What Are The Safety Glove Standards In The UK?

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As one of the UK’s leading safety glove suppliers, we’re experts at knowing what safety gloves will meet and exceed the performance levels you require. But we’re more than just a safety glove supplier, we deliver advice and guidance on the risks you’re facing, and how to stay fully protected.

We also like to share our knowledge, so you’re up to date and in the know about the evolution of safety glove standards and what to consider when choosing safety gloves. And one of the most important things to understand regarding hand protection is the EN safety glove standards.

Why is there a safety glove standard?

Gloves are the most used form of protective gear. Why? Because hands are the part of a worker’s body most exposed to harmful factors such as extreme temperatures, chemicals, or dangerous equipment. Gloves protect not only palms and fingers but also make objects easier to handle.

Safety gloves are an essential part of your PPE. They provide resistance to cuts, abrasions, chemicals, and tears, and specialist gloves will provide other task-specific protection. And like any other type of suitable PPE, they must meet certain standards to make them suitable for the task at hand.

Is there a minimum safety glove standard?

The general requirement for safety gloves is EN420, which functions as a symbol of authentication for high-quality safety gloves. It's the basic standard for all types of safety gloves, covering everything from a disposable medical glove to a fully heat-resistant glove for soldering.

Gloves that meet the EN420 standard need to adhere to the following:

  • The gloves should not impose a risk or cause injury to the wearer
  • Leather gloves should have a pH value between 3.5 and 9.5
  • The pH of the glove should be as close as possible to neutral
  • The highest permitted value for chromium is 3mg/kg
  • Any substance used in the glove that is known to cause allergies should be specified

What safety glove standard will I need?

As well as EN420, what other safety glove standard will you need to protect your hands? This will depend on how you intend to use the gloves and the work you do. It’s important that you consider the following key factors when sourcing PPE safety gloves:

  • Substances that will be handled
  • Hazards likely to be encountered
  • The type and duration of contact the gloves will need to withstand
  • The wearer’s hand size and any personal requirements
  • The job itself and any additional tasks

When it comes to analysing the hazards themselves, most can be grouped into one of four main categories that the gloves will need to protect against:

  • Thermal hazard protection (heat)
  • Low temperature protection (cold)
  • Mechanical hazard protection (cuts, abrasions, tears etc)
  • Chemical and micro-organisms protection

Each category has an EN standard that relates to the type of protection it gives. And within each glove category, the resistance is rated with a number (in brackets) to show its protective capability:

EN407 - Thermal hazard protection

Thermal hazard protection falls into six types of resistance:

  • Flammability (0-4)
  • Contact heat (0-4)
  • Convective heat (0-4)
  • Radiant heat (0-4)
  • Small molten metal splash (0-4)
  • Large molten metal splash (0-4)

We help you find the right thermal hazard hand protection and provide expert advice on what safety gloves will work best for you. We work with manufacturers to develop the right gloves, gauntlets, and mitts, made from materials for heat resistance and thermal hazard protection.

EN407

EN511 - Cold hazard protection

Cold hazard protection falls into three types of resistance:

  • Convective cold resistance (0-4)
  • Contact cold resistance (0-4)
  • Permeability of water (0-1)

Cold hazard protection can come in many types of safety glove, made from the latest in material technology. We will help you stay protected no matter where you work or how you work around extreme low temperatures and cold contact.

EN511

EN388 – Mechanical hazard protection

Mechanical hazard protection falls into five types of resistance. Cut resistance is rated 1-5, while all other physical performance factors are rated 1-4:

  • Abrasion resistance (0-4)
  • Coupe test cut resistance (0-5)
  • Tear resistance (0-4)
  • Puncture resistance (0-4)
  • Cut resistance in accordance with ISO 13997

EN388 is a standard that catches many people out when it comes to which safety glove to buy. Talk to us about what your gloves will be used for, and we’ll make sure you have safety gloves that are always fit for purpose and protecting against hazards and providing the best cost-in-use.

EN388

EN374 – Chemical hazard protection

EN374 is a standard designed to test how a glove responds to chemicals and micro-organisms, and to see how waterproof they are. This essentially means testing if a liquid or micro-organism can pass through the material. EN374 is broken down into three separate standards:

EN374 – Low chemical resistance but complies with the penetration test

EN374-2 – Resistance to penetration by micro-organisms. Referred to as acceptable quality level (AQL) (1-3)

EN374-3 – Resistance to chemical permeation (1-6)

EN374

What other safety standards are there?

Safety gloves need to cover a wide variety of tasks and hazards and be tested against possible risks to protect your hands. Here are some of the other safety gloves standards to be aware of:

  • EN421 – Radioactive contamination & ionising radiation
  • EN1082 – Knife protection
  • EN455 – Single-use medical glove
  • EN12477 - Welding Gloves
  • EN60903 - Protection from Electrical Risks

What are the employer requirements for safety gloves?

In an industry where safety gloves and PPE are needed to do a task, or where there is a risk to an employee’s health and safety, employers are responsible for:

  • Providing employees with suitable PPE free of charge
  • Providing awareness training on how to wear PPE
  • Covering any maintenance, repair, or replacement of equipment
  • Ensuring products carry the CE mark as per Personal Protection Equipment Regulations 2002

We’re more than a supplier of PPE such as safety gloves. As a BSiF member, our expert advice and knowledge helps ensure you remain a responsible employer that looks after worker safety.

Contact us on 01202 718000 or browse our catalogue to see our:

  • Safety gloves in sizes 6-12 (suitable for most male and female hands)
  • Kevlar gauntlets
  • Gloves with dexterity at low temperatures, a thermal lining and close fit
  • PVC gauntlet range with a high chemical tolerance
  • Food safe gloves
  • Hypoallergenic and powder-free latex gloves

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