Author Robert Pelton writes, “Tomorrow: your reward for working safely today." Safety is essential for those employed in mechanical, industrial, and labor-intensive industries. Using regulated personal protective gear is vital to protect employees' bodies from the harmful risks of their daily work environments.
Safety impact gloves are a specific type of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to prevent serious hand injuries on the job. This impact-resistant PPE is essential in mining, manufacturing, and the oil and gas industry as protection against mechanical risks.
If you’ve been searching the market for safety gloves offering protection from cuts, abrasions, and punctures, you’ve likely come across complicated and detailed information on various websites, including standards such as EN388. Every mechanical or industrial worker should know more about this term. Here is everything you need to know about the EN388:2113 impact rating and how it impacts your safety gear.
What Is Standard EN388?
EN388 is a safety standard for gloves, referring to a method of standardized testing. These tests evaluate the extent to which a pair of gloves can protect your hands against several hazards. These most common mechanical risks in today’s industries are abrasions, cuts, tears, and punctures. Third parties design specific assessments to test gloves and evaluate the performance of their construction, fabric, and layers against these risks.
As such, EN388 is the recognized global label for handwear suitable for providing hand protection in environments with mechanical tasking. Since its inception, the European safety standard of EN388 has been the baseline for performance ratings in the glove safety and manufacturing industry. Each test rates the gloves for either abrasion, cut, tear, or puncture resistance.
Performance Numbers: The Meaning of EN388
For gloves to fully comply with the EN388 standard, manufacturers must provide certain testing methods, markings, and certification details. The information must outline the performance levels for each risk indicator, including resistance to abrasion, circular blade cuts, straight blade cuts, tears, and punctures, not to mention impact protection.
Keep in mind that the higher the designated number or letter rating, the better the protection level. Manufacturers can only apply the EN388 standard if gloves meet at least one high level 1 or level A protective category.
EN388 Testing Procedures
As previously mentioned, the EN388 standard involves six specific tests for glove performance assessment. Let’s take a closer look at the robust testing procedures which evaluate these standards. Read on for what you need to know about the EN388:2113 impact rating.
Abrasion resistance refers to the number of times a glove can withstand abrasive pressure. This test examines how many scrapes a glove can withstand against sandpaper to determine its performance level. The performance levels of abrasion resistance are from 1 to 4. For workers who handle rough materials, abrasion resistance testing is critical to ensure the highest level of protection.
Cut Resistance Coupe Test
The coupe test measures cut resistance against a circular blade as it cuts through the glove material. After completion, the gloves receive a protective level number from 1 to 5. Level 5 offers the highest functional performance. Yet, gloves that test under level 3—or have a false reading—will need ISO cut testing instead. Generally, gloves with the highest circular blade cut resistance are best for those who work with sharp materials daily, including glass, sheet metals, etc.
Using a strength machine to test glove samples, tear resistance testing measures the force needed to rip the material apart. This force is the benchmark for performance function. After the assessment, gloves are given a protection level number from 1 to 4, with 4 indicating the highest performance. Gloves with superior tear strength are ideal for those who handle tough working conditions or heavy loads of pressure on their hands.
Measured with a stylus shaped similarly to a nail, manufacturers test gloves for puncture resistance with a compression machine. The performance function—noted by low level 1 to high level 4—is based on the consistent force required to puncture the glove's material with the tip of the stylus. Ergo, level 4-rated material is the strongest.
ISO Cut Resistance Test
The ISO cut resistance test measures glove performance with a straight blade as an alternative to the coupe test. Instead of numbers, the letters A-F rate the performance level. A-rated gloves offer the lowest level of protection, with an F-rating being the highest. Lower-level rating gloves are best for standard parts handling or assembly. High-level ratings are preferable for handling sharp materials.
As a new inclusion to the standard, the pass/fail impact test evaluates the glove for back-of-the-hand protection against strong impact. The durable outer shell design—and solid rubbery material—of impact gloves prevents pinching or crushing injuries. Any tested glove claiming to have impact protection has a letter P marking. Otherwise, there is no assurance of impact protection.
When Quality Matters Most
As displayed by the robust EN388 testing system, every detail or characteristic of a safety glove can affect its overall quality. Having confidence in the consistency of quality is paramount for job tasks. You’ll find a wide array of innovative shock-proof designs and coating technologies on the market that enhance the look, feel, and performance of certified safety impact gloves.
How To Choose the Right Work Safety Gloves
Workers who get hurt without wearing the proper protective impact gloves could break bones in their hands or damage vital tendons, muscles, and ligaments. For this reason, investing in the right pair of gloves is pivotal to preventing injury and ensuring wellness, safety, and efficiency on the job. Fortunately, a variety of EN388 impact rating gloves are available to suit your exact protective needs.
Multi-purpose safety gloves can be beneficial for maintaining grip and dexterity and protecting against harmful chemicals or mechanical accidents. Opt for gloves that offer comfort, breathability, and support for everyday wear, with features that reduce the risk of hand injury or fatigue.
If you need safety impact gloves, examine the hazards in your workplace to determine the best PPE for your role. L4 FR is here to provide superior protection against hazardous work applications. Choose from our selection of field-tested safety impact gloves for superior back-of-the-hand, finger, and knuckle protection. We’re here protecting your lifestyle so you can continue to be FReaking awesome.