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EN388: 2016 Understanding by Hanvo Safety

Blogs | 2021.06.02 | Number of clicks:


To declare gloves can protect hands against mechanical hazards, they must be evaluated in accordance with EN388. The standard covers a number of physical test methods, such as abrasion, tear, cut, puncture and impact. Based on the laboratory test results, the gloves are divided into different levels of protection.


The definition of EN388:

EN388 is one of the European standards for personal protective gloves. Version EN388:2003 was approved by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) on 2 July 2003. EN388:2016 was released in November 2016 to replace EN388:2003 and was revised in 2018 with the supplementary version EN388:2016+A1:2018.

Test methods 

of EN388 Performance Index

1、Abrasion resistance

EN388 is one of the European standards for personal protective gloves. Version EN388:2003 was approved by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) on 2 July 2003. EN388:2016 was released in November 2016 to replace EN388:2003 and was revised in 2018 with the supplementary version EN388:2016+A1:2018.


Test equipment:

Kinco Martindale Abrasion Tester

2、Cut Resistance-Coupe test

The second digit has to do with cut resistance based on the Coupe test. 

A rotating circular blade is moved horizontally back and forth over the glove material from the palm, and the number of blade turns is recorded as the blade penetrates the glove material. The same blade was used to test the number of cutting turns of standard canvas before and after the glove sample test.

The cut resistance of the glove was determined by comparing the abrasion of the blade between the sample and the canvas during the test. The cut resistant level of the gloves is divided on a scale of 1-5.


Test equipment:

SATRA Circular Blade Cut Resistance Tester

3、Tear Resistance

The third digit represents tear resistance.

Take the palm position of the glove as a sample,tear it apart by pulling force, calculate the required force value and judge the  level of tear resistance of the glove. The tear resistant level of the gloves is divided on a scale of 1-4.


Test equipment:SATRA Tensile Tester

4、Puncture Resistance

The forth digit represents puncture resistance.

Take the palm position of the glove as a sample,puncture the sample with standard needle, calculate the value of puncture force, and judge the puncture resistance level of the product. The puncture resistant level of the gloves is divided on a scale of 1-4.


Test equipment:SATRA Tensile Tester

5、Cut Resistance - 

ISO 13997 TDM Test

The fifth symbol has to do with cut resistance based on the TDM cut test.

TDM cut test is to use the blade to cut the palm material of the glove at a constant speed, test the walking length of the blade when cutting through the sample under different force, and use the mathematical formula to calculate (slope) how much force value needs to be applied to make the blade cut through the sample when walking 20mm.

This test is A newly added item of EN388:2016, and the result is expressed as A-F.

Compared to EN 388:2003 Coupe test, the TDM cut test provides a more accurate indication of cut protection performance.

During the Coupe test, if the material makes the blade dull, the TDM cut test of EN ISO 13997 will be performed. The result of the TDM cut test will be the fifth symbol marked on the glove and the second symbol of Coupe test will be marked as "X" as shown in the figure below:


Test equipment-

TDM Tomodynamometer Cut Resistance Tester

6、Impact resistance(EN 13594)

The sixth symbol represents impact protection, which is optional test. If the gloves have been tested for impact protection, this information is given by the letter “P” as the sixth and final symbol. Otherwise, If no P marked, the gloves have no impact protection.


Understanding of EN 388:2016 standard can help workers to choose the appropriate level of gloves to protect against the corresponding mechanical risks. For example, construction workers may often suffer abrasion hazards and need to choose gloves with high abrasion resistance, while metal handling workers need to protect themselves from cutting damage or scratches on the sharp edges of metal, which require gloves with a high cut resistance level.