European Protective Glove Standards

Glove MarkingsTo be classed as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), protective gloves must comply with European Directive 89/686/EEC, be CE marked and fall into one of the three categories below.

NOTE: Whilst the information provided in this summary of European Protective Glove Standards can be used in the process of selecting the correct protective glove for a particular application, it is the responsibility of the end user to ensure that the glove is suitable for its intended use.

Category 1 (Cat I): Simple Design – Gloves designated for ‘minimal risk’ applications, where risk of injury is slight.

Category 2 (Cat II): Intermediate Design – Gloves designated for specific risk applications, where there is a risk of injury and are type tested against European test standards by a notified body.

Category 3 (Cat III): Complex Design – Gloves designated for specific risk applications, where serious harm or irreversible side effects can occur. Tested as per Category 2 (Cat II), these gloves must also be manufactured under an approved quality system or be type tested on an annual basis.


Where a glove is designed to protect against specific risks, it will be graphically marked in accordance with the standards below.

EN374-2 Water Penetration ResistanceBS EN374-2: Water Penetration Resistance – An assessment of quality, this test must be passed to proved that the glove is an effective barrier against water and micro-organisms. They are also subject to checks for pin holes and leaks, via inflation with air or by filling with water. Rated 1 to 3, they are assessed according to the Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) of the gloves: 1 - 4.0, 2 - 1.5 and 3 - 0.65. A glove must pass level 2 to be classed as micro-organism resistant.

EN374-3 Chemical Permeation ResistanceBS EN374-3: Chemical Permeation Resistance - A measured time for a chemical to break through the glove material. A performance level is given depending upon the length of time in minutes, that it takes for chemical breakthrough. The levels are as follows: 1 - >10, 2 - >30, 3 - >60, 4 - >120, 5 - >240 and 6 - >480. To carry the chemical pictogram, a glove must pass level 2 of BS EN374-2 as well as a level 2 performance when tested against three of the following chemicals: Menthanol, Acetone, Acetonitrile, Dichloromethane, Carbon Disulphide, Toluene, Diethylamine, Tetrahydrofuran, Ethylacetate, n-Heptane, Sodium Hydroxide or Sulphuric acide 96%.

EN388 Mechanical ResistanceBS EN388: Mechanical Resistance – There are four main (abrasion, cut, tear and puncture resistance) and two optional (impact cut resistance and anti-static performance) categories for gloves that are designed for protection against mechanical risks. Each of the main categories is rated 1 to 4 (1 to 5 for cut resistance); with the two optional ones being rated pass or fail only.

EN407 Thermal ProtectionBS EN407: Thermal Protection – There are six categories for gloves that are designed for protection against heat risks. Flammability, contact heat, convective heat, radiant heat, small metal splash and large metal splash, each being rated 1 to 4. The rating value for contact heat is an indication as to what temperature the glove or sleeve will withstand for 15 seconds duration, before the wearer will feel pain and are as follows: 1 - 100°C, 2 - 250°C, 3 - 350°C and 4 - 500°C.

EN511 Cold ProtectionBS EN511: Cold Protection – There are three categories for gloves that are designed for resistance against cold. Convective Cold, Contact Cold and Water Impermeability, with the first being rated 1 to 3, the second 1 to 4 and the last being rated pass or fail only.


ISO 10819 Mechanical Vibration and ShockEN ISO 10819: Anti-vibration - A method for the measurement of the vibration transmissibility of gloves at the palm of the hand.



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