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Unraveling the Layers: The Definitive Guide to Cut-Resistant Glove Levels

Understanding the Intricacies of Safety Standards for Enhanced Hand Protection

Key Takeaways:

  • Cut-resistant gloves are categorized by two predominant standards: ANSI 105 and EN388.
  • The industry has seen a surge in cut-resistant technology, making glove standards a challenging yet essential endeavor.
  • ANSI 105 focuses primarily on cut resistance, while EN388 encompasses a broader range of glove features, including abrasion and impact resistance.
  • Reading glove labels correctly ensures the right level of protection for specific tasks.

Navigating the Realm of Cut-Resistant Gloves

As technology and industry demands grow, ensuring hands—the primary tools for most tasks—are protected is paramount. While there is an array of glove types available, understanding the levels of cut resistance is crucial. With evolving safety standards and rapid advancements in fabric technology, the arena of cut-resistant gloves has become complex yet essential to decipher.

The Duality: ANSI 105 vs. EN388

There are two leading benchmarks in the world of cut-resistant gloves: the American ANSI 105 standard and the European EN388 standard. Though initially distinct, these standards have seen significant harmonization since 2016, ensuring better comparability and enhanced safety parameters.

ANSI 105: Primarily focused on the resistance level to cuts, ANSI standards use the TDM-100 machine to gauge a fabric’s cut resistance. With a sliding metal blade, this test helps determine the weight (in grams) that the fabric can withstand. Based on these results, gloves are classified from levels A1 to A9, with A9 providing resistance up to 6,000 grams.

EN388: A more comprehensive standard, EN388, assesses gloves on multiple parameters, including cut, abrasion, puncture, and impact resistance. The testing methodology involves the coup test using a rotating blade, followed by the ISO 13997 standard with a straight blade for fabrics that dull the rotating blade.

Diving Deeper: Understanding the Tests and Ratings

  • Cut Resistance (ANSI)
    • A1: 200g resistance
    • A9: 6,000g resistance
  • Cut Resistance (EN388)
    • Levels range from 1 to 5 based on the number of blade passes before cutting through, with an added “X” for instances where blade dulling occurred.
    • Additional testing using ISO 13997 ranges from levels A to F, measuring resistance in newtons.
  • Abrasion Resistance (EN388)
    • Levels range from 1 (100 rubs) to 4 (8,000 rubs).
  • Tear Resistance (EN388)
    • Levels range from 1 (10 newtons) to 4 (75 newtons).
  • Puncture Resistance (EN388)
    • Levels range from 1 (20 newtons) to 4 (150 newtons).
  • Impact Resistance (EN388)
    • Gloves are either designated as “P” (pass) or have the rating omitted.

Reading the Language of Labels

Choosing the right glove involves more than understanding tests and ratings—it’s also crucial to interpret glove labels accurately. For ANSI-rated gloves, look for a badge indicating the cut level (from A1 to A9). If there are additional ratings, such as impact protection, these will be denoted with additional symbols like “P”.

For EN388-rated gloves, you’ll find a badge showcasing up to six different testing methods. Decoding these numbers and letters provides a comprehensive understanding of the glove’s protective capabilities.

The Bottom Line: Making Informed Choices

In a world where safety and efficiency go hand in hand, choosing the right protective gear is imperative. Whether you’re in the construction, medical, or culinary field, understanding gloves’ cut-resistant levels ensures not just compliance with safety standards but also provides peace of mind. Remember, a well-informed choice is a step towards a safer tomorrow.

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