A new version of EN388, the mechanical hazards standards has been published. It will allow products offering higher levels of cut protection to be identified. (BSIF, Changes to EN388 & what new glove markings will mean)

What changed

Any sample tested for cut resistance using the existing coup method, which blunts the blade used in the test, will have to be additionally tested using the ISO cut method.

There will be 6 cut levels defined on the ISO cut method. Levels A, B and C are new. Level D is of a different value to the level previously quoted as 4. Level E is the same value previously quoted as level 5. Level F is also new and is the highest cut resistance value.

Level A Level B Level C Level D Level E Level F
2 5 10 15 22 30


Back of hand protection (impact protection testing) is now included.



3 means the sample achieved level 3 for abrasion

4 means the sample achieved level 4 for coup cut

4 means the sample achieved level 4 for tear

3 means the sample achieved level 3 puncture

E means the sample achieved level E for ISO cut which was tested due to blade blunting during the coup test

P means the sample passes requirements for impact protection


What it means to you

This change only affects new products being certified once the standard has been published

As with any new PPE standard, it does not apply retrospectively

Over the next few years, you will see more and more products carrying this standard

It will allow products offering higher levels of cut protection to be identified

EN420: General requirements for Protective Gloves – New Test Method being added (prEN 16778) for the determination of the presence of Dimethylformamide (DMF), a toxic ingredient of insecticide sometimes used in the leather tanning process

EN374-1: Mandatory Challenge Chemicals increased to 18 from 12 & Creation of 3 levels of Permeation Testing, i.e. Type A gloves (Must pass on 6 Challenge chemicals), Type B Gloves (3 Challenge Chemicals) & Type C Gloves (1 Challenge chemical)

EN374-2: Claims for micro-organism resistance must now satisfy EN374-5. If virus protection is claimed, it must pass ISO 16604 (EN374-2 for bacteria & fungi)

EN374-3: Permeation of pesticides now included and the Standard for this hazard will now fall under EN16523-1

EN374-4: Determination of Resistance to Degradation determined by measuring the permeation resistance before and after 60 minutes exposure to a chemical. Degradation results must be included in the User Information for those chemicals which correspond to the letters under the pictogram.

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