Cut protection reclassified

Modification to the EN 388 standard for cut protection gloves

Protection classes for cut protection gloves were previously assigned in Europe in accordance with standard 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 cut protective gloves. These changes have been implemented in standard EN 388:2016. In addition to the coup-test in accordance with EN 388:2003 the new test method in accordance to ISO 13997 has been introduced.

Differences between both test methods

Test procedure in accordance with EN 388:2003

  • 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

Test procedure in accordance with EN 388:2016/ISO 13997

  • 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.
  • Here, 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

No correlation can be made between the two test procedures and performance rating. The glove still offers the same high level of cut protection in practice; the only change is to the standard-based classification of its performance.

As a leading manufacturer of cut-protection products, we have state-of-the-art measurement technology for both standards in our own testing laboratory and are well placed to address any questions or concerns.

For more information take a look at our helpful video:

Old and new testing methods for safety gloves
EN 388:2016 safety standard

uvex cut protection gloves

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