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Safety and Work Gloves Buyers Guide


Your guide to selecting and buying the correct Safety and Work Gloves.

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Before selecting safety gloves you should refer to a recent existing risk assessment for the workplace you are buying for, or carry one out if one does not already exist. This will give you a clear understanding of the hazards you wish to protect against - allowing you to select the most appropriate PPE for your working environment. Performing a risk assessment is a good way to identify new or missed hazards and to put measurements in place to control them. In situations where it is not possible or practical to manage risks at the source, PPE will be used as a main line of defence against the hazard, so it is crucial that your PPE meets legal standards and is used correctly by all staff affected by the risk. PPE should be periodically reviewed as new, improved styles may have become available and protective kit should be regularly checked for faults and properly maintained - staff should be encouraged to report faults or problems with their PPE.

The 'Work Gloves' section of our website divides up our range of general purpose and safety gloves into four categories to help you easily find the most suitable option for your requirements.

Disposable Gloves.

Vinyl, latex and nitrile gloves, with or without powder, suitable for a wide range of uses including catering and healthcare. Nitrile gloves are becoming increasingly popular as they are allergy free and resistant to oil and grease, making them a popular choice with engineers.

General Purpose Gloves.

A range of durable, practical gloves suitable for many purposes such as gardening, bricklaying, construction, warehouse and factory work and many more. This range includes many features such as protective coatings, insulation and grip gloves etc.

Rigger Gloves.

Sometimes called Canadian gloves these sturdy work gloves are made up of a leather palm and fabric back. Usually made in a single, large size they are not a great fit for women.

Special Hazard Gloves.

In this section you will find options for more unusual uses, such as chemical gauntlets, chainsaw and anti-vibration gloves, gel padded and mechanics gloves.

EU safety standards break down the various types of gloves into nine categories and lays out the level of testing the material should go through and the standards it should meet.

EN420: Defining the basic requirements for protective gloves in terms of their construction, safety and suitability for purpose.

• The gloves should not present a risk of injury

The PH level of the gloves should be as close as possible to neutral

• Leather gloves should have a PH level that is between 3.5 - 9.5

• The highest permitted level of chromium is 3mg/kg (chrome VI)

• Specific details of any allergens used in the glove

• Sized by reference to agreed common EU hand size.  

EN388: Gloves Providing Protection from Mechanical Risk.

1) Resistance to abrasion - a glove's resistance to abrasion is based on the number of cycles required to abrade through a sample glove. This is tested using sandpaper under a constant pressure. The protection factor is indicated on a 1-4 scale depending on how many revolutions it takes to cause a hole in the glove. The higher the number, the stronger the glove.

2) Blade cut resistance - based on the number of cycles required to cut through the sample, using a constant speed. Again the protection factor is rated on a 1-4 scale.

3) Tear resistance - This is based on the amount of force required to rip the sample glove. The tear resistance is then rated on a 1-4 scale.

4) Puncture Resistance - based on the amount of force needed to pierce the sample glove using a standard sized point. It is then given a 1-4 rating.

Volume Resistivity - this indicates whether a glove can reduce the risk of electrostatic discharge (a pass or fail test).

EN407: Gloves Giving Protection from Thermal Hazards.

1) Resistance to flammability. A gas flame is held to the material for 15 seconds. After the flame is extinguished the length of time is measured for how long the fabric burns or glows. It will then be scored on a 1-6 scale with higher numbers referring to better test results. 

2) Resistance to contact heat: The material is exposed to temperatures of +100ºC and +500ºC. The length of time is measured for how long it takes the material on the inside of the glove to increase by 10ºC from the starting temperature of approx. 25ºC. The minimum accepted length of time for this to occur is 15 seconds.

3) Resistance to convective heat. This is tested by measuring the time it takes for the heat from a gas flame (80kw/kvm) to increase the temperature of the inside of the glove's material by 24ºC.

4) Resistance to radiant heat. This is tested by measuring the average time it takes for heat penetration of 2.5kw/kvm when the material is stretched infront of a heat source with an effect of 20-40kw/kvm.

5) Resistance to minor splashes of molten metal. This test is based on the total number of drops of molten metal that are required to increase the temperature between the inside of the glove and the skin by 40ºC.

6) Resistance to large splashes of molten metal. Simulated skin is attached to the inside of the glove material and molten metal is poured over the glove. The total amount (in grams) is measured of the molten metal it takes to damage the simulated skin.

EN12477: Welding Gloves.

A combination of testing methods from EN388 and EN407, this standard describes how the gloves are designed to provide protection for both the hands and wrists whilst welding or performing similar work. Welding gloves should provide resistance to small splashes of molten metal, short exposure to convective heat, to radiant heat and to contact heat. They shall also give protection from mechanical risks. Type A gloves provide higher protection against heat. Type B refers to gloves that give low protection against heat but are more pliable and flexible.

EN374: Gloves Giving Protection From Chemicals and Micro-Organisms.

This standard specifies the glove's capacity to protect the wearer against chemicals and/ or micro-organisms. 

Length of use: Degredation is rated according to the change in integrity following chemical exposure. The rate of degredation depends upon the chemical with which the glove has come into contact with. 


• The minimum liquid proof section of the glove will be at least equal to the minimum EU common hand size, mentioned in EN420. 

• A glove shall not leak when tested to an air and/ or water leak test and shall be tested and inspected in compliance with the Acceptable Quality Level.

EN455: Requirements for Singe Use Medical Gloves.

• Impermeability

• Sizing

• Strength and thickness

• Maximum elasticity both before and after accelerated aging

• Biological safety qualities.

EN511: Gloves Giving Protection from Cold.

Two things are measured in these tests:

• How the glove's material leads cold

• The insulating capacity of the glove

EN10819: Gloves Giving Protection from Vibrations (Vibration Attenviation).

This standard implies that the gloves shall not enhance vibrations with a moderately strong frequency (31.5Hz - 200Hz). At a high frequency (200Hz - 1250Hz) the gloves shall reduce the level of vibration by 40%.

EN60903: Electrical Risks.

Gloves that are manufactured and approved to EN60903 are the only gloves that should be used when there is a risk of electric shock. To decide which glove will provide you with the best protection you will need to know the level of voltage that can occur.

Class Tested at Approved for Work Under
00 2500v 500v
0 5000v 1000v
1 10,000v 7000v
2 20,000v 17,000v
3 30,000v 26,500v
4 40,000v 36,000v


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