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UNDERSTANDING EN 388: 2016: A Revised Standard for Gloves Giving Protection from Mechanical Risks

23 April 2018

The new EN 388 standard will enable safety managers to better match cut protection in gloves to sharps hazards encountered in the workplace.

Here is a summary of the key changes.

Abrasion Testing

The abrasion resistance test uses 180 grit abrasive material (instead of 100 grit as specified in the 2003 version). As a result, some abrasion scores may change when a product is recertified under the new test conditions.

Cut Protection (Coupe Test)

The number of test cycles of the circular blade is limited to a maximum of 60 cycles, whether the blade has cut though the fabric or not.

In the event that the blade becomes blunt or 60 rotations are performed without cutting through the material sample or the test is simply not taken, then the TDM Test will be conducted and an “X” will be displayed as the second digit.

Manufacturers may choose to opt out of the coupe test and only submit their product for the TDM Test.

Cut Protection (TDM Test)

The TDM test measures the amount of force applied to a straight blade to cut through the material with a single 20mm stroke. This resistance is noted by the letters A to F as the 5th digit.

Impact Protection Testing (if relevant)

Where impact protection is claimed there has been an introduction of the EN 13594:2015 test method.  Gloves which meet the test criteria will be marked with a ‘P’ as the 6th digit.


The gloves’ marking will include two new elements relating to the TDM cut method and the optional impact protection test.

Please note that until 2023, products tested by the old coup test EN 388:2003 are still valid. Although importing and manufacture will stop from April 2019, they may still be available in the market place.

 You can download the full article here.

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