Hand Protection

Hand and wrist injuries still account for the largest number of injuries to the different parts of the human body in today’s workforce. Therefore North Safety Products has decided to invest in this product range and is committed to provide workers with the best possible protection against workplace hazards.

How to define the best protective glove for a certain application

  • According to CE norms
  • Consistent quality
  • High level of protection
  • ISO production
  • Comfort and fit
  • Clean and nice look
  • Efficient work is possible
  • Good quality price ratio
  • High user acceptance
  • Well known brand
  • Long lifetime
  • Supplied with good service
  • No skin irritations

What kind of application is the glove for and what kind of protection is required

  1. Mechanical resistance
  2. Unusual temperatures like heat or cold resistance
  3. Chemical resistance
  4. Product protection

Glove Size & Fit

A proper fit is extremely important. An uncomfortable fit causes hand fatigue and ultimately could lead to a potential workplace hazard.

How to Measure Your Hand

With a ruler, start at index finger and measure the width of your hand at knuckle area.

CE Regulations for Safety Gloves

Below you will find some information about the CE norms for Hand Protection. If you are interested in more detailed information, please do not hesitate to contact North Safety Products.

This pictogram indicates that the user has the possibility to consult instructions for use.

CE Information

All products are fully tested and certified in accordance with the PPE Directive and carry the CE mark. They are independently tested by external accredited laboratories, if appropriate, using European norms or ENs and are independently certified by Notified Bodies by means of EC Type Examination.

All gloves of Intermediate and Complex design must now be tested independently to ascertain their performance and ensure their safety. They must, if they meet these standards, carry a CE Mark on the gloves, or on their packaging when this is not practical.


When tested in accordance with EN 374, the Chemical Permeation performance level is indicated as Breakthrough Time.


Under the terms of the above directive, gloves fall into the following three categories:

CATEGORY 1 - Simple Design

For minimal risks only. Suitable only for low risk applications where the hazards can be identified by the wearer in the time to deal with them.

CATEGORY 2 - Intermediate Design

Reversible risks. Products are type-examined by an approved body where they examine the manufacturer’s technical specifications and conduct tests for the relevant standards to ascertain their conformity and/or performance.

CATEGORY 3 - Complex Design

For protection against mortal danger or risks, which cause irreversible harm. Product is type tested as in CE information above and in additiona Notified Body regularly audits the QA system in all North Safety Products manufacturing units.

European Standards (ENs)

EN 420, 2003


This standard defines the general requirements for protective gloves in terms of construction, fitness of purpose, safety, etc.

EN 420, 2003 determines:

  • Ergonomics
  • Innocuousness
  • Cleaning
  • Marking of the glove and the packing


  • The gloves themselves should not impose a risk or cause injury.
  • The pH of the gloves should be as close as possible to neutral.
  • Leather gloves should have a pH value between 3.5 and 9.5.
  • The highest permitted value for chromium is 3 mg/kg (chrome VI).
  • The gloves must specify details of any substance used in the glove, which is known to cause allergies.
  • The glove must be sized by reference to an agreed common European hand size, for example minimum length.

On top of EN 420, all gloves in category 2 and 3 (intermediate and complex design) require tests by an independent and notified body according to the CE specification. The most important tests are according to the standards on the following pages.

EN 388

Protective gloves against mechanical risks


Based on the number of cycles required to abrade through the sample glove (abrasion by sandpaper under a stipulated pressure). The protection factor is then indicated on a scale from 1 to 4 depending on how many revolutions are required to make a hole in the material. The higher the number, the better the glove. See table below.


Based on the number of cycles required to cut through the sample at a constant speed. The protection factor is then indicated on a scale from 1 to 4.


Based on the amount of force required to tear the sample. The protection factor is then indicated on a scale from 1 to 4.


Based on the amount of force required to pierce the sample with a standard sized point. The protection factor is then indicated on a scale from 1 to 4.


This indicates Volume resistivity, where a glove can reduce the risk of electrostatic discharge. (Pass or fail test). These pictograms only appear when the gloves have passed the relevant test.

If some of the results are marked with an X means that this test performance is not tested. If some of the results are marked with an O means that the glove did not pass the test.

Consider the acronym ACT-P as a convenient reference to remembering the four physical tests.

European StanCriteria Performance Guide for EN 388: Mechanical Hazards (ENs)

EN 374:2003


In many countries there are more than 15 000 different chemicals in use in more than 60 000 products within industry, construction, agriculture etc. Tested and approved chemical gloves are the right solution against many of these chemicals. In order for us to help you find the right kind of glove, you need to supply us with the name of the chemical and approximately how long you will be in contact with it.

  • Pictogram (1) depicts a chemical glove that is not approved according to EN 374-2004, but is approved according to the old EN 374-1994. (EN 374-1994 is still relevant.)
  • Pictogram (2) depicts a chemical glove that is approved according to EN 374-2004. BREADTH

This standard specifies the capability of gloves to protect the user against chemicals and/or micro-organisms.


Penetration Movement of a chemical and/or micro-organism through porous materials, seams, pinholes or other imperfections in a protective glove material on a non-molecular level.


