Cut Resistant Glove Levels Explained
Hello, everyone. Today we will introduce cut resistant glove levels and which level is right for you.
When you’re buying gloves, it’s helpful to understand both US and European cut resistance classification systems. Many gloves sold in the US will show both.
In the US, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provides cut resistance ratings for gloves.
In Europe, the European Commission regulates cut resistance ratings. Their standard is called EN 388.
Let’s look at them one at a time.
The American Standard: ANSI/ISEA 105
· In 2016 ANSI and ISEA (International Safety Equipment Association) released an updated scale with 9 levels of cut protection. The levels indicate how many grams of cutting load a glove can withstand from a sharp blade before being penetrated.
· A1: 200 - 499 grams
· A2: 500 - 999 grams
· A3: 1000 - 1499 grams
· A4: 1500 - 2199 grams
· A5: 2200 - 2999 grams
· A6: 3000 - 3999 grams
· A7: 4000 - 4999 grams
· A8: 5000 - 5999 grams
· A9: 6000+ grams
When you’re looking at glove specifications, the ANSI cut level will be displayed inside a badge that resembles a shield. It looks like this:
The European Standard: EN 388
The European Commission’s standard includes two different cut resistance tests: the TDM-100 Test (the same machine that ANSI uses) and the Coup Test. That means, when looking at EN 388 cut levels for any glove you’re considering purchasing, you’ll want to look at these two different ratings:
EN 388 TDM-100 Cut Resistance Levels:
A: 2 - 4.9 newtons (204 - 508 grams)
B: 5 - 9.9 newtons (509 - 1019 grams)
C: 10 - 14.9 newtons (1020 - 1529 grams)
D: 15 - 21.9 newtons (1530 - 2242 grams)
E: 22 - 29.9 newtons (2243 - 3058 grams)
F: 30+ newtons (3059+ grams)
Note: Keep in mind that, due to different testing methods, ANSI and EN 388 ratings don’t always match up the way you’d expect them to based on the cutting load.
EN 388 Coup Test Levels:
Coup Test results are more complicated. A glove is assigned a cut level of 0 to 5 (with 5 being the most cut resistant) based on the material’s “cut index.” The cut index is a ratio that compares the material’s cut resistance to the cut resistance of cotton fabric.
One of the issues with the Coup Test is that certain materials (like glass and steel) can cause the Coup Test blade to dull during the test, which results in less accurate ratings. That’s why you may not see a Coup Test number when looking at certain gloves. In that case, just look at the TDM rating instead.
Here’s more information on how to read EN 388 markings and where to look for the cut level ratings.
And here’s an example:
Look at the numbers and letters along the bottom. The X signifies that there is no Coup Test result. You can also see that this glove received a D rating on its TDM-100 Test.
In case you’re interested, the other numbers and letters represent ratings for other protective factors. Here’s what each one means (left to right):
3: Abrasion rating
X: Cut (Coup Test) rating
4: Tear rating
4: Puncture rating
D: Cut (TDM-100) rating
P: Impact protection rating (P means it passed the impact protection test, which is a pass/fail test)
Which Level Is Right for You?
Who needs the highest level of cut protection? Look for a cut resistance level of A5 or higher (ANSI) and/or E to F (EN 388) if you need gloves for jobs like:
· Heavy construction
· Anything that puts you at high risk for cuts and lacerations
What about mid-level cut resistance? Look for a cut level of between A3 and A5 (ANSI) and/or C to E (EN 388) if you need gloves for jobs that require good cut resistance but also a high level of dexterity, such as:
· Recycling plants
· Salvage yards
· Electrical work
· Home maintenance work
When is it safe to choose gloves with less cut protection? Consider gloves with less protection when your risk of cuts and punctures is very low, and when the injury would be very minor if a cut did occur. This kind of glove is a great option when you need something agile and comfortable with minimal protection, potentially for jobs like:
· Glass artistry
· Catering and food industry jobs
· Some types of electrical work
· Some types of sheet metal work
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