Did you know?

There is a new Standard for Cut Resistance Gloves.

Why is this important?

The standards markings on glove from many manufactures are about to change. You need to read this blog post to understand the new Standards markings.

There is a new standard of cut resistance in gloves. This standard was created as the cut resistance test has started to become unreliable when it comes to cut 5. The true cut resistance of a cut 5 glove could be different to another set and different to another set again. Since they were all rated at cut 5 because of the current test, people think they are all equal. This is not the case and the introduction of a new test proves this. When the current ‘Coup’ test is deemed unreliable they move onto the new ISO test for a more accurate result.
The current standard for gloves in Australia is AS/NZS 2161:2005. It is also identical to the European standards which are comprised of:

  • EN420:2003 (AS/NZS2161.2:2005) – General Requirements
  • EN407:1994 (AS/NZS2161.4:1999) – Thermal Risks
  • EN388:2003 (AS/NZS2161.3:2005) – Mechanical Risks
  • EN511:1994 (AS/NZS2161.5:1998) – Protection Against Cold
  • EN374-3:2003 (AS/NZS2161.10.3:2005) – Chemical Gloves

What’s Changed and Why:

The new EN388:2016 standard provides changes to the ‘Cut Resistance’ testing and performance result markings. The new standard incorporates the existing cut (coup test) and the ISO13997 test methods.
The current ‘Coup’ test method is unreliable for cut resistant materials such as fibreglass or steel which have a dulling effect on the blades. As a result, the ISO test method has been added to the standard.

                                                        The Coup Test.

Coup Test: Current Test Method:

The ‘coup blade cut test’ has been the standard test method for cut protection. A rotating circular blade moves horizontally to-and-fro across a fabric sample with a fixed force of 5 newtons (N) or approx. 500grams applied from above. The test ends when the blade breaks through the sample material and the result is specified as an index value. The 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.

Coup Test Performance Values.

Changes to the Coup Test

  • A new blade needs to be used after each 5 test sequences.
  • Test needs to be manually stopped when T (number of cycles on test specimen) reaches maximum 60 cycles.
  • First cut sequence determines if dulling occurs: this is when Cn+1 is greater than 3 times Cn.
  • If dulling found: EN ISO 13997 becomes the reference for the assessment of protection against cuts.
  • The blade cut test can be optionally continued and the blade cut performance level optionally marked.

Gloves re-tested under the new test procedure may not attain the same rating due to sharper blade equipment.


The New Cut Test – ISO13997

The EN388 standard came to be before highly engineered yarns such as glass and steel became prevalent in protective gloves.

Materials containing a high resistance to cutting can often lead to a rapid blunting of the test blade, resulting in misleading test results and a large performance variance gloves considered highly cut resistance (cut level 4 to 5).

ISO Test.

To improve the accuracy and reliability of cut test data, CE certification bodies recommend that when gloves providing high cut resistance (EN388 level 4 and 5) are required, the ISO 13997:1999 test should be considered. The test is performed on a TDM machine and the cut index is calculated based on the force necessary to cut the fabric sample.

To differentiate between the two cut scores that will be generated under the new EN388 2016 standard, the cut score achieved using the ISO 13997 test method will have a letter added to the end of the first four digits. The letter assigned will depend on the result of the test, which will be given in Newtons.

ISO Performance Values.

The table to the right outlines the scale used to calculate the results from the ISO 13997 test method.

1 Newton is equal to approximately 100grams EXAMPLE – level F = 30 Newtons or approx. 3 kgs.

The New Standard Format.





Impact Protection – A New Addition to EN388:2016

The Impact Protection Format.

The updated EN388:2016 will include an impact protection test according to EN13594:2015 (6.9 Determination of impact attenuation) for gloves claiming impact protection.

These gloves are designed to reduce the force of the impact on the hand. The performance rating is shown in the table to the right – Pass/ Fail/Not Tested.



Abrasion Testing – Changes

The specification if the abrasive paper used in the abrasion resistance test has changed. This is to ensure more consistent results. This revision along with a number of minor changes to test materials means that it is possible some abrasions scores may change when a product is re-certified under the new test conditions. The abradant (sand paper) specification is Grit 180 with an aluminum oxide grain amongst other specific requirements.

With the addition if the ISO test cut resistance 5 gloves can have higher cut resistance rating and this will give clarity to the range of gloves showing their true cut resistance. This may push some gloves to be better than others and some may stay the same. Just be aware of the new test and how to identify them when looking for gloves. Also as this new standard and testing are new not all gloves will have the new labeling so keep that in mind as well.

EN388:2016 Standards Format on Gloves.

Q & A

Can gloves that comply with the old EN 388 standard continue to be sold?

  • Yes, compliance is not mandatory in Australia so it is possible that some manufactures may choose not to change.

When will the Australian standard reflect the new EN388:2016 standard?

  • Any new revisions to AS/NZS2161:2005 series of standards require standards Australia to reform the committee that reviews standards updates for gloves. We anticipate this happening in around 12 – 18 months (2018-2019) however it could be longer.

Is the old EN388:2003 still relevant?

  • Yes, as this standard is adopted as the AS/NZS2161.3:2005 the old EN388:2003 standard is still relevant and gloves can and will still bear these markings. It will be up to the individual manufactures if they want to adopt the EN388:2016 standard for their gloves.

What standard should I follow?

  • We encourage users to follow the new and improved standards. These are developed to improve test methods and provide more accurate results which give the consumer clearer information with which to make better decisions in Selection of gloves.