Standards and directives for safety gloves

DIN EN 388 – Safety gloves against mechanical risks

The European standard DIN EN 388 describes the requirements, test methods and labelling of safety gloves against mechanical risks when carrying out work. The test methods laid down can also be applied to arm protectors (in other words, on parts of protective clothing that are not firmly connected to glove or protective clothing).

In the same way as the test results, the safety gloves are classified with a performance level in relation to each of the individual mechanical hazards. The relevant values (number from 0 to 5, with 4/5 being the best) can be seen next to the pictogram of the glove.

The mechanical risks and stresses and/or their test methods are defined in DIN EN 388 as follows:

  • Resistance to abrasion:
    To test the safety glove's resistance to abrasion, the material is treated with sandpaper under pressure. The number of cycles needed to abrade a hole in the material serves as a benchmark.
    (Highest performance level 4 = 8,000 cycles)
  • Blade cut resistance:
    To check the blade cut resistance of a safety glove, a rotating circular blade is used, which cuts through the glove at a constant speed. Comparison with a reference material serves as a benchmark and a resulting index.
    (Highest performance level 5 = index 20)
  • Tear resistance:
    To check tear resistance, the material of the safety glove is firstly slit. The force needed to tear the material serves as a benchmark.
    (Highest performance level 4 = 75 Newtons)
  • Puncture resistance:
    To test the puncture resistance, the glove is punctured with a nail (established dimension). The force used serves as a benchmark.
    (Highest performance level 4 = 150 Newtons)
DIN EN 388 safety standard logo

EN 388:2016 – Modification to the standard for cut protection gloves

Protection classes for cut protection gloves were previously assigned in Europe in accordance with standard DIN EN 388:2003. Due to the continuous development of technical materials – so-called ‘high-performance fibres’ – it has become necessary to adjust the methods used to test and classify these products. These changes have been implemented in standard DIN EN 388:2016.

EN 388:2003 test procedure

  • Cut resistance test using the coup test.
  • Rotating circular knife moves back and forth at a constant force (5 newtons) on the test material and rotates counter to the movement.
  • The index value results from the number of cycles required to the point at which the test piece is cut through, and from the degree of wear of the blade.
  • Five measurements are performed in this way on each test piece.
  • The average of the five index values confirms the corresponding performance class for the cut protection level of a safety glove.
performance class12345
index≥ 1,2≥ 2,5≥ 5≥ 10≥ 20
Testing machine for EN 388:2003 procedure

EN 388:2016/ISO 13997 test procedure

  • Relates to cut protection gloves made from materials that cause the blades to become blunt (i.e. glass and steel fibres).
  • Additional test procedure in accordance with ISO 13997: Determination of resistance of the glove to cutting by a sharp object through single contact under higher force.
  • A long, straight blade is drawn once over the test piece. The minimum force required to cut through the test piece after 20 millimetres is determined in the process. The result is given in newtons (N) and assigned to a cut protection class.
performance classABCDeF
Newton value≥ 2≥ 5≥ 10≥ 15≥ 22≥ 30
Testing machine for EN 388:2016/ISO 13997 procedure

Video: Cut resistance testing of safety gloves according to EN 388 and ISO 13997

Comparing old and new test methods for safety glove standards
EN 388:2016 safety standard for cut protection gloves
EN 388:2016 safety standard logo

DIN EN 374 – Protection from chemical risks

The European standard DIN EN 374 defines the performance requirements for gloves, which protect the wearer from chemicals and microorganisms.

The standard for hand protection against chemical risks is sub-divided into the following sections:

  • DIN EN 374-1: Terminology and performance requirements
  • DIN EN 374-2: Determination of resistance to penetration
  • DIN EN 374-3: Determination of resistance to permeation by chemicals

In DIN EN 374, the regulated minimum requirements for safety gloves include specifications relating to:

  • dimensions
  • touch
  • dexterity
  • labelling
  • storage

Resistance against penetration describes resistance against the penetration of microorganisms. This can be ensured in accordance with EN 374 by filling gloves with water and testing for tightness. The results from this kind of test are divided into three performance levels, which are noted next to the pictogram. In terms of protection from chemicals, the time needed for a chemical to penetrate (permeate) the glove material is measured.

ECarbon disulphide
IEthyl acetate
KSodium hydroxide 40%
LSulphuric acid 96%
DIN EN 374 safety standard logo

DIN EN 407 –Safety gloves against thermal risks

The European standard DIN EN 407 regulates the minimum requirements and specific test methods for safety gloves in relation to thermal risks. Safety gloves certified in accordance with this standard protect the wearer from, for example, contact heat, radiant heat and small splashes from molten metal.

