If you work in an industry where there's a risk of industrial puncture hazards, from wood splinters or fine wire strands, injuries can be a real worry. Understanding the levels for puncture resistance protection and how to choose the correct PPE per application is essential to protecting yourself and your workers.
What is the Industrial Puncture Resistance Standard?
The puncture resistance standard tests the maximum force required for a puncture probe to penetrate a specimen clamped between two plates in a sample holder. The EN 388 standardised test for puncture is the only testing procedure that is used and recognised by both EN 388 and ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 standards. It is important to note that there are two puncture standards: blunt puncture and needlestick puncture.
EN 388:2016 and ANSI/ISEA 105 Blunt Puncture Testing
How the test works: This industrial puncture test measures the amount of force needed for a blunt probe to pierce through PPE material.
The blunt probe is like that of a ballpoint pen
The test fabric is held firmly between two plates in a sample holder
A probe penetrates the test fabric at a 90° angle at 100mm/min
Results are reported in Newtons
Results are given in Newtons, which is converted into a 1-4 scale for EN 388, and a 1-5 scale for ANSI/ISEA 105. This scale spans from 10 newtons to 150 newtons of puncture resistance.
How the standard is labelled: Though manufacturers are not required to label blunt puncture scores, puncture-resistant gloves will be marked on the label or glove branding with a 1-4 scale for EN 388 and a 1-5 scale for ANSI/ISEA 105.
ASTM F2878 Needle Puncture Testing
How the test works: The ASTM F2878 hypodermic needle test calls for a 21G, 25G or 28G needle (HexArmor® uses a 25-gauge needle) to measure the amount of force it takes to puncture through the testing material.
Test fabric is held firmly between two plates in a sample holder
A probe penetrates the test fabric at a 90° angle at a 500mm/min
A minimum of 12 specimens are used to report the classification level
Results are reported in Newtons
How the standard is labelled: Though manufacturers are not required to label needle puncture scores, needlestick-resistant gloves will be marked on the label with their ASTM F2878 test score from level 1-5, which measures from 2-10 Newtons with a level 5 measuring at 10 Newtons or higher.
Force (N) needed to puncture specimen at 500mm/min
< 2 N
≥ 2 N
≥ 4 N
≥ 6 N
≥ 8 N
≥ 10 N
Got a question on puncture protection?
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While there are many options when it comes to puncture-resistant materials, no one material or glove will protect from all puncture hazards. No material is puncture-proof. Because work conditions vary from one job to another, there is no way to tell how effective a particular safety glove will be without testing it in the field against the actual hazards encountered in the workplace. Testing standards should be used as a guide to help choose gloves and field-testing should be done before any new gloves are implemented.
Video: Puncture Testing | The "Trampoline Effect" Explained
uvex have a range of gloves designed to keep your hands safe from punctures while at work. Engineered to arrest and deflect industrial hazards, HexArmor® is an exclusive licensee of SuperFabric®* brand material that uses a configuration of small guard plates to prevent industrial puncture hazards from reaching your skin. The spacing between the guard plates provides needed flexibility, without sacrificing performance.
For puncture hazards specifically, fabrics like tightly woven polyester provide a strong base for the SuperFabric® guard plate application process - providing high cut resistance as well. For more extreme applications, multiple aligned layers of puncture-resistant SuperFabric® provide extra protection without the bulk, unlike anything else in the industry.