This page offers an explanation for some of the most common safety standards you may see underneath our products. It is to provide information on what the different standards mean and how they are achieved.
EN ISO 20345:2011
Personal protective equipment, safety shoes
ISO 20345:2011 specifies basic and additional (optional) requirements for safety footwear used for general purpose. It includes, for example, mechanical risks, slip resistance, thermal risks, ergonomic behaviour.
SRA: Tested on ceramic tile with sodium lauryl sulphate (a diluted soap solution)
SRB: Tested on steel with glycerol
SRC: Tested under SRA and SRB conditions
C - Conductive
A - Antistatic
I - Insulation against electricity
HI - Insulation against heat
CI - Insulation against cold
E - Energy absorbing seat region
AN - Ankle protection
HRO - Heat resistant outsole
WR - Water resistant
WRU - Water resistant upper
M - Metatarsal protection
CR - Cut resistant upper
High visibility clothing
EN ISO 20471 is an international standard that imposes requirements on visible workwear for employees in high-risk areas. It sets out the high-visibility clothing regulations for the design and performance of each element of a garment.
There are usually three main components:
1. The fluorescent material
This boosts visibility during daylight hours and can also increase visibility at night.
2. The reflective strips
These are designed to enhance visibility during the darker hours of the day. Reflective strips require a light source to work and create retro-reflection. They are essential for those working at night.
There are different types of high-visibility angle strips, the most common being “glass beads reflective”. These need to be carefully maintained to ensure the garment remains fit for purpose and fully compliant.
3. The contrast material
Some hi-vis clothing is designed with darker-coloured parts that are less sensitive to dirt than the fluorescent material and reflective strips, without which the functionality would diminish. The areas covered with the contrast fabric tend to be where dirt is most likely to build up — for example, the sleeve ends and across the abdomen on hi-vis fleeces and jackets, and the ankle and knee sections of hi-vis work trousers and waterproof trousers.
High-visibility clothing is available in three different colours:
The standard is divided into three classes, in accordance to the risk zone you work in and to how well the product is able to protect the employee. It is the visibility requirement – and thus the requirement for the area consisting of reflectors and fluorescent materials – that determines which class you need to choose.
Minimum areas of visible material in m²
Class 1 high-visibility clothing can be used in situations with a low risk of collisions and accidents. Class 1 high- visibility clothing is not suitable for work on public roads, but is suitable for work in full or partial daylight within a company’s premises. Maximum traffic speed 30 km/h.
Class 2 work clothing provides good visibility for roadworks, courier services and twilight work. Class 2 high- visibility clothing is suitable for work on public roads with a maximum traffic speed of 50 km/h.
Class 3 high-visibility clothing is mandatory when working in the dark. Visible at traffic speeds up to 90 km/h. This optimum visibility greatly reduces the risk of accidents.
Protective Gloves for Mechanical Risks
The first number in the code under the EN 388 image is related to abrasion resistance. The material of the gloves is subjected to abrasion by sandpaper under a determined amount of pressure.
The protection level is indicated on a scale of 1 to 4 depending on the number of turns completed until a hole appears in the material. The higher the number, the better the gloves resistance to abrasion.
Cut Resistance (Coup Test)
The second number relates to cut resistance according to the coup test. This involves a rotating circular blade moving horizontally to-and-fro across a fabric sample, with a fixed force of 5 Newtons applied from above. The test is completed when the blade has broken through the sample material and the result is then specified as an index value. This result is determined by the cycle count needed to cut through the sample and additionally by calculating the degree of wear and tear on the blade.
The protection level is indicated by a number between 1 and 5, where 5 indicates the highest level of cut protection.
If the material blunts the blade during the coup test then the cut test from EN ISO 13997 (TDM test) shall be performed. This is to ensure the protection performance value of the glove is as accurate as possible. If blunting does occur during the coup test, the results of the TDM cut test will be the default marking shown on the glove, and the coup test value will be marked as X.
The third number relates to tear resistance. The test involves finding the force required to tear the glove material apart.
The protection function is indicated by a number between 1 and 4, where 4 indicates the strongest material.
The fourth number relates to the gloves’ puncture resistance. The result is based on the amount of force required to puncture the material with a tip.
The protection level is indicated by a number between 1 and 4, where 4 indicates the strongest material.
Cut resistance (EN ISO 13997)
The first letter and fifth category relates to the cut protection according to the EN ISO 13997 TDM test method. The objective of the test is to determine the resistance of the safety gloves by applying great force to the sample fabric in a single movement, rather than in continuous circular movements like in the coup test.
A knife cuts at a constant speed with a gradual increasing force until it breaks through the material. This method allows for an accurate measurement of the minimum force required to cut through the sample material at a thickness of 20mm.
Products that performed well under the EN 388:2003 coup test may not perform as well under the TDM test. While the coup test offers a relatively accurate representation for cuts caused by sharp, lightweight objects, the TDM test gives a more accurate specification in terms of cut resistance during work which includes different impact-based hazards.
