optimum protection.

The EN388:2016 glove standard affects new product certification and won’t apply retrospectively. Some gloves may have a new score on them but gloves can continue to be sold under both versions of the standard until 2023 when their certification will then need to be renewed. Until then, glove markings will change and it’s important you know that to look out for. So, what does this mean for the gloves you provide for your workforce?

More accurate testing

The new glove standard now allows for a more accurate test for cut protections, as well as some other small changes. This new scoring system affects cut level standards and other levels of testing and means that lots of gloves will now have updated scores.

Previously, the glove score was a 4-digit number with a maximum score of 4544. The second digit is the cut score – from 1 to 5 with 1 being the minimum and 5 the highest. The new score includes the addition of a letter that has been added due to inconsistencies in the old cut test.

The old test (Coupe test) (now clause 6.2 in EN388:2016) used a rotary blade that ran over the glove with 5N (Newtons) of force but this was found to not give an accurate enough score rating for gloves that blunted the blade.

So, the new test (ISO 13997) (now clause 6.3 in EN388:2016) is designed to give a more accurate result and therefore allows for the recognition of higher degrees of cut resistance. The test achieves this by changing the blade after every cut and using variable levels of force (N) applied to the blade rather than just the 5N in the old test.

New glove markings

The cut score on the new test uses letters rather than numbers. New levels go from A to F, with A being the lowest level of protection and F scoring the highest. The marking on the glove will appear as EN388 4.X.4.4.F (X meaning not tested to the old test or blade was blunted during testing and testing was stopped before completion).

As this is a new test there is as yet no accurate correlation as to what “new” score an “old” glove will get. There is no definitive wording on the 6 levels yet, but it is suggested it could be:

  • Level A – Low Cut level
  • Level B – Low/Medium Cut level
  • Level C – Medium/High Cut level
  • Level D – High Cut level
  • Level E – Very High Cut level
  • Level F – Ultra High Cut level

To find out more about the new glove scoring system and choose the best gloves for your workforce contact us today.