European Hand Protection Standards

European Hand Protection Standards

To conform with European legislation, all gloves supplied as personal protective equipment must comply with the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (implemented into UK law by The Personal Protective Equipment (EC Directive) Regulations 1992) and must be CE marked on the gloves, or on the packaging when this is not possible.

Pictograms help to quickly identify the work gloves’ suitability for specific purposes. You will find these in the ‘Classification’ column. Each symbol represents a different type of hazard and the numbers underneath indicate how well the safety glove performed in tests The higher the number the better the performance. Each of our safety glove styles displays a symbol to indicate it’s suitability.

Below are some of the most common protective glove standards.

Hand Protection Standards


 Level and Specification of Protection


EN 388

Mechanical Hazards

Abrasion resistance

Blade cut resistance

Tear resistance

Puncture resistance






EN 407

Thermal Hazards (heat and/or fire)


Contact heat

Convective heat

Radiant heat

Small splashes of molten metal

Large splashes of molten metal








EN 511

Protection Against Cold

Resistance to convective cold

Resistance to contact cold

Permeability to water





Chemicals and Micro-organisms

Resistance to permeation by micro-organisms

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3






Chemicals and Micro-organisms

Resistance to permeation by chemicals 

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Level 6




BS 374 : 2003 states that a glove must have a breakthrough time of at least 30mins when tested for  3 chemicals from a list of 12 standard defined chemicals.  The chemicals tested against are designated an identifying letter from A to L

A Methanol
B Acetone
C Acetrontrile
D Dichloromethane
E Carbon Disulphide
F Toluene
G Diethylamine
H Tetrahydrofurane
I Ethyl Acetate
J n-Heptane
K Sodium Hydroxide 40%
L Sulphuric Acid 96%

EN241 Radioactive contamination resistance & Ionising Radiation
The resistance of gloves and of arm protectors to impact cuts (injuries caused by hand-held knives)


Gloves which offer high protection display the relevant symbol to indicate their CE certification.  The following information is usually also shown: the size, the manufacturer’s name, the name of the gloves, the standards of the tests which they have passed and their logos, the CE mark with the number of the organisation which has certified the glove.

If you require any further information about European Hand Protection Standards or a specific safety requirement, contact us on [email protected]