A new version of the EN 388 standard used to regulate cut protection in safety gloves was published in November 2016. High performance fibres and materials (such as fibreglass or steel) are used to achieve greater levels of cut protection in safety gloves.
The EN 388:2003 standard uses index values to indicate the performance levels for safety gloves in protecting the user against numerous mechanical risks such as abrasion, blade cut, tear, puncture and impact.
CURRENT TEST METHOD
Up until now, the ‘Coup Blade Cut Test’ has been the standard test method for cut protection. A rotating circular blade moves horizontally to-and-fro across a fabric sample with a fixed force of 5 Newtons (N) applied from above. The test ends when the blade breaks through the sample material and the result is calculated as an index value. This result is determined by the cycle count needed to cut through the sample and additionally by calculating the degree of wear and tear on the blade.
EN ISO 13997 - A NEW CUT TEST
Many safety gloves are developed with technical fibre materials designed to have a blunting effect on blades, and therefore additional cut protection tests must now be carried out and verified.
Any new sample fabric testing for cut resistance using the ‘Coup Blade Cut Test’, which blunts the blade during the test, will have to also be tested using the new EN ISO 13997 test. This is to ensure the degree of protection provided by the glove is as accurate as possible.
HOW THE TEST WORKS
The objective of this new cut protection test is to determine the resistance of the safety glove by applying the sample fabric with calculated force in a single movement. To this end, a sharp-edged blade is dragged over the sample fabric once. This allows the accurate calculation of the minimum force required to cut the sample material at a measured length of 20mm. The result is measured in Newtons and grams.
There are now 6 cut levels identified in the new EN ISO 13997 cut method.
WHY IS THE NEW CUT TEST NEEDED?
The EN ISO 13997 test provides a new category of cut protection to help keep hands safe.
The ‘Coup Blade Cut Test’ method offers an effective representation for cuts caused by sharp, fairly lightweight objects, whereas the new EN ISO test gives a more accurate specification in terms of cut resistance during work type activities. Additionally, cut resistance ratings have changed with the introduction of EN ISO, meaning there are now 6 possible grades as compared to the previous 5 levels.
However, it should be noted that if a sample fabric performs well in one test method it may not mean it will also achieve good results in the other.
WHAT THE CHANGES MEAN FOR USERS
This change only affects new products being certified. All pre-existing EN 388 certifications continue to be valid until a new certification is necessary (max 5 years)
Products with higher levels of cut protection can be identified.
Watch our handy video for a more in-depth explanation of the changes.
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