Understanding Glove Testing
With copious gloves on the market claiming different benefits to the next, it can be hard to know which glove is considered right for the task in hand! A great place to begin is to get a basic overview of the various standards which there are; associated with work gloves and PPE.
CE Marking and Glove Standards
Firstly, one key point to understand is that all gloves should bear the CE mark. In having the CE mark present, you know that:
- The manufacturer of the product has checked that it meets EU requirements surrounding safety, health, and the environment
- The product is in compliance with EU legislation
- There is no restriction regarding free movement within the European market
The CE mark is attained through submission of a conformity assessment; a product technical file; and, issue a declaration of conformity (to EU standards/legislation), to a notified body. These 3 things show compliance to the standards.
From here, there are various tests for various working environments and conditions – this includes (but is not limited to) standards such as:
- EN420 – protective gloves standard requirements
- EN388 – protection against mechanical hazards
- EN407 – protection against thermal hazards
- EN511 – protection against cold
- EN374-1 – protection against chemicals and micro-organisms
Gloves are then categorised from category I to category III, based on the level of protection they offer:
- Category I – Simple Design: Gloves in this Category are self-certified and are suitable for areas of ‘minimal risk’, where the effect of wearing a glove are easily reversible or superficial. Examples of applications include packing, light-weight gardening, or handling objects below 50oC.
- Category II – Intermediate Design: Gloves in this Category will have been EU type tested against applicable European Standards, and certified by a Notified Body. These gloves are for areas of specific risk (i.e. mechanical hazards), where risks are neither classified as ‘minimal’ or ‘reversible’. For most tasks (where not specialised), a Category II glove would likely suffice.
- Category III – Complex Design: Gloves in this Category are to protect against the highest level of risk (i.e. irreversible or mortal risks) and are of a complex design. The gloves will have been EU type tested against applicable European Standards, and certified by a Notified Body. Gloves in this category must either be manufactured under an approved quality system or, be subjected to type testing on an annual basis.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure staff are equipped with the correct PPE to do their job in a safe and healthy manner. It is imperative to risk assess any jobs which may require gloves to give you a better indication of the Category you require, and the important standards to look out for. Without providing suitable, tested PPE, you can be left liable.
Finding Notified Bodies
BSiF (British Safety Industry Federation) has raised concerns regarding an influx of fake and non-compliant PPE into the UK market. These are products that have not been tested or certified by a Notified Body who is accredited to do so. ”A notified body is an organisation designated by an EU country to assess the conformity of certain products before being placed on the market. These bodies carry out tasks related to conformity assessment procedures set out in the applicable legislation”. “Notified bodies are authorised to award the CE mark and issue certificated to EN standards.” To combat this issue, BSiF has issued advice on where to access information on notified bodies. This is through the NANDO website (New Approach to Notified and Designated Organisations), accessed through the EU Commission website. At Just 1 Source, the notified bodies we use are:
- Intertek (ITS) Testing Services Limited (0362)
- Satra Technology Europe Limited (2777)
- West Yorks Material Testing Services Limited* (2019)
- CTC Europe Limited (0075)
You can click the following link to see a where to find this information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceCAceuDOhE - this resource can help to ensure you re offering correctly certified PPE at all times.
*West Yorks Material Testing Services Limited ceased tested in April 2020.
Finding the correct glove for you
At Just 1 Source we have an experienced and knowledgeable team who live and breath the glove world! Every day, we receive enquiries from people looking for glove solutions for specific applications, and it is our job to offer the best recommendations that we can. If you are struggling to find a glove to fit your need or would like advice on a product you are already using – please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss, on:
Call – 01653 617718
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bespoke Glove Solutions
At Just 1 Source, we have a vast portfolio of gloves to suit most applications. If however, you can’t find a glove to fit your needs, we have facilities in place to manufacture almost any glove to any specification, and we are able to design and test accordingly to achieve the levels of safety required. If you have any interest in designing a glove, please don’t hesitate to contact us.