Hand Protection Safety Standards

Glove 101

Hand Protection Safety Standards

Not all safety gloves protect equally. Gloves designed for one type of hazard may not sufficiently protect against another, even though they may look similar. And the nature of the hazard will affect the selection of your gloves.

So, how do you determine which gloves offer the right level of protection for your workers?

To solve this problem, industry standards were established that refer to specific test methods to assign protection levels for safety gloves, including cut, impact, puncture, arc flash, heat, flame, vibration, abrasion, cold, and chemical. These standards were introduced to create a common language for safety managers, distributors, and manufacturers to define protection levels and be held accountable for their claims.

Industry standards that govern protection levels for workplace hazards include:

North American Standard (ANSI/ISEA 105, ANSI/ISEA 138)

The ANSI standard specifies the classification and testing requirements for hand protection. They then refer the test methods as per the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) or EN (European Standard) test methods to assign protection levels for safety gloves. This classification can assist users in the selection of gloves for specific workplace hazards.

Check out the table below for a quick summary of the ANSI safety standards for protective gloves against hazards, including cut, impact, puncture, heat, abrasion, dexterity, and vibration.


ANSI/ISEA 105 (A1 – A9)


ANSI/ISEA 138 (1 – 3)

Puncture (Probe)

ANSI/ISEA 105 (1 – 5)

Puncture (Hypodermic Needle)

ANSI/ISEA 105 (1 – 5)


ANSI/ISEA 105 (1 – 5)


ANSI/ISEA 105 (1 – 6)


ANSI/ISEA 105 (Pass or Fail)

European Standard (CE- EN 388 and EN511)

The CE-EN388 is a mandatory European standard that dictates the testing methods and performance ranges for gloves that provide protection against mechanical hazards, including abrasion, cut, tear, puncture, cut (TDM test), and impact.

Check out the table below for a quick reference of the EN388 safety standards for protective gloves and the score marking under the EN388 shields.

Hazards Rating
Abrasion resistance 1 – 4
Cut resistance – Coup test 1 – 5
Tear resistance 1 – 4
Puncture resistance 1 – 4
Cut resistance, TDM test A – F
Impact Protection P, F, X

The EN 511 is the European Standard for safety gloves to protect against the cold and water. EN 511 includes three markings:

  • Convective cold – What temperature can the gloves be used in? This marking explains how a glove will react to the air temperature around it
  • Contact cold – This marking explains how quickly before you’ll start to feeling the cold
  • Water permeability – Is your glove waterproof? This marking explains protection against water penetration

Here’s how the EN511 shiled looks like:

UK Standard (UKCA)

There are no differences in the testing methods and ranking levels for the EU and the UK Standards. However, PPE (and other goods) sold in the UK are now mandated to have UKCA marking (UK Conformity Assessed) instead of CE marking (Conformitè Europëenne-European Conformity) which are used for PPE (and other goods) sold in EU countries.

NFPA 2112

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 2112 standard establishes the minimum requirements for the design, construction, performance, evaluation, certification, and testing methods for the manufacturing flame-resistant (FR) PPE used in areas at risk from short-duration thermal exposure from fire.

NFPA 2112 was originally established for FR garments. In the most recent edition in 2018, testing standards were also extended to include hand protection, whereby gloves manufactured in compliance with the standard provide protection against flash fires to the wearer’s hands and wrist.

Glove Laundering

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