The European standard for protective gloves is EN 388, which is the standard set for gloves designed and manufactured to protect against mechanical risks, such as heat, chemicals, cuts, etc.
This European standard evaluates a series of risks and then associated protection which mitigates these.
All gloves carrying the EN388 mark of approval will be tested by independent third parties and rated for tear, abrasion, puncture, and cut resistance.
Measuring for a more accurate score
Revisions were made in 2016 to EN388, which included some critical changes to cut resistance and the inclusion of impact protection—offering increased safety to professionals and an increase in quality within the Personal Protective Equipment industry.
The new EN 388 shield will now carry a six-digit score rather than a four-digit rating.
Most gloves, Portwest workwear included, now include the new scores within their design.
Old vs. new
A glove's previous score was a four-digit number, which at its maximum would be 4544. The second number in this row is the cut score, ranging between 1 and 5, with five being the highest (using the COUP test).
Introducing TDM 100 test method
To differentiate itself from the COUP test method, the TDM 100 cut score was introduced in 2016, meaning all gloves tested under this method will now have a letter included at the end of the first four digits.
This better represents the result of the test and is provided in Newton.
These letters represent levels, i.e.:
- A – Low cut level
- B – Low to medium cut level
- C – Medium to high cut level
- D – High cut level
- E – Very high cut level
- F – Ultra high cut level
The TDM-100 test (also known as the ISO 13997) has now been formally included in the standards, as after analysing different testing methods, it was highlighted that the COUP test blade dulls quickly when tested on yarns with high levels of steel fibres and glass. This leads to a less reliable cut score, hence the need to include the TDM 100 measure.
(Note: The COUP test uses a rotary blade which runs over the glove with five Newtons of force. This was fine for those gloves that didn't blunt the blade; however, for those that did, accurate results were then not provided. The new TDM 100 test recognises higher degrees of cut resistance, providing a much more accurate result. This is mainly because the blade is changed after every cut, and it has variable levels of forces applied.)
Impact protect test
This recently included test is designed primarily for gloves to provide a level of protection against impact.
Gloves that don't offer this feature will not be required to go through this testing.
The impact protection test simply has three ratings:
- P – Passed
- F – Failed
- X – Not tested
When it comes to some of the best protective gloves on the market, a world-renowned brand you can rely on is Portwest workwear.
Their top protection gloves include:
Portwest Gloves – Anti Impact Cut Resistant Heavy Duty Nitrile Foam Glove
This particular glove is CE certified and holds a level C cut resistance. It combines comfort with grip, impact, and offers a cut resistance level that is effortless.
With a seamless, comfortable liner, flexible impact pods (PVC), and a reinforced crotch, these gloves offer the ultimate level of robustness.
Suitable for applications that are considered heavy-duty, the Nitrile coating on these gloves allows for an excellent grip. The palm of the glove also offers increased ventilation.
Breathable and working stamped with the EN 388: 2016 standard of 4.X.4.3.C.P – this Portwest glove provides the ultimate protection for your hands.
The second popular glove from Portwest is the VHR Advanced Cut Nitrile Foam Safety Work Glove.
This glove offers a level E cut resistance and, with a foam Nitrile coating, provides an excellent grip in all weather conditions. Increasing dexterity and ventilation through palm dipped, it is also CE certified, includes a seamless liner, and an ANSI cut level of A6.
Portwest workwear offers a range of safety gloves suitable for all occasions; for example, they have:
- Portwest weatherproof fully coated hi-vis glove
- Portwest fleece-lined leather rigger glove.
- And even Portwest welding protective leather sleeves!
What's more, these and more are all available through Active Workwear. Offering you head to toe protection from leading brands around the world.
Check out our full glove protection range HERE.
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