Glove Risks: Using EN 388 to find abrasion and puncture resistance

Glove Risks: Using EN 388 to find abrasion and puncture resistance

One reason to attribute the relative scarcity of ANSI abrasion and puncture ratings is the existence of that information in non-ANSI forms. We are referring to the EN 388 information—a European performance standard—found on so many gloves.

For North American users, the presence of the EN 388 badge on a glove can be helpful in supplying the information that is not present in an ANSI rating. Unlike the ANSI performance standard in the US, the EN 388 information is mandatory on gloves sold in the EU, which is why it shows up on the many gloves that are sold internationally. The information it contains about a glove’s abrasion and puncture resistance properties is something we can make use of when the ANSI information is missing.

The EN 388 badge is easily recognizable as a shield with a hammer icon. Atop the shield is the legend “EN 388,” and underneath is a code with a string of numbers between 4 and 6 digits in length. The first number in the sequence will always be the rating for abrasion, and the fourth number will always be the rating for puncture, and the scale for each ranges from 1 to 4.

For example, if the EN 388 code is 2533, that means the glove has scored a 2 out of 4 for its abrasion properties, and it has scored a 3 out of 4 for resistance to puncture. If the code is 2X23D, the abrasion and puncture scores are likewise 2 and 3. Each of the digits in the code relate to a different test result, and in our next installment, we will describe what the other values in the string are and give a little background into why they are of little value to a U.S. user. This post will only focus on the two risks that are under-represented by available ANSI data, which are abrasion and puncture.

So if you have a glove that lacks puncture or abrasion information provided by ANSI, check to see if it has an EN 388 rating. Bear in mind, however, that the EN 388 scores do not exactly correlate to ANSI scores. If you are comparing one glove that has an ANSI abrasion rating with another glove that has only an EN 388 abrasion rating, you will not be able to definitively determine which glove rates higher because the test method is not the same.

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