New and improved standards for hand protection
The personal protective equipment industry is attempting to standardise international standards for hand protection using new testing methods and ratings. MARISKA MORRIS reports
Last year, changes were made to the internationally recognised European Norm (EN) 388 and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 105 hand-protection standards. These changes, along with the introduction of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 13997, aim to standardise global hand-protection norms.
“If you have an ANSI-certified glove and one that is EN compliant, you cannot compare the two. There are three different testing methods and three different ratings – all trying to say the same thing,” says Christo Nel, general manager at Uvex Safety Dubai.
Previously, the EN standard used the COUP test and the ANSI standard used the CPPT test to determine cut-resistance of gloves.
The EN 388 will, however, comply with the newly introduced ISO cut-resistance TDM 100 test. EN-certified gloves will still have the COUP test rating of one to five, as well as an A to F rating based on the TDM 100 test. This new rating, where A is the lowest cut resistance, allows some comparison between the EN-certified and ANSI-certified gloves.
The ANSI cut level, however, ranges from A1 to A9 (6 000 g), whereas the EN and ISO standards only have five levels. The latter indicates cut-resistance in newtons, whereas the ANSI test uses grams. Another addition to the EN-certified gloves is an indication of the impact-resistance level. This will be indicated with either a pass (P), fail (F) or not tested (X).
The standards for chemical-resistant gloves have also been changed with the introduction of the EN ISO 374-1:2016 standard. Gloves are tested against more chemicals than before, and for a longer period of time. This standard has a Type A (six chemicals tested for 30 minutes), a Type B (three chemicals tested for 30 minutes), and a Type C rating (one chemical tested for ten minutes).
“Some gloves will fail against specific chemicals. Injuries are not always instant, but can appear after a couple of years,” Nel comments. He adds that the customer has a right to ask for the chemical test results. These new standards for chemical-resistant gloves are expected to come into effect by the end of the year.
Nel notes that reputable companies will start implementing this new standard by January 2018, along with the other changes.
“The European Union has given companies five years to comply with the new standards. Some manufacturers will choose not to test their gloves, but reputable companies will comply as soon as possible,” Nel concludes.