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European Standards

 

EUROPEAN STANDARDS

European Standards have been developed to facilitate the evaluation of PPE. They are often acknowledged internationally as a useful guide for selecting the appropriate glove for an application.

All gloves must comply with EN-420 General Requirements while additional Standards address specific types of hazards. These Standards provide a system for assessing the performance of the glove, given in terms of ratings, against a specific hazard.

A series of associated pictograms provide guidance as to the suitability and level of protection a glove offers against an identified hazard.

Since performance evaluation testing is carried out under controlled laboratory conditions and often on cut specimens, it does not necessarily represent conditions that are likely to be found in actual use. Therefore, the suitability of a glove needs to be evaluated under actual working conditions before it is selected for a specific application.

The use of test data should be restricted to comparing products on a relative basis.

 

EN 420:2003 & Al: 2009

This Standard defines the general requirements for glove design and construction, innocuousness, comfort and efficiency, marking and information.

Glove Construction and Design

Gloves have to offer the greatest possible degree of protection in the foreseeable conditions of end use.
When seams are included, their strength should not reduce the overall performance of the glove.

Innocuousness

The gloves themselves should not cause any harm to the user.
The pH of the glove should be between 3.5 and 9.5.
Chromium (VI) in gloves containing leather shall not exceed 3.0 mg/kg.
Natural rubber gloves should be submitted to the requirements stated in EN 455-3 for extractable protein content.

Sizing
Gloves of each size need to meet the minimum length requirements detailed in the table below.
GLOVE SIZE FITS HAND SIZE* HAND CIRCUMFERENCE (MM) MINIMUM LENGTH OF GLOVE (MM)
6 6 152 220
7 7 178 230
8 8 203 240
9 9 229 250
10 10 254 260
11 11 279 270
*Hand circumference in Inches
Gloves that are below the minimum length are to be called 'Fit for Special Purposes'.

Dexterity
If required, performance can be graded according to this table.
PERFORMANCE LEVEL SMALLEST DIAMETER OF PIN THAT CAN BE PICKED UP
WITH GLOVED HAND: 3 TIMES/30 SECONDS (MM)
1 11.0
2 9.5
3 8.0
4 6.5
5 5.0


Marking of the Glove
Each glove should be marked with:
Name, trademark or other means of identification of manufacturer or his authorized representative.
Glove and size designation.
CE Mark.
Appropriate pictograms accompanied by relevant performance levels and the reference of the EN standard.

The marking should be legible throughout the life of the glove. Where marking of the glove is not possible in view of the characteristics of the glove, it should be mentioned on the first packaging enclosure.

Marking of the Packaging Immediately Containing the Gloves
Packaging should be marked with:
Name and full address of the manufacturer or his authorized representative.
Glove and size designation.
CE Mark.
Usage information.
Simple Design: 'For minimal risks only'.
Intermediate Design or Complex Design: relevant pictograms.
When protection is limited to part of the hand, this shall be mentioned (for example. 'Palm protection style only').
Reference to where information could be obtained.


Instructions for Use
To be supplied when the glove is placed on the market:
Name and full address of the manufacturer or his authorized representative.
Glove designation.
Size range available.
CE Mark.
Care and storage instruction.
Instructions and limitations of use.
A list of substances used in the glove which are known to cause allergies.
A list of all substances in the gloves shall be made available upon request.
Name and address of Notified Body that certified the product.


Information on Levels of Performance
According to the Standards described hereafter, in all cases:

X — Noted tested or test method appears not to be suitable for the glove design or material.
0 — Not suitable (glove falls below minimum performance level for the given individual hazard).

1 — Minimum
2 — Good
3 — Very Good
4 and above — Excellent

EN 374:2003

This Standard specifies the capability of gloves to protect the user against chemicals and/or micro-organisms.

PENETRATION
This is the movement of a chemical and/or micro-organism through porous materials, seams, pinholes or other imperfections in a protective glove material at a non-molecular level.

A glove shall not leak when it undergoes an air and/or water leak test and shall be tested and inspected in compliance with the Acceptable Quality Level (AQL). A glove must meet at least level 2 to be considered micro-organism resistant.
PERFORMANCE LEVEL ACCEPTABLE QUALITY LEVEL UNIT INSPECTION LEVELS
3 <0.65 G1
2 <1.5 G1
1 <4.0 S4


MINIMUM LIQUID PROOF SECTION
The minimum liquid proof section of the glove shall be at least equal to the minimum length of the gloves specified in EN 420.

PERMEATION
Permeation occurs when a chemical diffuses or travels through intact material. It results from absorption and molecular diffusion of the chemical through the glove material. In the laboratory, permeation is measured by a parameter called Breakthrough Time (BTT). This is determined by applying the chemical to the exterior surface of the glove and measuring the time taken to detect the chemical on the inside surface. BTT gives an indication of how long a glove can be used before the chemical permeates through the material.


