Navigating the Labyrinth of Cut Resistance: A Comprehensive Guide to Cut Resistant Gloves Levels

Understand, Compare, and Choose the Right Level of Protection

Key Takeaways:

  1. The two primary standards for cut-resistant gloves are ANSI 105 (American) and EN388 (European). Both have been overhauled in the recent years to match advancements in cut-resistant technology.
  2. ANSI rates cut resistance levels from A1 (lowest) to A9 (highest), based on the maximum cut resistance measured in grams.
  3. EN388 incorporates additional glove-related standards such as abrasion, tear, and puncture resistance, along with impact protection. Its cut-resistant ratings are divided into two categories – levels 1 to 5 for the coup test and levels A to F for the ISO 13997 test.
  4. Cut-resistant gloves labels on both ANSI and EN388 gloves provide information about the glove’s ratings across multiple tests. Understanding these ratings can help in choosing the right glove for specific tasks.
  5. With constant advancements in technology, cut-resistant glove standards may need to be updated to ensure future-proof testing and ratings.

Introduction: Prioritizing Safety with Cut-Resistant Gloves

In every industry, ensuring worker safety is not just a regulatory requirement, but a moral obligation. Especially in occupations where the risk of lacerations and cuts is high, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) becomes non-negotiable. Cut-resistant gloves, as an essential part of PPE, offer critical protection against injuries, thereby safeguarding the hands, which are one of the most valuable and vulnerable tools at a worker’s disposal.

Understanding cut-resistant gloves, their ratings, and how these ratings translate to real-world protection is crucial for anyone tasked with purchasing or using these gloves. This article aims to demystify the different levels of cut-resistant gloves, shedding light on the two main standards (ANSI 105 and EN388), their rating systems, testing procedures, and how to decipher the labels on these gloves.

The Two Rating Systems: ANSI and EN Standards

The primary standards for cut-resistant gloves come from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as outlined in ANSI 105, and the European standard EN388. These standards have undergone significant changes over the years due to rapid developments in cut-resistant technology.

Before 2016, the two standards varied significantly, making direct comparisons difficult. However, an overhaul of the rating systems in 2016 saw the two standards converging for greater overlap and comparison ease.

Now, the ANSI and EN standards offer ratings that, while distinct in their measurement units and levels, provide similar insight into the protective capabilities of the gloves they rate. These standards utilize a dedicated machine – the TDM-100 – designed to measure cut resistance accurately, ensuring more consistent and reliable results.

Delving Deeper into ANSI Cut-Resistant Levels

The ANSI 105 standard breaks down cut resistance into nine levels from A1 (lowest) to A9 (highest). Each level corresponds to a maximum cut resistance measured in grams:

  • A1 Cut Resistance: 200g
  • A2 Cut Resistance: 500g
  • A3 Cut Resistance: 1000g
  • A4 Cut Resistance: 1500g
  • A5 Cut Resistance: 2200g
  • A6 Cut Resistance: 3000g
  • A7 Cut Resistance: 4000g
  • A8 Cut Resistance: 5000g
  • A9 Cut Resistance: 6000g

The variety of levels allows for a high degree of specificity in choosing gloves that offer the right level of protection for a particular job. For instance, tasks that involve handling sharp-edged objects may necessitate gloves with higher cut resistance levels.

An Overview of EN388 Cut-Resistant Levels

EN388, unlike ANSI, takes a more holistic approach towards rating gloves. It doesn’t solely focus on cut resistance but extends its evaluation to other glove-related parameters such as abrasion, puncture, and tear resistance, as well as impact protection.

The cut-resistant ratings under EN388 are determined through two tests: the coup test and the ISO 13997 test.

The coup test, which initially assesses cut resistance, uses a rotating blade and assigns ratings from level 1 to 5 based on the number of passes the blade can make over the fabric before it breaks through:

  • LEVEL 1: 1.2 passes
  • LEVEL 2: 2.5 passes
  • LEVEL 3: 5 passes
  • LEVEL 4: 10 passes
  • LEVEL 5: 20 passes
  • X: Blade Dulling Occurred

If the material dulls the blade beyond an acceptable threshold, the ISO 13997 test is implemented, which shares similarities with the ANSI testing method. This test assigns ratings from levels A to F, based on the amount of force (in newtons) the material can withstand before being cut:

  • LEVEL A: 2 newtons
  • LEVEL B: 5 newtons
  • LEVEL C: 10 newtons
  • LEVEL D: 15 newtons
  • LEVEL E: 22 newtons
  • LEVEL F: 30 newtons

The Importance of Reading Cut-Resistant Glove Labels

Correctly interpreting the labels on cut-resistant gloves is crucial to ensuring you have the right level of protection for the task at hand.

On ANSI 105 gloves, you should see a cut-level ANSI badge followed by the rating (A1 – A9). Additional ratings, such as puncture or impact, will have their own separate badges.

Reading the labels on EN388 gloves requires understanding a series of numbers and letters representing the glove’s ratings across the six different testing methods. A badge on the back of EN388 cut-resistant gloves with a symbol of a mallet provides all the necessary information.

For example, an EN388 label reading “4543DP” means:

  • First number (4): Level 4 abrasion resistance
  • Second number (5): Level 5 cut resistance based on the coup test, and requires additional ISO 13997 testing
  • Third number (4): Level 4 tear resistance
  • Fourth number (3): Level 3 puncture resistance
  • D: Mid-level cut resistance based on ISO 13997 testing
  • P: Passed the impact test

Conclusion: Empowered with Knowledge

Understanding the different levels of cut-resistant gloves is essential in making informed decisions about the type of gloves that best suit your specific needs. With comprehensive knowledge about ANSI 105 and EN388 standards, their testing procedures, ratings, and the ability to read glove labels correctly, you can ensure the highest level of protection for your hands, prioritizing safety and efficiency in your workplace. Always remember to review your PPE regularly as advancements in technology continually redefine safety standards.

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