However, it does not concern the specific application of heat-resistant gloves, such as firefighting or welding. Heat-resistant gloves are intended to fulfil the following properties in accordance with DIN EN 407:

  • low flammability or flame spread
  • low heat transmission (protective effect from radiant, convective and contact heat)
  • high temperature resistance

Safety gloves are classified and tested in DIN EN 407 in accordance with the following criteria:

  • Protection from ignition:
    safety glove is exposed to a gas flame for 15 seconds. Then measurement of the time until the glove material ceases to burn/glow.
    (Highest performance level 4 = afterflame time 2 seconds, afterglow time 5 seconds)
  • Protection from contact heat:
    temperature measurement (100 °C to 500 °C) against which the glove provides protection for 15 seconds without the inside of the glove heating up by over 10 °C.
    (Highest performance level 4 = + 500 °C)
  • Protection from convective heat (gradually penetrating heat):
    time measurement, the length of time the glove can delay a temperature increase of the inside of the glove – by heat penetration from an open fire – of over 24 °C. 
    (Highest performance level 4)
  • Protection from thermal radiation:
    safety glove is exposed to thermal radiation. Time measurement until a certain heat has penetrated the inside of the glove.
    (Highest performance level 4 = at least 150 seconds)
  • Protection from droplets of molten metal:
    measurement of how many droplets of molten metal are needed to increase the temperature between the glove material and skin by 40 °C.
    (Highest performance level 4 = over 35 droplets)
  • Protection from molten metal:
    measurement of how many grams of molten iron are needed to damage synthetic PVC skin (attached to the inside of the glove).
    (Highest performance level 4 = 200 grams) 

    In accordance with the test in DIN EN 407, the safety gloves are classified with a performance level in relation to each of the individual thermal hazards (numbers from 1 to 4, with 4 being the best). What is important is that the glove must not come into contact with open fire if it does not fulfil performance level 3 in the fire resistance test.
DIN EN 407 safety standards logo

DIN EN 511 – Protection from cold

Minimum requirements for safety gloves in relation to protection from cold are regulated in standard DIN EN 511. The gloves certified under this standard are intended to protect the wearer from convective cold (penetrating cold) and contact cold (direct contact).

As with protection from thermal and mechanical risks, the safety glove is classified into different performance levels for individual aspects. The performance levels are indicated with a number from 1 to 4 next to the pictogram, where 4 is the highest level.

Determination of performance levels for safety gloves against cold:

  • Convective cold:
    Measuring the quantity of energy needed to maintain the temperature of a heated hand model (30 to 35 °C) with a safety glove in relation to a constant room temperature. (Calculation of the thermal insulation properties based on the temperature of the hand model, room temperature and energy required to maintain the temperature.)
  • Contact cold (Test in accordance with ISO 5085):
    Determination of thermal resistance of the safety gloves with a cold and a hot plate. The glove material is placed as an insulator between both plates and the change in the temperature gradient acts as a measurand (comparison with normative reference).

The glove can also be tested for water permeability in accordance with EN ISO 15383. If no water permeates into the glove over a 30-minute period, this test is deemed as passed (no specific performance levels).

DIN EN 511 safety standards logo

DIN EN 16350:2014 – Safety gloves, electrostatic properties

For workplaces with a risk of fire and explosion, there is now a European standard, DIN EN 16350:2014, which defines the test conditions and minimum requirements for the electrostatic properties of safety gloves:

  • The contact resistance must be less than 1.0 × 108 ohms (Rv< 1.0 × 108 Ω).
  • Test atmosphere: air temperature of 23 ± 1 °C, relative humidity 25 ± 5 %.

Important! Safety gloves with antistatic characteristics are only effective if the resistance between the wearer and the earth is less than 108 ohms. Our products are tested in accordance with DIN EN 16350:2014 and are suitable for both product and work protection.

What should the user look out for?
The old classification in accordance with DIN EN 1149-1:2006 is no longer permitted. The tested surface resistance only gives the charge transfer to the surface of the material and is not sufficient to guarantee effective protection.

What can gloves tested in accordance with DIN EN 16350:2014 be used for?
Safety gloves that have been successfully tested in accordance with DIN EN 16350:2014 can be used in workplaces with a risk of fire and explosion (e.g. refineries) and form an essential part in the earthing chain (glove – protective clothing – shoes – ground). In connection with electrostatic properties, the electrostatic discharge ("electrostatic discharge", or "ESD") is frequently considered in the area of product protection. Safety gloves tested in accordance with DIN EN 16350:2014 can be used for all applications of ESD product protection. 

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