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Guide to EN Glove Standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Australian/New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS) help classify specific product attributes and communicate the quality and protection levels of personal protection equipment. The standards are designed to assist managers in the provision and maintenance of workplace safety levels.

The elimination of health and safety workplace hazards is mandated by government legislation. Where they cannot be eliminated, employers are responsible for reducing hazards to a minimum as is reasonably practical. As a result, they have implemented a number of identical standards to those used in Europe.

For example, standard EN420 (AS/NZS 2161.2:1998) - Occupational Protective Gloves, General Requirements - defines requirements for all protective gloves (except electrical and medical gloves) for glove construction, cleaning, comfort and efficiency, marking and information. While the majority of the Australian/New Zealand occupational glove standards are identical to the European standards, there are instances where the European standard has been revised, but the Australian/New Zealand standard has not been changed. This is why, for example, the protection against cold standard AS/NZS 2161.5:1998 is not the same as the European cold standard EN511:2006. The requirements are similar but the two standards use different testing methodologies.

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Above is a guide to pictograms used for the EN Standards.


EN Glove Standards:

EN 420

General Requirements for Protective Gloves

Relevant Australian Standard: AS/NZS 2161.2:1998

This standard defines the general requirements for glove design and construction, innocuousness, comfort and efficiency, marking and information applicable to all protective gloves. This standard can also apply to arm guards.

A glove is an item of personal protective equipment which protects the hand or any part of the hand from hazards. It may also cover part of the forearm and arm.

Glove construction and design:

  • Gloves have to offer the greatest possible degree of protection in the foreseeable conditions of end use
  • When seams are included, the strength of these seams should not reduce the overall performance of the glove

EN 374

Gloves Giving Protection from Chemicals and Micro-Organisms

Relevant Australian Standard: AS/NZS 2161.10:2005

This standard specifies the capability of gloves to protect the user against chemicals and/or micro-organisms. The ‘chemical resistant’ glove pictogram must be accompanied by a minimum three digit code. This code refers to the code letters of the chemicals (from a list of 12 standard defined chemicals), for which a breakthrough time of at least 30 minutes has been obtained.

Read more about EN 374


EN 388

Gloves Giving Protection from Michanical Risks

Relevant Australian standard: AS/NZS 2161.3:1998

This standard applies to all kinds of protective gloves in respect of physical and mechanical aggressions caused by abrasion, blade cut, puncture and tearing. Protection against mechanical hazards is expressed by a pictogram followed by four numbers (performance levels), each representing test performance against a specific hazard. The ‘mechanical risks’ pictogram is accompanied by a four digit code:

A. Abrasion Resistance
Based on the number of cycles required to abrade through the sample glove.

B. Blade Cut Resistance
Based on the number of cycles required to cut through the sample at a constant speed.

C. Tear Resistance
Based on the amount of force required to tear the sample.

D. Puncture Resistance
Based on the amount of force required to pierce the sample with a standard-sized point.

Read more about EN 388


EN 407

Gloves Giving Protection From Heat

Relevant Australian Standard: AS/NZS 2161.4:1999

This standard specifies thermal performance for protective gloves against heat and/or fire. The nature and degree of protection is shown by a pictogram followed by a series of six performance levels, relating to specific protective qualities.

Read more about EN 407


EN 511

Gloves Giving Protection From Cold

Relevant Australian Standard: AS/NZS 2161.5:1998

This standard applies to any gloves to protect the hands against convective and contact cold down to -50 °C. Protection against cold is expressed by a pictogram followed by a series of three performance levels, relating to specific protective qualities.

Read more about EN 511


EN 421

Gloves Giving Protection from Radioactive Contamination & Ionising Radiation

Relevant Australian Standard: AS/NZS 2161.8:2002

To protect from radioactive contamination, the glove has to be liquid proof and needs to pass the penetration test defined in EN374

  • For gloves used in containment enclosures, the glove shall pass in addition a specific air pressure leak test
  • Materials may be modelled by their behaviour to ozone cracking. This test is optional and can be used as an aid to selecting gloves.

Read more about EN 421



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