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EN 420: The Standard In Glove Safety

Monday, 10 August 2015

If you've used work gloves in the past then you'll have heard of EN 420 before. If you're new to work gloves, then you might be a little confused about what it means, as even the most experienced safety gloves user struggles to understand exactly what EN 420 is. It's possible that we get more questions about EN 420 than anything else, so if you fit that category take a look at our guide below.

Unfortunately, there's quite a lot to EN 420. So, we've separated this article out into different sections which you can view by clicking on the anchors below:

Back to Basics: What Is EN 420?

EN 420 is the hallmark of any decent safety glove. It's the basic standard, something that a disposable glove in the medical industry will be certified to in the same way as a cut 5 glove for manufacturing glass or a heat resistant glove for soldering. EN 420 covers both Disposable Single Use Gloves and Reusable Gloves.

The point in EN 420 is that it proves that the gloves will not be a harm to the user and that the gloves are comfortable to wear, something that when passed, will allow the gloves to be tested to EN 388, EN 374, EN 455 and other glove standards. EN 420 covers quite a bit of scope, with the main areas coming under:

  • Innocuousness
  • Anti-static and Water Vapour
  • Packaging and Instructions
  • Symbols/Information on the Glove

The Specifications: How Will a Glove Meet EN 420?

Innocuousness

The first test is innocuousness, which ensures that the gloves will be comfortable, will fit, and will not damage the wearer.

  • Glove Length and Glove Size:

    • The length of a glove is measured by suspending it from the middle finger and by placing a ruler inside the glove to remove any creases. The glove is then fitted onto a model hand that has the same dimensions as those that the glove is intended to fit, the purpose being to ensure that all gloves have a standardised size. Measurements can be found below:

Standardised Glove Size (mm)

Hands Size Palm Circumference Hand Length
Size 6 (Extra Small) 152mm 160mm
Size 7 (Small) 178mm 171mm
Size 8 (Medium) 203mm 182mm
Size 9 (Large 229mm 192mm
Size 10 (Extra Large) 254mm 204mm
Size 11 (XX-Large) 279mm 215mm

Standardised Glove Length (mm)

Size Minimum Glove Length
Size 6 (Extra Small) 220mm
Size 7 (Small) 230mm
Size 8 (Medium) 240mm
Size 9 (Large) 250mm
Size 10 (Extra Large) 260mm
Size 11 (XX-Large) 270mm
  • Dexterity:
    • A wearer will be required to pick up five pins with a diameter of between 5mm and 11mm. The smaller an item can be picked up, the higher dexterity the gloves will achieve.
  • pH Value:
    • A pH value will be determined to ensure safety in the hand. The pH value should be less than 9.5 but greater than 3.5.
  • Chrome VI:
    • The gloves must also not include dangerous metals such that can cause allergic reactions such as chromium.
    • Chromium (VI) Content should be below detection (< 3mg/kg).
  • Other Points:
    • Gloves must offer the greatest possible degree of protection
    • If the glove features seams, they should not reduce the performance of the glove
    • Natural rubber gloves should be tested on extractable proteins to ensure they do not cause allergic reactions in the wearer
    • If cleaning instructions are provided, the level of performance must not be reduced even after the maximum number of washes

Electrostatic and Water Vapour

If a glove is electrostatic or resistant to water vapour, then the gloves must undergo further testing.

  • Electrostatic Gloves:
    • Anti-Static Gloves shall be placed through electrostatic tests, the results of which will be reported within the instructions.
    • An electrostatic pictogram should not be used.
  • Water Vapour:
    • If required, gloves shall allow water vapour transmission (5mg/cm2)
    • If gloves exclude water vapour transmission, it should be at least 8mg/cm2 for 8 hours
    • If  required, gloves shall allow water vapour transmission (5mg/cm2)

Packaging and Instructions

On either the packaging or instructions, you can expect to find certain information. This will include:

  • The name of the manufacturer
  • Glove sizes
  • Appropriate pictograms to display EN standards and levels (these markings must remain clear through the life of the glove)
  • Address of the manufacturer or representative
  • It's intended application (e.g. for minimal risks only)
  • If the protection is specific to a certain area (e.g. palm area only)
  • Care and storage instructions
  • A list of substances that are known to cause allergies and the name and address of the body that certified the product.

