Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
May 12, 2015

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Setting the standard

TG370_Stamina_f[7]By Franz Lorenschitz, marketing manager at TraffiGlove

In order to ensure adequate levels of protection, personal protective equipment (PPE) is thoroughly tested prior to being made available for use. With that in mind, gloves claiming to protect hands from certain risks must conform to the relevant European Standards – specifically EN420, EN388, EN511 and EN407 – these standards cover a range of testing requirements that look to reduce the risk of sub-standard safety gloves.

Let’s take a closer look at these standards and how they are helping those in various industries choose the right glove for the right task:

  • EN420 looks at the general requirements for protective gloves, such as the chemicals in the materials, dexterity and the size suitability for the user;
  • EN388 covers the test requirements for safety gloves that are sold for protection against mechanical risks;
  • EN511 looks at how well the product protects against the cold; and
  • EN407 covers issues surrounding thermal risks.


At TraffiGlove our main focus hinges on the EN388 standard and cut protection. It is generally accepted that the majority of occupational hand injuries are caused by cuts and abrasions, with most of the serious injuries due to cuts. The EN388 Standard requires gloves to be scored on a scale of 1 to 5 for blade cut resistance (with 5 being the highest score) and 1 to 4 for abrasion resistance, tear resistance and puncture resistance. In order to be classed as a ‘protective’ glove, the product must have a performance level of one or above on at least one of the four measures.

The EN388 pictogram displays a score based on how well it performs under the four testing areas mentioned previously – to put this into perspective, the maximum overall score achievable is 4-5-4-4. This should not necessarily be looked at as the ‘best’ score however, as each task has different risks involved and a glove with the aforementioned score would only be suitable for a very heavy-duty job such as lifting heavy jagged objects. You would not need a glove that meets such standards when painting walls, for example, as cuts and punctures are not as much of a risk. In this case a glove with an EN388 rating of 4131 may be the best for the task.

With the EN388 icon displaying exact abrasion, cut, tear and puncture resistance achieved, we feel it goes in tandem with our own safety gloves and the TraffiSafe hand protection system. The system adopts three colours – red, amber and green to signal glove suitability for low, medium and high risk tasks based on the level of cut protection. With this in mind, it gives both the user and on-site safety manager an ‘at a glance’ view of whether the user is wearing the appropriate gloves for the task at hand.

So, why is EN388 testing important? Well, the tests reflect the hazards that glove wearers are likely to face in the widest range of handling tasks across the broadest range of industries. Combined with our own TraffiSafe colour coding system, glove users can be sure they are using the best safety gloves available, no matter what the industry or task involved.

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments