What is PPE

Every worker needs industry-specific equipment that protects their own bodies against injuries and helps them get the job done.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to products that prevent or reduce exposures to risks arising from industries in various fields, including goggles, aprons, gloves, ventilators, and earplugs.

For these reasons, PPE requires many high-level regulations to produce and sell products.

Among the many regulations on these PPE, the test standards for protective gloves are predominantly European standard EN388 and American standard ANSI/ISEA 105.

en388 test


The European Standard EN388, specifies test methods, requirements, and markings for protective gloves against mechanical hazards in carrying out work.

EN388 tests five different parts of safety gloves which takes six types of tests, and classifies them by dividing the individual levels of mechanical risks.

The five requirements of safety gloves defined in EN388 are as follows:

  1. Abrasion resistance
  2. Cut resistance
  3. Tear resistance
  4. Puncture resistance
  5. Impact resistance

These standards were updated on November 4, 2016, and the test method, procedures, and classifications are periodically improved to ensure the reliability of the degree of the glove’s protection level.

abrasion test

Abrasion Resistance Test

This test verifies the abrasion resistance of the glove, using the palm of the glove as sample material. The sample is constantly rubbed with sandpaper to measure how many cycles the sample is punctured, and the abrasion-resistant level of the sample is divided into 1 to 4 and is determined by the minimum cycle count of the four samples.

cut coupe test

Cut Resistance Test (Coup Test)

In the Coup Test, the rotating circular blade moves the sample material horizontally while being pressed with a fixed pressure of 5N (Newton). Since the result may vary due to the wear of the circular blade during the test, the test calculates the number of times the sample is cut and the degree of wear of the blade, and measures the cut-resistance level from 1 to 5.

tear test

Tear Resistance Test

This test measures how much force is required to tear the palm of the glove and shows the tear-resistance level from 1 to 4. The test machine moves at 100 mm/M, applying more and more force to tear the sample, and the test result is based on the lowest force among the four samples.

puncture test

Puncture Resistance Test

In this test, the gloves are pressed with a 50mm nail at a speed of 100mm per minute to measure the puncture resistance of the glove. The puncture-resistance level is classified into four tiers based on the lowest test results among the forces required for the four samples to be pierced into the nail.

en iso cut test

Cut Resistance Test (TDM test)

The Coup Test has a problem in that it is difficult to produce accurate results due to wear of the blade while testing. Therefore, the CE newly added EN ISO 13997 Cut Resistance Test (TDM test) was introduced to relinquish this problem. This test measures the force required by a sharp blade to cut 20mm of the sample and uses one blade for a single measurement, minimizing the error caused by blade damage. The test results are divided into a total of six levels from A to F with F being the highest level.



ANSI/ISEA 105, a US standard, also classifies the cut-resistance of products into a total of nine levels from A1 to A9 through the TDM test. EN 388 uses Newton as the reference for the force used in the measurement, whereas ANSI/ISEA 105 uses KG.

impact protection

Impact Resistance Test

The Impact Resistance Test was introduced in 2016, as was EN IS 13997, and if the glove has impact protection, the test is carried out in that area. The test results are divided into two types: pass and non-pass. When 5 joules of energy are applied, the impact received must be less than 9 KN (kilo-newton) and less than 7 KN on average to pass the test. If the glove has passed the test, the letter “P” can be attached to the certification mark at the end, and if the glove fails the test or does not proceed, it is left blank.

The mechanical hazards that occur during work depend on the work environment. Therefore, if the worker is aware of the European standard EN388 and the US standard ANSI/ISEA 105 and knows exactly what the certificate mark on the safety gloves means, it will be useful to select safety gloves that are appropriate for the working environment.

ANSI 138

According to the Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, the second most common injury that people get from work are hand injuries. Workers may get cut or punctured while using equipment, as well as injuries such as fractures due to impact from heavy machinery, so it is important to prevent injuries in advance through impact-resistant gloves.

Before the development of ANSI/ISEA 138:2019, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) didn’t have a standard for measuring the impact resistance of gloves, so ANSI/ISEA 138: 2019 was developed to classify the impact resistance of gloves and make it easier to select the best impact resistant gloves for each application.


Difference between EN388 and ANSI/ISEA 138

EN388, the European safety gloves standard, also has a test to measure the impact resistance of gloves. EN388 and ANSI/ISEA 138 are using similar test methods, but there are differences in classifying levels and testing areas.

EN388 tests the impact on the knuckles and the test result is shown only as Pass or Fail. If the transmitted force is less than or equal to 7 kN with no single result more than 9 kN, the glove passes the test. Therefore, a “P” is put at the last part of the EN reference digit.


However, ANSI/ISEA 138 tests not only on the knuckles but also on the fingers, and classifies it from levels of 1-3 based on the transmitted force. So it is more helpful for workers, who are at risk of injuring their fingers, to choose impact-resistant gloves.

Sparks, stone fragments, and hazardous chemicals are just a few of the risks to which many people are exposed to at various workplaces. Since the eyes are more vulnerable than other body parts, more attention and protection are needed, so the most important thing to do is for workers to wear safety eyewear.

There are two types of standards for eye protection, EN166 for the European standard, and ANSI Z87.1 for the American standard. They are regulations that provide criteria for the use, testing, marking, selection, and maintenance of eye protection to prevent or minimize injuries caused by eye hazards. The glasses are often considered to be safety glasses if they have been certified for the applicable regulations.


EN166 should meet additional standards below that define the type of Personal Protective Equipment and the requirements for the field of use.

EN166 – Personal eye-protection specifications

EN167 – Optical test methods

EN168 – Non-optical test methods

EN169 – Filter for welding and related techniques

EN170 – Ultra-violet (UV) ray filters

EN171 – Infra-red (IR) ray filters

EN172 – Sun glare filters for industrial use

Marking on Lens

marking on lens

1) Scale numbers

scale numbers

2) Identification of the manufacturer

3) Optical class

optical class

4) Symbol for mechanical strength

mechanical strength

If the safety eyewear protects against impact at extreme temperatures (-5︒C / + 55︒C), mark the letter T below the impact letter (F, B, A).

5) Symbol for the field of use

field of use

6) Symbol for optional requirements

optional requirements

7) Certification mark

Marking on Frame

marking the frame

1) Identification of the manufacturer

2) Number of the EN standard

3) Symbol for the field of use

field of use

4) Symbol for mechanical strengthæ

symbol of mechanical strength

If the safety eyewear protects against impact at extreme temperatures (-5︒C / + 55︒C), mark the letter T below the impact letter (F, B, A).

ANSI Z87.1

ANSI Z87.1

1) Impact Marking

impact marking

2) Chemical Splash and Dust Protection Marking

chemical splash and dust protection

3) Optical Radiation Protection

optiocal radiation protection