Symbols

Finally, all gloves that have been certified to EN 420 must include the EN 420 symbol. This will be on the back of the gloves and on the packaging. The symbol can be identified below:


The EN 420 symbol that must be placed on the back of all EN 420 certified gloves

The main point to remember is that all EN 420 gloves must meet the above standards for it to be tested to heat, cold, cut and more.

Your Questions Answered: The Q and A

Below we quick fire a few common questions that we get concerning EN 420. If you have any yourself, leave them in the comments below and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

ARE ALL WORK GLOVES CERTIFIED TO EN 420?

Most credible work gloves will be certified to EN 420. EN 420 is the hallmark of a good work glove, and if isn't certified to EN 420, the glove lends itself to being counterfeit. 99% of the work gloves that we sell here at SafetyGloves.co.uk will be certified to EN 420, something easily recognisable in the copy, conformity statement or on the gloves themselves.

There are a few exceptions, for example some Gardening Gloves or Cotton Gloves may not be certified to EN 420, however they will also use their own sizing guide and won't come with any standards. If you are completing a task with even a low level of risk, then using EN 420 gloves will guarantee durability and protection from your work gloves.

CAN DISPOSABLE GLOVES ALSO BE CERTIFIED TO EN 420?

Most disposable gloves will be certified to EN 420. If a glove has standards, then it will be certified to EN 420. View our full disposable range below:

DO ALL CUT, HEAT, Thermal, CHEMICAL and Other Resistant GLOVES HAVE TO MEET EN 420?

Any glove that offers resistance against a hazard will be certified to EN 420. One of the few ways to ensure that a glove is resistant to the things that it says that it is, is by checking to see whether the glove is certified to EN 420. Below, are links to our full range of EN 420 rated gloves to each top category.

Do I Have to Use a EN 420 Certified GLOVE FOR WORK?

Not necessarily, however you can't guarantee that the glove you are using will be up the standard that you expect. We can promise that all of the EN 420 gloves in our Reusable Gloves category are clearly labelled and marked either on the gloves, in the copy or in the conformity statement. The only exception may be with some Rigger Gloves, Gardening Gloves, Cotton Gloves and a few other minimal risk industry work gloves, however these will use their own sizing guide, won't come with any standards and aren't recommended for any task with any level of risk.

Where Do EN 388, EN 407, EN 374 and Other Standards Come Into It?

These other standards that you will see on our website are to test a gloves response to things such as heat, cold, chemicals, cuts and more. A glove MUST pass EN 420 before it passes any other standard. For more information on our most popular standards, please see the links below:

How Do I Know If a Glove Doesn't Meet EN 420?

If a glove doesn't meet EN 420 then it will not come with a conformity statement, there will be no symbol and no standards will be present. 99% of the gloves that we sell meet EN 420 and will include a conformity statement at the bottom of the product listing.

Our Buying Guide: Helping You Purchase Your EN 420 Gloves

We hope that this guide has helped you find out about EN 420. If you're in a position where you want to purchase some work gloves then our website has thousands of work gloves available that should suit your needs. Below we've listed a few of our top categories, hopefully giving you an idea of where to find your perfect safety gloves.

If you can't find your EN 420 gloves here, then we would recommend hovering over the navigation bar at the top of the page. Here you'll find a full list of industries, hazards, risks and more.

Buy Your EN 420 Work Gloves Now

Hopefully you've a better idea of what EN 420 is and why it is important. Remember, EN 420 is the baseline for most work gloves and it ensures that your gloves is up to the standard that you expect from even the most average pair of work gloves.

Have any questions, or anything to add? Tell us in the comments below, or find us on Facebook and Twitter!