The 'Chemical Resistant glove pictogram must be accompanied by a 3-letter code. This code refers to the code letters of three chemicals (from a list of twelve defined chemicals) for which a BTT of at least 30 minutes has been recorded.
CODE CHEMICAL CAS # CHEMICAL CLASS
A METHANOL 67 – 56 – 1 PRIMARY ALCOHOL
B ACETONE 67 – 64 – 1 KETONE
C ACETO-NITRILE 75 – 05 – 8 NITRILE COMPOUND
D DICHLORO-METHANE 75 – 09 – 2 CHLORINATED PARAFFIN
E CARBON DISULPHIDE 75 – 15 – 0 S CONTAINING ORGANIC COMPOUND
F TOLUENE 108 – 88 – 3 AROMATIC HYDROCARBON
G DIETHYL-AMINE 109 – 89 – 7 AMINE
H TETRAHYDROFURANE 109 – 99 – 9 HETEROCYCLIC & ETHER COMPOUND
I ETHYL ACETATE 141 – 78 – 6 ESTER
J N-HEPTANE 142 – 85 – 5 SATURATED HYDROCARBON
K SODUIM HYDROXIDE 40% 1310 – 73 – 2 INORGANIC BASE
J SULPHURIC ACID 96% 7664 – 93 – 9 INORGANIC MINERAL ACID


Each chemical tested is classified in terms of BTT (performance level 0 to 6).

MEASURED BTT PROTECTION INDEX
>10 MINUTES LEVEL 1
>30 MINUTES LEVEL 2
>60 MINUTES LEVEL 3
>120 MINUTES LEVEL 4
>240 MINUTES LEVEL 5
>480 MINUTES LEVEL 6


The 'Low Chemical Resistant' or 'Waterproof glove pictogram is used for gloves which comply with the Penetration test but fail to achieve a BTT of at least 30 minutes against a minimum of three chemicals from the defined list.

The 'Micro-organism' pictogram is used when a glove conforms to at least Performance Level 2 for the Penetration test (AQL <1.5).

EN 388:2003

This Standard applies to all protective gloves in respect of physical and mechanical stress caused by abrasion, blade cut, tear and puncture.

Protection against mechanical hazards is expressed by a pictogram followed by four numbers (performance levels), each representing test performance against a specific hazard.


PERFORMANCE LEVEL RATING

TEST 0 1 2 3 4 5
a. ABRASION RESISTANCE (CYCLES) <100 100 500 2000 8000 -
b. BLADE CUT RESISTANCE (FACTOR) <1.2 1.2 2.5 5.0 10.0 20.0
c. TEAR RESISTANCE (NEWTON) <10 10 25 50 75 -
d. PUNCTURE RESISTANCE (NEWTON) <20 20 60 100 150 -
These performance levels must be prominently displayed under the pictogram on the packaging which immediately contains the gloves.

EN 407:2004

This Standard specifies thermal performance for protective gloves against heat and/or fire.

The nature and degree of protection is shown by a pictogram followed by six performance levels, relating to specific protective qualities.

a Resistance to flammability: (performance level 0-4)
b Resistance to contact heat: (performance level 0-4)
c Resistance to convective heat: (performance level 0-4)
d Resistance to radiant heat: (performance level 0-4)
e Resistance to small splashes of molten metal: (performance level 0-4)
f Resistance to large splashes of molten metal: (performance level 0-4)


Thermal protective gloves must also achieve minimum Performance Level 1 for abrasion and tear as defined by EN 388:2003.

Resistance to flammability is based on the length of time the material continues to burn and glow after the source of ignition is removed. The seams of the glove shall not come apart after an ignition time of 15 seconds.

Resistance to contact heat is based on the temperature range of 100°C-500°C (212°F-932°F) at which the user will feet no pain for at least 15 seconds. If an EN Level 3 or higher is obtained, the product shall record at least EN Level 3 in the flammability test. Otherwise, the maximum contact heat level shall be reported as Level 2.

Resistance to convective heat is based on the length of time the glove is able to delay the transfer of heat from a flame. A level of performance shall only be mentioned if a Performance Level 3 or 4 is obtained in the flammability test.

Resistance to radiant heat is based on the length of time the glove is able to delay the transfer of heat when exposed to a radiant heat source. A level of performance shall only be mentioned if a Performance Level 3 or 4 is obtained in the flammability test.

Resistance to small splashes of molten metal is the number of molten metal drops required to heat the glove sample to a given level. A level of performance shall only be mentioned if a Performance Level 3 or 4 is obtained in the flammability test.

Resistance to large splashes of molten metal is the weight of molten metal required to cause smoothing or pin holing across a simulated skin placed directly behind the glove sample. The test is failed if metal droplets stick to the glove material or if the specimen ignites.

EN 511:2006

This Standard applies to any gloves to protect the hands against convective and contact cold down to -50°C (-58°F).

Protection against cold is expressed by a pictogram followed by three performance levels, relating to specific protective qualities.

a Resistance to convective cold: (performance level 0-4)
b Resistance to contact cold: (performance level 0-4)
c Permeability by water: (0 or 1)

All gloves must achieve at least a Performance Level 1 for abrasion and tear as per EN 388.

Resistance to convective cold is based on the thermal insulation properties of the glove obtained by measuring the transfer of cold via convection.

Resistance to contact cold is based on the thermal resistance of the glove material when exposed to contact with a cold object.

EN 421:2010

This Standard applies to gloves offering protection from Ionising Radiation and Radioactive Contamination.

The nature of protection is shown by a pictogram relating to specific protective qualities.

To protect from radioactive contamination, the glove has to be liquid proof and needs to pass the penetration test defined in EN 374.


For gloves used in containment enclosures, the glove shall offer high resistance to permeability of water vapour.

To protect from ionising radiation, the glove has to contain a certain amount of lead, quoted as Lead Equivalence. This Lead Equivalence must be marked on each glove.

Materials exposed to ionising radiation may be modeled by their behaviour to ozone cracking. This test is optional and can be used as an aid for selecting gloves which require resistance to ionising radiation.