What is EN388 all about?

Date: 16.06.2020 | Shing Yee

EN388 is the European standard used to evaluate mechanical risks for glove products.

According to this standard, characteristics such as abrasion resistance, cut resistance, tearing strength, puncture resistance and impact protection are tested.

In conjunction with pictogram, four numbers with one, or two letters, will be displayed. These signs indicate the performance of the glove.

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How to interpret those numbers in EN388 pictogram?

As mentioned above, there are always 4 numbers in the pictogram. Blade cut resistance is rated 1-5, while all other physical performance factors are rated 1-4. The higher the number, the better resistance the glove has.

1. The first number tells you how well the gloves resist abrasion.

If you are looking for gloves that can handle rough materials, gloves with high abrasion rating are suitable for this purpose, especially for construction works, industrial work, gardening job etc.

2. The second number tells you the gloves resistance to blade cuts.

Gloves with good cut resistance are widely being used in handling sheet metal, sharp tools, knife, glasses etc.

3. The third number tells you the tearing strength of the gloves.

Gloves with high tearing strength are suitable for heavy duty job.

4. The fourth number tells you how well the gloves resist puncture.

Suitable for waste handling work eg. handling needles, thorns etc,

How about the alphabet?

The pictogram usually come in 1 or 2 alphabet after the numbers, the first alphabet stands for the cut resistance TDM test performance, rated from A to F, where F is the highest level. If it is not tested, it will be marked as "X" in the example shown in the pictogram above. 

The second alphabet stands for the impact protection performance. It will be rated as "P" (Pass) or "F" (Fail). When it is not tested, it will be left blank. In the example above, since the second alphabet is being left blank, it means that the impact protection is not tested.

Final thoughts

We hope that this article might help to clarify what EN388 is and how to interpret them in a simple manner.

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