Changes in the latest EN standard of Gloves

Changes in the latest EN standard of Gloves

Would you buy a car if a salesman offered you a 2010 model at 30% discount to the current one in the market? Probably not! This is because you would want your car to comply with the latest safety and emission norms.

The objective of maintaining an accident-free environment is defeated by opting for products that are cheaper because they are uncertified or even certified to the older standard. This article attempts to explain the recent changes in the EN standard of cut-resistant gloves. This is to help you make an informed decision pertaining to the right glove selection depending on the application for its usage and also emphasising on the quality of the product.

A substantial change was brought in the standard EN 388:2016 – Protective gloves against mechanical risk from its older version published in 2003.

The old EN 388:2003 standard comprised of the following tests:

  • Abrasion resistance (Number of Rubs)
  • Coupe test: Circular Blade Cut Resistance (Index)
  • Tear Resistance (Force in Newtons)
  • Puncture Resistance (Force in Newtons)

New Addition to EN 388:2016 Tested as per EN ISO 13997 are:

  • TDM: Straight Blade Cut Resistance (Force in Newtons)
  • Impact Resistance – Optional Test

The Change Explained…

It was observed that some of the tests being conducted under this standard had their own limitations and did not provide relevant and user-friendly information. Therefore, the standards committee decided to make improvements in the testing of gloves as follows:

Abrasion Resistance – The older test method used a 100 grit abradant which was changed to a 180 grit abradant. The 100 grit abradant being coarser, did not yield consistent results during testing. The end results had substantial variations. These variations were removed by changing the grit size which eventually led to accurate abrasion resistance results.

Coupe test: Circular Blade Cut Resistance – A major change was done in this test in the latest EN 388:2016 standard. Below is a comparison of the changes with respect to the old standard:

EN 388:2003 (Coupe Test) EN 388:2016 (TDM Test method)
Blade Sharpness factor between 1 and 3 Blade Sharpness factor between 0.8 and 2 (more stringent)
Number of tests to be conducted by a blade were not defined Only 5 tests are permitted to be conducted per blade
Wear and tear of the blade was not considered while calculating the index value Wear and tear of the blade to be taken into consideration while calculating the index value (more stringent)
No TDM: Straight Blade Cut Resistance test TDM: Straight Blade Cut Resistance test was introduced, with the Coupe test being only a reference test for materials dulling the
  circular blade. This made the TDM method the actual cut resistance indicator.

Tear Resistance – No change from the older version
Puncture Resistance – No change from the older version
TDM: Straight Blade Cut Resistance – This is a more stringent and accurate cut resistance test method newly introduced as per EN ISO 13997. Key differences in the old and new test methods are listed below:

EN 388:2003 (Coupe Test) EN 388:2016 (TDM Test method)
Fixed force of 5 newtons is applied from the top Variable loads are applied from top to arrive at the minimum cut level starting from 2 newtons to 30 newtons

Multiple tests can be conducted per blade as long as it achieves the sharpness factor

Single blade is used for single test being conducted
Test is conducted by making one single 20mm cut to ascertain the minimum cut resistance under variable loads Value of the result is defined in Newtons which provides the end user with accurate cut level information

Impact Resistance – This is an optional test under the new standard for gloves designed for impact resistance. The result of this test is a Pass or Fail.

Change in the Marking

In addition to the new test methods, certain changes have been introduced in the marking on the gloves as explained below:

Every revised version of a product’s standard brings with it a chance to improve the existing testing methods and parameters. It also helps the user to choose the right product based on its correct application. It is very important to be aware of and understand these periodic changes for a better user experience.

For more information please drop in an email at with the subject line “Changes in EN 388:2016”. We would be happy to answer all your queries.

For information on EN 388:2016 compliance gloves check out the link

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