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Gloves used for mechanical protection

EN388 is the European safety standard for protective gloves against mechanical risks such as working with glass, carrying out demolition and other tasks which risk sustaining injuries through cuts and tears to the hands. Abrasion resistance, cut resistance, tearing strength, puncture resistance and impact protection are all tested to maximise your safety. Gloves which conform to EN 388 are then rated using four numbers and one or two letters which indicate how resistant the gloves are to mechanical hazards. 

Protective gloves which conform to EN 388 will be marked with this shield and display a range of numbers and letters. If the gloves are marked ‘x’ it means that they were not tested for that particular category.

1. Abrasion resistance

The first number in EN 388 tells you how well the gloves resist abrasion between a level of 1-4. The higher the number is, the better the resistance to abrasion and vice versa. The test is carried out by sandpaper under a determined amount of pressure. Depending on the number of turns required until a hole appears in the material determines the level of protection. 


2. Cut resistance (Coupe Test)

The second number in EN 388 relates to cut resistance by testing a knife over the glove material until it cuts through. The protection level is between 1-5 where gloves which have a higher rating provide better protection against sharp objects. The result is determined by the amount of times needed to cut through the material and calculating the degree of wear and tear on the blade of the knife. If the material blunts the blade during the coupe test then the cut test from EN ISO 13997 (TDM test) shall be performed (see point 5). 

3. Tear resistance 

The third number in EN 388 relates to tear strength where force is required to tear the glove material apart and then measured. The protection level ranges between 1-4, where 4 indicates the strongest material. 

4. Puncture resistance 

The fourth and final number in EN 388 relates to puncture resistance which is based on the amount of force required to puncture the material of the glove. This number will be between one and four, where again, 4 indicates the strongest material.

5. Cut resistance (EN ISO 13997)

If the knife is dulled during point 2, an alternative cut test for the gloves is performed (ISO 13997:1999). This test gives an accurate calculation of the minimum force required to cut the sample material at a thickness of 20mm. The result is given by a letter between A to F. F indicates the highest level of protection. If any of these letters is given, this method determines the protection level and the coupe test value will be marked as 'x'.

6. Impact protection (EN 13594)

The second and last letter relates to impact protection, which is an optional test if the gloves are being used for a specific purpose. If the glove has an impact protection, this is shown by the letter P, but if there is no P sign, then no impact protection is claimed. 

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