Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gloves: The Basic Safety Standards

We know that gloves comprises of several types and categories, designed to tailor a specific need or requirement of the user. However, gloves main purpose is protection, and in that regard, the Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) has different kinds of European Standards (EN) for measuring and dividing the available gloves and other PPEs into separate categories. These divisions are primarily done in accordance with the requirements that these PPEs fulfill.

Although there are many standards available for gloves, the primary standard that is most widely accepted is an EN388 standard glove. These European Standard 388 gloves are characterized by their ability to withstand severe mechanical hazards such as Abrasion, cut, tear and puncture. Therefore, we can say that EN388 is a European standard designed to assess the performance of a fabric or layers of fabric for their ability to resist heavy rubbing, cutting by a blade or sharp object, tearing, and puncture by a pointed object. The test procedure includes a separate test for each of these properties, and a performance level is awarded according to each test result, for example a material with an abrasion resistance of between 100 and 500 cycles would be awarded level 1. The testing procedure is rigorous; with multitudes of blade cut and the puncture tests associated with EN388. A pictogram scaling is finally generated based on the results, which gives an accurate description of the total mechanical resistance offered by EN 388 tested standard gloves.

One such prime example of EN 388 tested gloves are Puncture Resistance gloves. These gloves denote the relative ability of the glove to stop the increase of a tear once it has been pierced by a cut or a nick. Puncture resistance gloves can be obtained through very tight woven fabrics, small ceramic plates in fabric coating or tight woven fabrics with a coating of hard crystals.

Another standard comprises EN13594 GLOVES. The EN13594 gloves fit into a separate unique category of users comprising of professional motorbikers. These gloves for motorbikers are designed to protect against weather conditions while maintaining user’s dexterity and ability to manage switches and controls. In addition, these EN13594 gloves will protect hands and wrists against mechanical hazards in the event of an accident. Most frequent motorcycle accidents will involve collision, against other vehicles, pavement or elements like posts, etc, hence we need an EN13594 standard glove to withstand paramount amount of rubbing and high friction. These gloves are Category 2, meaning that EN13594 gloves are of intermediate design, and are used in situations where the risk is not classified as minimal or irreversible.

To conclude, we can say that the standardized testing procedures, precisely EN 388 and EN 13594 standards, offers a way to compare the performance of PPE products. These standards have significantly improved the ability of safety managers to select appropriate PPE. To compare the different EN 388 and EN 13594 gloves, one can visit http://www.tsgloves.com/ for an accurate pictogram representation of a variety of selection.

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