The European standard used to regulate chemical protective gloves (EN 374) has been revised and will come into effect once published as a joint International and European standard: EN ISO 374-1: 2016.
Glove manufacturers need to be aware of these changes as they will affect product performance characteristics in addition to labelling/marking information.
- The 2003 version of the standard included a penetration test to ensure there were no holes in the glove, and a permeation test to specify the time taken for a chemical to break through the glove material. These tests are still included in the revised 2016 standard, but the test for measuring permeation has been modified.
- The number of test chemicals has increased as per the revised standard. There are now 18 listed chemicals in total, as opposed to 12. These 6 additional chemicals are as follows:
- Gloves are now placed into either Type A, Type B or Type C categories, depending on their performance level and number of chemicals they can provide protection against.
These new types are unlikely to cause any new differentiation between product categories already on the market as the majority of chemical protective gloves can be classified as Type A. Only thin, disposable protective gloves will fall into either Type B or Type C categories.
- A new degradation test has been introduced which measures the change in physical properties of the glove after exposure to a chemical for a period of time. Degradation may appear as swelling, disintegration, flaking, colour change, embrittlement, hardening, softening or dimensional change. Testing should be performed to EN 374-4: 2013 for each chemical claimed.
- Under the 2003 version, it was mandatory to test chemical protective gloves for mechanical properties in accordance with EN 388. However, this obligation has now been removed and is instead an optional test for glove manufacturers.
- If the glove is intended to protect wearers against biological hazards, the manufacturer will need to decide whether they are going to claim protection against viruses, fungi and bacteria. If this is the case, the glove will require further testing to ISO 16604: 'Clothing for protection against contact with blood and body fluids'.
- EN 374-3: 2003 has been withdrawn and replaced with the new test method: EN 16523-1: 2015 'Determination of material resistance to permeation by chemicals. Permeation by liquid chemical under conditions of continuous contact'. However, because the test method for chemical permeation in EN 16523-1 is very similar to the EN 374-3 method, products already certified will not need to be re-tested.
- Any gloves longer than 400mm, or if the cuff is intended to protect the wearer against chemical risks, will require three test specimens to be taken from the cuff area and tested for permeation (see ISO 374-1, clause 4.1). Should the cuff and palm achieve differing performance levels, the lowest level should be claimed in the marking against each chemical.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE FOR WEARERS?
Glove users can use these new markings as a way for product comparison and confirmation that the product complies with standardized certification. However, discussing the exact nature of your glove requirements with the manufacturer or your supplier is highly recommended to ensure the gloves you use offer the correct level of protective performance.
As previously certified gloves are still perfectly legal, The TraffiGlove TG1080 Chemic 1 glove is not currently marked to the new standard. However please be assured the glove still provides protection from chemicals.
For any further queries, please don't hesitate to get in contact with us today.