New EN388:2016

During the second half of 2016, a new version of EN388, the mechanical hazards standard will be published.
There are 4 main areas which are changing.

What has 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 a different value from level previous quoted as Level 4. Level E is the same value previously quoted as Level 5.   Level F is also new and is the highest cut resistance value;


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

The markings used on the glove will be slightly different. In the example below;

    3 4 4 3 E P

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 for 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 the requirement for impact protection

What does it mean for me?
- 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


1.  Why are there 2 different cut methods quoted? Won’t this confuse people?
The new standard allows both cut methods to be quoted, but where the ISO cut score is indicated using a letter, it is this result that will be used for certification.

2.  Isn't level F from the ISO cut method basically “cut 6”?
It’s too early to know how the market will respond, but now there are 6 different levels of cut resistance giving users and specifiers more information at their disposal to select their hand protection.

3.  Why will some gloves being sold use the 2016 version and others use the 2003 version?
This is no different to the current situation where products are certified under both 2003 and 1994 versions. The good news is that once the new PPE rules are introduced in 2018, this scenario will cease.

4.  Are the abrasion, tear and puncture tests affected?
No they are not.

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