The Ultimate Guide to Puncture Resistance has one goal: take all of the information about puncture resistance that is floating around the internet and put it into one convenient place just for you.
If you’re not sure which standard to use or what to look for in your PPE, this blog will be your new best friend.
What are Puncture-Proof Gloves?
Trick question (but you already knew that!).
Just like there are no cut-proof gloves, there are no puncture-proof gloves.
There’s no guarantee that a glove will stop a sharp object. But a puncture-resistant glove has a much better chance of preventing or reducing an injury compared to:
- A bare hand
- A glove not rated for puncture-resistance
- A glove rated for the wrong type of puncture resistance
Wrong type of puncture resistance, you ask? Let’s look at how puncture resistance is measured.
How is Puncture Resistance Measured?
When we say wrong type of puncture resistance, it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. There are two standards used to measure puncture resistance and each one has its own specific use:
1. EN 388:1994 (Large-Object Threat):
You should use this standard for choosing gloves when facing hazards from large or blunt objects. The EN388 test uses a probe about the size of a ballpoint pen. The rating given to the glove is based on the amount of force needed to pierce the sample. This standard is good for industries like lumber, metal fabrication or waste collection. The only downfall is that this test doesn’t take into account fine-object puncture threats.
2. ASTM F2878 (Fine-Object Threat):
To account for that, the ASTM F2878 standard was introduced in February 2016. The ASTM F2878 test was designed to use a 25-gauge probe, the size of a hypodermic needle. The test measures how many newtons of force it takes to pierce the sample.
(Want all of that information in a fun, animated explainer video? You got it!)
What Makes a Glove Puncture Resistant?
EN 388 Testing:
Much of a glove’s puncture resistance when being tested for the EN 388 standard comes from the glove’s coating. Different coatings offer different amounts of protection, for instance, nitrile typically has a higher level of puncture resistance than polyurethane.
ASTM F2878 Testing:
Since the gauge of the probe is so much thinner, a palm coating alone won’t prevent the probe from penetrating through to the hand. So a barrier material is required to protect against hypodermic needles. One of the most cost-efficient and effective options is to weave layers of Kevlar®, creating a lining that is cut and puncture-resistant, like that found in our line of Punkban™ gloves.
Which Standard Should I Choose?
You might want to play it safe by selecting a glove rated for ASTM F2878 because that way you’re protected from fine and blunt force puncture. But there’s a catch: a glove with a woven Kevlar® lining will be noticeably bulkier than a glove without it. So if you or your employees aren’t coming into contact with hypodermic needles, a glove made with Punkban™ probably won’t be necessary.
Which Level Should I Choose?
There is no magic number, this really comes down to the hazards you are facing. A worker in waste management who is at risk of being stuck with a needle needs a different level of protection than the worker in a lumber yard who is at risk of puncture from wood splinters or nails.
As a general rule: The higher the level of protection, the lower the level of dexterity.
Speak with your employees and your safety manager to decide what level of puncture protection is right for your workplace.