The result is presented as a letter from A to F, with F indicating the highest level of protection. If any of these letters are given, this method supersedes the protection level given by the coup test and will leave the coup test value with an X.
Impact protection (EN 13594)
The second letter relates to impact protection. This is an optional test that is typically done depending on it's relevance to the specification of the glove. If the glove has been tested for impact protection then it will be marked with a P as the last (6th) character under the EN388 image. If there is an F then the glove failed the test and is not suitable for tasks that require a certification of impact protection, similarly for a marking of X where the glove has not been tested for impact protection.
The length of a glove is measured by suspending it from the middle finger and by placing a ruler inside the glove to remove any creases. The glove is then fitted onto a model hand that has the same dimensions as those that the glove is intended to fit, the purpose being to ensure that all gloves have a standardised size.
A group of wearers will be required to pick up five cylindrical pins with a diameter ranging between 5mm and 11mm. The smaller an item can be picked up, the higher dexterity the gloves will achieve
A pH value will be determined to ensure the materials in each layer of the glove are neither too acidic or alkaline
This test applies to materials other than leather, requiring the pH value to be less than 9.5 but greater than 3.5
Completion of this test makes sure that the glove is not too far on either end of the pH scale and will not be the cause if the wearer suffers from skin irritation
This test is done exclusively on leather gloves as chromium salts are used in leather tanning
There is a chance that the safer chromium (III) can oxidise during the tanning process or whilst in storage to chromium (VI) which is a skin irritant, potential carcinogen and environmental hazard
Chromium (VI) Content should be below detection (3ppm)
Not a compulsory test and is assessed if necessary depending on gloves purpose
When performing the test for leather gloves a sample of the leather is taken and placed in clamps before being put through a penetrometer test
The leather is flexed in water until it begins to penetrate through the leather. The results taken are how many minutes it took until penetration
An alternative test for textile materials is also available using hydrostatic head equipment
This uses a column of water that gradually increases pressure on the outer surface of the glove material until penetration to the inner layer
The result recorded is the level of pressure required to penetrate the glove (Pascals)
Natural latex proteins cause allergic reactions in a lot of people and it is commonly found in the production of gloves
The data from this test is required to be marked on the product/packaging
Gloves must offer the greatest possible degree of protection
If the glove features seams, they should not reduce the performance of the glove
If cleaning instructions are provided, the level of performance must not be reduced even after the maximum number of washes
Electrostatic and water vapour
If a glove is electrostatic or resistant to water vapour, then the gloves must undergo further testing.
Anti-Static Gloves shall be placed through electrostatic tests, the results of which will be reported within the instructions.
An electrostatic pictogram should not be used.
If required, gloves shall allow water vapour transmission (5mg/cm2)
If gloves exclude water vapour transmission, it should be at least 8mg/cm2 for 8 hours
If required, gloves shall allow water vapour transmission (5mg/cm2)
Packaging and Instructions:
On either the packaging or instructions, you can expect to find certain information. This will include:
The name of the manufacturer
Appropriate pictograms to display EN standards and levels (these markings must remain clear through the life of the glove)
Address of the manufacturer or representative
It's intended application (e.g. for minimal risks only)
If the protection is specific to a certain area (e.g. palm area only)
Care and storage instructions
A list of substances that are known to cause allergies and the name and address of the body that certified the product.
Medical Gloves for Single Use
EN 455 Medical Gloves for Single Use covers any glove that could be used for medical work. The glove must adhere to four separate parts before it is considered safe to be used for medical practice. The four parts are:
Part 1: Requirements and testing of gloves for freedom from holes
Part 2: Requirements and tests for physical properties
Part 3: Requirements and tests for biological evaluation
Part 4: Requirements and testing for shelf life determination
Between them they ensure that the glove will be a barrier against micro-organisms, perform effectively without breaking, protect the user from toxic and hazardous materials, and lastly how long a glove will be fit for use.
Part 1: Testing of Gloves for Freedom of Holes
A watertight test is conducted where a glove is filled with one litre of water. The higher the AQL (Acceptable Quality Level) level at the end of the test, the more pinholes were found. An AQL of 1.5 is the standard needed to meet EN 455-1.
Part 2: Tests for Physical Properties
EN 455-2 covers requirements and tests for physical properties such as dimensions (length & width) and force at break both before and after heat ageing.
Part 3: Tests for Biological Evaluation
EN 455-3 exists to ensure that you are protected from the glove itself. With four different areas of testing, part 3 attempts to prevent the user from developing irritable skin, suffering an allergic reaction or gaining more serious illnesses such as a fever. It is important to remember that there is always a risk of reacting to your glove, but EN 455 demands that the risk is as low as possible. The four tests are:
Chemical Residues: Commonly using ISO10993, this test is conducted to understand the levels of chemical residue left on the glove from the manufacturing process.
Latex: Tests are carried out to discover the latex protein levels on the glove. The higher the level of protein, the higher the chance of irritable skin in those who are allergic.
