Cut Resistance Levels: Everything You Need to Know

Wednesday, 13 May 2015  |  Alex

What are Cut Resistance Levels?

In safety gloves, Cut Resistance is the level of protection that a pair of gloves offers against slashing from blades, the sharp edges of machinery, glass et cetera. Cut resistance is independently measured by the standard EN 388 on a five point scale with 1 being the least resistant and 5 being the most.

Cut resistance is measured by taking a sample of the glove and cutting it in continuous cycles until the material has been completely severed. The amount of cycles that is required to cut the material indicates its level of cut resistance.

Cut Resistance Level Cycles Necessary for Full Laceration
Cut Level 1 1
Cut Level 2 2
Cut Level 3 5
Cut Level 4 10
Cut Level 5 20+

Why Should I Trust Cut Levels?

EN standards are independently tested, EU wide standards that are used in a range of different products to measure quality and efficiency. All EN standards have to be ratified by one of the three European Standardization Organizations: CEN, CENELEC or ETSI. All safety gloves that conform to this standard will have been rigorously tested to discover their protection potential.

Though EN standards are completely voluntary, they are an important indicator of the quality of a product. Safety Gloves suggests that if you need protection from cuts, you should always purchase EN 388 tested gloves as you will have a better idea of their protective capabilities.

The Need for Protection

Between 2010 and 2011, over 3300 employees in the UK alone suffered from some sort of hand injury while at work. Although not all of these were serious injuries, they all caused time wasting and loss. When you work with your hands, even small injuries can end up preventing you from doing your job or reduce your productivity.

It is amazing the effect that proper protective equipment can have on preventing injuries – you need the right work gloves for the right task. Safety Gloves offers a range of different gloves for different environments across each of the cut resistance levels, meaning you can find the perfect glove to suit your needs.

Cut Resistance Level 1

Level 1 Cut Resistance is a low level of protection against sharp objects and cutting hazards. As such, Safety Gloves that have Cut Resistance Level 1 should not be used in areas where coming into contact with sharp objects is a likelihood.

The advantage of Level 1 Cut Resistant Gloves is that they provide you with a greater level of dexterity than other, more protected levels. This is great for work with dull items, such as if you are working with packages or general handling. These gloves are also ideal for use as visitors’ gloves as visitors are unlikely to be coming into contact with any sharp materials but it is important to offer some protection nonetheless.

Cut Resistance Level 2

Level 2 Cut Resistance offers slightly more protection than level one, but it would still be important to mostly avoid sharp objects and edges. Gloves that have been categorised to Cut Resistance Level 2 keep many of the advantages as Level 1, for example a greater amount of movement and dexterity.

These gloves should be utilised in areas where coming into contact with sharp objects is a possibility but not a constant hazard. Cut Level 2 work gloves are also great for tasks that require fine motor skills as on the whole they are thinner and more flexible than more protective levels. Some examples of areas where Cut Level 2 Safety Gloves come in handy include warehouses, packing and shipping, general handling, automotive work and many others.

Cut Resistance Level 3

Work gloves that have been specified as Cut Resistance Level 3 are suitable for a wider range of uses, including in areas where contact with blades and sharp edges is not uncommon. Being the middle level of resistance, Cut Resistance Level 3 provides you with the best of both worlds – you achieve protection, but it is not at the expense of dexterity and control of your hands.

As these gloves have a higher resistance, they are more suitable to work that includes some contact with sharp objects. An example would be if you are dealing with objects that have sharp edges (though not razor sharp) on a daily basis. Other tasks that Cut Level 3 Work Gloves are suitable for include light construction, electrical work, plumbing and general warehouse work.

Cut Resistance Level 4

As the penultimate level of cut resistance offered, Cut Level 4 Safety Gloves are great for use in areas where it is fairly likely that you will come into contact with blades, glass or sharp steel edges. Though they do not offer as much protection as Cut Level 5 Work Gloves, Level 4 provides you with a greater amount of flexibility and control of your hands.

Level 4 Cut Resistant Gloves are suitable for use in a range of industries including construction, automotive, steel handling, glass handling and any other work where you fear your hands may be cut.

Cut Resistance Level 5

Level 5 Cut Resistance is the highest level of protection that is covered by EN Standard 388, making it perfect for highly hazardous environments. If you are coming into contact with sharp objects and blades on a daily basis, you should choose work gloves that have Cut Level 5 Resistance. Most Safety Gloves that have been specified to Cut Level 5 are also resistant to other threats such as puncture, abrasion and tear (please check individual products for further information). These resistances make the glove more durable and provide a higher level of protection for longer.

Due to the highly resistant nature of Cut Level 5 gloves, they can be used in most environments without running risks. Even the most hazardous building work, steel/glass handling and waste management can be undertaken without worrying about personal injury. Please note that Cut Level 5 Work Gloves may not be suitable for work with needles or sharp shards of glass, always refer to individual product pages or contact us where more information is needed.

Which Level Do I Need?

Although Cut Resistance Level 5 offers the most protection against injuries, it is not always the best option for the task at hand. In choosing which gloves to purchase, there are many important questions that you need to keep in mind: Do I often come into contact with sharp objects? Do I need a great level of manual dexterity? Do I need gloves that grip or gloves that protect?

At Safety Gloves, we have a wide range of protective work gloves across a range of different cut levels and sizes. It is of the utmost importance to us that you get the correct pair of gloves for the task at hand and on our website we have information on all our safety gloves to help you make an informed decision.