We’ve had a lot of feedback from professionals in the industry that there is a real grey area between the old cut levels and the new indexes and we know that it may be tricky to understand.
So, we’ve created this brief guide to help demystify the new standards, understand how to check the protection levels and ultimately ensure you are keeping hands safe.
The cut level 1 to level 5 for gloves you are familiar with hearing, originates from this standard, and it’s based up the Coupe or rotating blade test.
Every rotation of the blade equates to an index and as the number of indexes increase before the penetration of the blade through the glove the higher the rating it will be awarded.
The coupe test measures the number of rotations of a blade before penetrating the glove. The more rotations, the higher the rating that will be awarded.
The weakness with the Coupe test is:
- Exposure to a rotating blade is not typical of the cut risk for most operatives on sites.
- The integrity of the blade is not maintained as it progressively becomes blunter as the number of rotations increases.
- There is no differentiation in ratings between a glove that performs to 20 rotations and, say, 60 rotations.
This is the new requirement for a straight blade cut test – your indicator to this rating is the 5th digit (which is a letter).
The resistance rating of a glove with this test is based upon the level of pressure applied to a straight blade (measured in Newtons) before penetration.
This testing contrasts to theCoupe test in that:
- A straight edge is closer to the typical character of cut risk encountered for most operatives
- The blade is replaced with every test
EN388:2003 VS EN388:2016
Picture it like decimalisation, where we transitioned from pounds, shillings and pennies to pounds and pence. There is not exactly any correlation between the 2 cut standards, as the tests are very different.
However, what we can comment is that based upon data is that:
All cut level 1 and level 2 gloves are classified as having an ‘A’ rating.
Level 3 and some level 4 gloves are classified as having a ‘B’ rating.
The remainder of the cut level 4 gloves and many of the cut level 5 gloves are ‘C’ and ‘D’ rated.
There would be a few gloves that were ‘high performing’ cut level 5 gloves that are now classified as ‘E’ and ‘F’.
We can’t ignore the new standards; without it, you are really exposing hands to significant risk.
Take this example, an index F glove would give you 3 times more protection that an index C glove – yet they’re both equivalents to the old cut level 5.
Be aware of the ‘old money’ (aka Cut Levels 1-5) that are still around. The letter is your safest guide to ensure optimal protection.
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