There are many causes of hand injuries on construction sites but number one on the list is performing tasks without the protection of gloves. Wearing safety gloves is the most effective way of reducing most hand injuries. This simple solution has been proven to reduce the relative risk of injury by 60 percent. Gloves are available to protect hands and forearms from cuts, abrasions, burns, cold, vibration, angry squirrels, skin contact with hazardous chemicals, puncture wounds and some electrical shocks.
Safety gloves are often divided into 3 categories by use.
The main European Standards for Personal Protective Equipment gloves are
EN420: Standard requirements for protective gloves
EN388 for gloves giving protection from mechanical risks
EN 420 Standard requirements
All safety gloves must conform to this basic standard. For this reason EN 420 is often missed from lists of certification.
EN 420 safety gloves must be safe to wear
- The gloves themselves should not impose a risk or cause injury.
- The pH of the gloves should be as close as possible to neutral.
- Leather gloves should have a pH value between 3.5 – 9.5.
- The highest permitted value for chromium is 3 mg/kg (chrome VI).
- Specific details of any substance used in the glove which is known to cause allergies
- Sized by reference to an agreed common European hand size
Other PPE glove certification standards are:
- EN 407 for gloves giving protection from thermal hazards
- EN 374 for gloves giving protection from chemicals and microorganisms
- EN 12477:2001 for gloves for welders
- EN 659:2003 (+A1:2008) for gloves for firefighters
- EN 511:2006 for gloves that protect against cold
- EN 421:2010 for gloves that protect against ionising radiation and radioactive contamination
- EN 381 Parts 4 and 7:1996 for gloves that protect against chainsaws
- EN 1082 parts 1-3:1996 to 2000 for gloves that protect against hand knives
- EN ISO 10819:2013 for gloves that protect against mechanical vibration
- EN 60903:2003 for gloves that protect during live electrical working
The EN388: 2003: Protective Gloves Against Mechanical Risks standard shows the level of protection of a safety glove expressed by a pictogram followed by four numbers representing performance against a specific hazard.
The EN388: 2003: Protective Gloves Against Mechanical Risks standard shows the level of protection of a safety glove expressed by a pictogram followed by four numbers representing performance against a specific hazard. Abrasion Resistance (1-4) Blade Cuts Resistance (1-5) Tear Resistance (1-4) Puncture Resistance (1-4)
EN 388 was revised in 2016 and the main change was the addition of the TDM-100 Test
The TDM-100 Test uses a sliding blade and weights since the blade used in the rotary Coup Test can become dull when testing high glass and steel fibre level yarns leading to misleading results.
Gloves may continue to be sold under both versions of the standard until 2023.
Now has the pictogram followed by four numbers and two letters.
EN ISO 13997 – A NEW CUT TEST
For safety gloves created with materials designed to have a blunting effect on blades, additional cut protection tests must now be carried out and verified.
Any sample fabric testing for cut resistance using the ‘Coup Blade Cut Test’, which blunts the blade during the test, will have to also be tested using the new EN ISO test. This is to ensure the degree of protection provided by the glove is as accurate as possible.
HOW EN ISO 13997 WORKS The objective of this new cut protection test is to determine the resistance of the safety glove by applying the sample fabric with great force in a single movement. To this end, a sharp-edged blade is dragged over the sample fabric once. This allows the accurate calculation of the minimum force required to cut the sample material at a thickness of 20mm. The result is displayed in Newton’s. There are 6 cut levels identified in the new EN ISO cut method.
WHY IS THE NEW CUT TEST NEEDED? The EN ISO 13997 test provides a new category of cut protection to help keep hands safe.
The ‘Coup Blade Cut Test’ method offers an effective representation for cuts caused by sharp, fairly lightweight objects. On the other hand, the new EN ISO test gives a more accurate specification in terms of cut resistance during work which includes differing impactbased hazards. Additionally, cut resistance ratings have changed with the introduction of EN ISO, meaning there are now 6 possible grades.
However, it should be noted that if a sample fabric performs well in one test method it may not mean it will also achieve good results in the other.