your guide to en standards for safety gloves
Posted in: Workwear Guides

Your Guide to EN Standards for Safety Gloves

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or you’re unsure of which gloves are right for your application, navigating the world of EN standards can be like deciphering a complex code. With a multitude of numbers and ratings to consider, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of technical terminology. As an indispensable element of personal protective equipment (PPE), having a solid grasp of EN standards for gloves is crucial. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify these standards, providing you with an understanding of their significance and how they can help you select the perfect pair of gloves for your specific needs.

your guide to en standards for safety gloves

Unraveling the EN Standards for Gloves

An Overview of EN Standards

When it comes to safety gloves, the EN standards serve as a vital reference point. These standards are designed to assess the performance and protective capabilities of gloves across various occupational hazards. From mechanical risks to thermal protection and chemical resistance, EN standards cover a wide spectrum of safety considerations. By adhering to these standards, manufacturers ensure that their gloves provide a certain level of safeguarding against specific workplace dangers.

Key EN Standards Explained

EN 420: General Requirements for Safety Gloves

EN 420 lays the groundwork by establishing general requirements for safety gloves. While it doesn’t delve into the specifics of protection and resistance levels, this standard sets forth fundamental guidelines that all gloves must meet. Some of these guidelines include:

  • Ensuring that gloves themselves do not pose a risk or cause injury.
  • Maintaining a pH level of gloves as close to neutral as possible.
  • Specifying the pH value range (3.5 to 9.5) for leather gloves.
  • Setting a maximum permissible value for chromium (3mg/kg).
  • Mandating the disclosure of any allergy-causing substances used in the glove.

EN 388: Mechanical Hazard Safety Gloves

Protection against mechanical hazards is a primary concern in various industries. EN 388 evaluates gloves for mechanical protection using four performance levels, each corresponding to a specific hazard:

  1. Abrasion Resistance
  2. Cut Resistance
  3. Tear Resistance
  4. Puncture Resistance

The numeric values or letters assigned to each category indicate the level of performance and protection offered. A higher value implies superior performance. It’s important to note that the absence of a value (replaced by X or N/A) doesn’t indicate failure but rather non-testing for that particular hazard. For instance:

EN 388: 2X43D

  • Abrasion Resistance: Level 2
  • Cut Resistance: N/A
  • Tear Resistance: Level 4
  • Puncture Resistance: Level 3

EN 407: Flame, Heat, and Fireproof Gloves

Protection against flames and extreme heat is critical in environments where these hazards are prevalent. EN 407 assesses gloves for various fire-related risks, including flammability, contact heat, convective heat, radiant heat, and molten metal splashes. Gloves accredited under this standard provide information about their resistance to each of these risks:

EN 407: 221X1X

  • Burning Resistance: Level 2
  • Contact Heat Resistance: Level 2 (250°C)
  • Convective Heat Resistance: Level 1
  • Radiant Heat Resistance: N/A
  • Resistance to Small Molten Splashes: Level 1
  • Resistance to Large Molten Splashes: N/A

EN 511: Thermal and Cold Weather Safety Gloves

For those working in cold and wet conditions, EN 511 standards offer guidance on gloves designed to provide protection against cold and water exposure. The three-digit marking indicates resistance levels for:

  • Convective Cold
  • Contact Cold
  • Permeability to Water

EN 511: 120

  • Convective Cold Resistance: Level 1
  • Contact Cold Resistance: Level 2
  • Water Permeability: Level 0

EN 374: Protection from Chemicals and Micro-Organisms

EN 374 shifts its focus to the safeguarding against chemicals and micro-organisms. This standard outlines the capabilities of gloves in resisting these potentially harmful substances. Gloves adhering to EN 374 are equipped to shield against a range of chemicals, including:

  • Methanol
  • Acetone
  • Acetonitrile
  • Diethylamine
  • Tetrahydrofuran
  • Ethyl Acetate
  • n-Heptane
  • Sodium Hydroxide 40%
  • Sulphuric Acid 96%
  • Nitric Acid 65%
  • Acetic Acid 99%
  • Ammonium Hydroxide 25%
  • Hydrogen Peroxide 30%
  • Hydrofluoric Acid 60%
  • Formaldehyde

EN 455: Gloves for Healthcare and Medical Professionals

The EN 455 standard pertains to medical gloves intended for single use. These gloves must meet requirements and undergo testing in four key areas:

  1. Freedom from Holes
  2. Physical Properties
  3. Biological Evaluation
  4. Shelf Life Determination

EN 455 gloves are crucial for various medical professionals, including doctors, dentists, nurses, and surgeons, ensuring safety and hygiene during medical procedures.

EN 12477: Gloves for Welding and Soldering

Welding is a high-risk activity that demands specialized protection. EN 12477 combines tests from EN 388 and EN 407 to evaluate gloves for welding. These gloves must shield against molten metal splashes, convective and radiant heat, contact heat, and mechanical risks.

EN 12477 gloves are a must-have for blacksmiths, welders, and individuals engaged in foundry work and soldering.

EN 60903: Gloves for Electricians

Electricians face unique hazards, including the risk of electrical shock. EN 60903 defines the requirements for gloves that offer protection against electrical shock. Gloves are categorized based on their class rating, which determines the level of protection they provide against electrical voltage:

  • Class 00 Gloves: Tested at 2500V, Approved for Work under 500V
  • Class 0 Gloves: Tested at 5000V, Approved for Work under 1000V
  • Class 1 Gloves: Tested at 10,000V, Approved for Work under 7000V
  • Class 2 Gloves: Tested at 20,000V, Approved for Work under 17,000V
  • Class 3 Gloves: Tested at 30,000V, Approved for Work under 26,500V
  • Class 4 Gloves: Tested at 40,000V, Approved for Work under 36,000V

EN 10819: Anti-Vibration Safety Gloves

Excessive vibration exposure can lead to health issues like hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). EN 10819 assesses gloves for their ability to reduce vibration transmitted to the palm of the hand. Anti-vibration gloves are essential for individuals engaged in tasks such as drilling, power tool usage, and demolition.



Navigating the realm of EN standards for gloves may seem overwhelming at first, but this guide breaks down the intricacies and provides a clear understanding of what each standard entails. By familiarizing yourself with these standards, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions when choosing the right gloves for your specific needs. Remember, your safety and protection are paramount, and adhering to EN standards ensures that you’re well-prepared to face the challenges of your occupation.


Identifying the appropriate EN standard depends on your occupation and the hazards you encounter. Consult this guide to find the standards that align with your work environment and risks.
While EN standards are widely recognized and adopted, they may vary by region or industry. It’s important to ensure that the standards you follow are applicable to your specific context.
Absolutely. Some gloves are designed to meet multiple EN standards, offering comprehensive protection. Be sure to check the product specifications to confirm which hazards the gloves are certified for.

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