Powder: A powder level that exceeds 2 mg/glove is considered enough to consider the glove as powdered.
Endotoxin: This is a measure of chemicals left by harmful bacteria, and is important to surgical gloves in particular. For a glove to pass as low endotoxin, the level must be below 20EU/pair of gloves (EU = Endotoxin Units).
Part 4: Determination of Shelf Life
A test is carried out to ensure the glove will not degrade while it is in transit, in a warehouse, or awaiting use. The regulation EN 455-4 outlines the requirements and test methods for establishing the validity period of the product ( “shelf life determination”) and indicates the deadline.
EN ISO 374:2016
Protective gloves against dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms
This standard specifies the requirements for a glove to protect against dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms.
The shortest allowable length that is liquid tight shall correspond to the minimum length of the gloves as specified in EN 420:2003 + A1:2009.
Chemicals can penetrate through holes and other defects in the glove material. To secure a glove's approval as a chemical protection glove, the glove shall not leak water or air when tested according to EN 374-2:2014.
The glove material might be negatively affected by chemical contact. Degradation shall be determined according to EN 374-4:2013 for each chemical. The degradation results, provided in percentages (%), should be recorded in the user instructions.
Chemicals can break through the glove's material at a molecular level. The glove is assigned a type depending on how long it can exposure to different chemicals:
Type A – 30 minutes (level 2) against minimum 6 test chemicals
Type B – 30 minutes (level 2) against minimum 3 test chemicals
Type C – 10 minutes (level 1) against minimum 1 test chemical
All gloves must be tested against micro-organisms. The gloves are tested to protect against bacteria and fungi, but also viruses if requested, according to EN 374-5:2016.
The third row in the pictogram for Type A and B indicates which chemicals, in the table below, the glove protects against. Type C doesn’t have a third row and can withstand 1 chemical only for a short while.
The test chemicals are listed in the table above and all 18 chemicals shall be tested for permeation according to EN 16523-1:2015.
Protective gloves against thermal risks (Heat and/or fire)
This standard specifies demands and test methods for protective gloves that shall protect against heat and/or fire. The numbers given besides the pictogram indicates the gloves performance for each test in the standard. The higher the number, the better the performance level.
The ignition time and how long the material glows or burns after ignition is measured in this test. If the seam comes apart after an ignition time of 15 seconds, the glove has failed the test.
2. Contact heat
The glove is exposed to temperatures between +100°C to +500°C. Then it is measured how long it takes for the inner side of the glove to become 10°C warmer than it was from the beginning (about 25°C degrees). The glove must withstand the increasing temperature of maximum 10°C for at least 15 seconds for an approval.
3. Convective heat
Convective heat resistance is tested based on the length of time the glove is able to delay the transfer of heat from a flame. The test measures how long it takes to increase the inside temperature of the glove to 24°C, using a gas lubrication (flame) (80kW / m2).
4. Radiant heat
This tests the back of the glove to ensure materials can resist extreme heat radiating through the glove’s various materials. The average time is measured for a heat permeation of 2.5kW / m2. Like the Convective Heat Resistance test, the goal is to assess how long it takes the inner gloves temperature to rise to 24°C.
5. Small splashes of molten metal
In a controlled chamber, two palm and two back-of-the-hand samples are exposed to small drops of molten metal, such as copper. Protective performance is based on the number of drops needed to raise the temperature by 40°C on the opposite side of the sample. The cuff is also tested, if composed of different materials than palm/back-of-hand.
6. Large quantities of molten metal
A PVC film is attached to the back of the glove material. Molten metal, such as iron, is poured onto the other side of the glove material. The measurement consists of how many grams of molten metal are required to damage the PVC film.
Protective gloves against cold
EN 511 is a standard made specifically for gloves designed to protect the wearer's hands against the cold. There are 3 tests done to measure the gloves resistance to the cold and they are each performed on the material composition of the glove. However, the insulation properties may be affected by a range of different factors which are minimised in the testing but should be considered in practice.
The three tests performed are:
Convective Cold Resistance - What temperature can the gloves allow you to work in?
Contact Cold Resistance - What temperature can the gloves come into contact with?
Water Permeability - Is the glove waterproof?
Convective Cold Resistance
A glove is placed onto an electronically heated hand in a controlled chamber which will record how much power is needed to sustain the glove’s temperature to that of body temperature. This is done while a fan blows air over the glove at a temperature 20°C lower than the gloved hand. If there is a higher power requirement to maintain the temperature then the glove will get a lower rating in the test.
Contact Cold Resistance
This test is conducted by placing the glove materials between two metal plates at different temperatures with the drop in temperature measured across the material and that value utilised to calculate its thermal resistance.
This test simply requires the glove to be submerged in water for a period of 30 minutes. In that time, if any water passes through the glove to the interior then the glove will fail with a rating of 0. If the glove doesn’t allow any water to enter inside then it will pass with a rating of 1.