Process by which a chemical moves through a protective glove material on a molecular level. Permeation involves the following:

  • Absorption of molecules of chemicals on the contracted (outside) surface of a material
  • Diffusion of the absorbed molecules in the material
  • Desorption of the molecules from the opposite (inside) surface of the material.

Breakthrough Time

The time elapsed between the initial application of the chemical to the outside of a protective glove material and its subsequent presence on the inside as measured in EN 374 part 3 and is defined as the time when the permeation rate equates to 1 microgram per minute per square cm.


  • Minimum Liquid Proof Section
The minimum liquid proof section of the glove must be at least equal to the minimum length of the gloves specified in EN 420.

  • Penetration
A glove must not leak when tested to an air and/or water leak test, and shall be tested and inspected in compliance with the Acceptable Quality Level.

  • Permeation
Chemicals are tested and classified for breakthrough time on a scale of 0-6.

The "Chemical resistant" glove pictogram must be accompanied by a 3-digit code. This code refers to the code letters of 3 chemicals (from a list of 12 standard defined chemicals), for which a breakthrough time of at least 30 minutes has been obtained.

List of Test Chemicals

A "Waterproof" / "Low Chemical Resistant" pictogram is reserved for cases where gloves did not achieve a Breakthrough Time of 30 minutes or greater for at least 3 defined chemicals, but do comply with penetration testing.

A glove shall be considered as Micro-Organism resistant if it conforms to at least level 2 in the Penetration test of EN 374.

EN 12477


This standard describes how the gloves are designed to provide protection for both hand and wrist while welding or similar work, this is a combination from testing EN 388 and EN 407. Welding gloves shall provide resistance to small splashes of molten metal, short exposure to convective heat, to radiant heat and to contact heat. The welding gloves shall give protection from mechanical risks as well.

Type A refers to gloves that shall provide a higher protection against heat. Type B refers to gloves that provide a lower protection against heat but they are more flexible and pliable.

The EN 407 pictogram is followed by series of performance levels/numbers, depicting any of the six performance levels relating to specific protective qualities. (Performance levels A to F can be seen on the table on the next page.)

EN 407


The nature and degree of protection is shown by a pictogram followed by a series of six performance levels, relating to specific protective qualities. The higher the number, the better the test result. The following is tested:

A. Resistance to flammability

The glove’s material is stretched and lit with a gas flame. The flame is held against the material for 15 seconds. After the gas flame is distinguished, the length of time is measured for how long the material either glows or burns.

B. Resistance to contact heat

The glove’s material is exposed to temperatures between +100°C and +500°C. The length of time is then measured for how long it takes the material on the inside of the glove to increase by 10°C from the starting temperature (approx. 25°C). 15 seconds is the minimum accepted length of time for approval. For example: to be marked with class 2, the glove’s inside material must manage 250°C heat for 15 seconds before the material exceeds 35°C.

C. Resistance to convective heat

The amount of time is measured for the heat from a gas flame (80Kw/kvm) to increase the temperature of the glove’s inside material by 24°C.

D. Resistance to radiant heat

The glove’s material is stretched in front of a heat source with an effect of 20-40 kw/kvm. The average time is measured for heat penetration of 2.5 kw/kvm.

E. Resistance to small splashes of molten metal

The test is based on the total number of drops of molten metal required to increase the temperature by 40°C between the inside of the glove and the skin.

F. Resistance to large splashes of molten metal

Simulated skin is attached to the inside of the glove material. Molten metal is then poured over the glove material. The total number of grams is measured by how much molten metal is required to damage the simulated skin.

EN 421:1994

Gloves giving protection from ionizing radiation and radioactive contamination

Term Definitions

The type of protection that a glove provides is indicated by a pictogram related to the specific protective qualities.

Protection from Radioactive Contamination

The glove is required to be liquid proof and able to pass the penetration test as laid out in EN 344. Gloves used in containment enclosures must also pass a specific air pressure leak test.

Protection from Ionizing Radiation

The glove is required to contain a certain quality of lead (or lead equivalence), which is marked on each glove. Any material exposed to Ionizing Radiation may be modelled by their behaviour to ozone cracking. This is an optional test that may be used as an aid in selecting gloves that require Ionizing Radiation resistance.

EN 511

Protective gloves against cold


This standard indicates that a glove provides protection from both convective and contact cold down to -50°C.

Term Definitions

Protection Against Cold
This is shown by a pictogram, which is followed by 3 performance levels/numbers, each pertaining to specific qualities.

The 3 levels/numbers represent: A. Resistance to convective cold (performance level 0-4) B. Resistance to contact cold (performance level 0-4) C. Permeability to water (0 or 1) 0 = water penetration after 30 minutes 1 = no water penetration after 30 minutes

EN 455

Requirements for single use medical gloves


This standard specifies requirements and tests for gloves for medical purpose.

The following is tested:

  • Impermeability
  • Sizing
  • Strength and thickness
  • Maximum elasticity both before and after accelerated ageing
  • Biological safety qualities

South African Standard

SANS 416:2007



Determination of resistance against chemicals, namely, aqueous solutions of acids, acid salts, alkalis, alkaline salts and alcohols.

  • Reagents that are used for the test are NaOH, H2SO4, normal butanol.
  • These gloves also offer good resistance to abrasion.