EN388:2016 Cut Protection Standard Update Explained

26 March 2018

Cut Protection

The following is a video and written guide to the European EN388 Mechanical Risk Standard, which was updated in 2016 to make testing procedures and results more precise.

The Standard applies to protective gloves and refers to their resistance to abrasion, cut, tear, puncture and impact.  Key changes to the Standard include an additional cut test (ISO13997) if the traditional cut test (Coupe Test) fails while a non-compulsory impact resistance test has been added.  


  • Coupe Cut Test

As fabrics – particularly those with cut resistance – have become more technically advanced in protecting against cuts and lacerations, limitations to the traditional methods for measuring cut resistance (Coupe Test) have been identified. The Coupe Test measures cut resistance by recording the number of cycles it takes to cut through a glove material at a constant speed and pressure when compared to a cotton reference.  A rating of five (5) is the highest score a glove can receive using the Coupe Test. This is awarded to glove materials that are resistant to 20 or more blade cycles.

Many cut resistant fabrics have evolved significantly from when the EN388 Standard was originally written, to the point where these fabrics can easily withstand 20 or more blade cycles of the Coupe Test. In fact, many of these fabrics will blunt the Coupe Test blade, further compromising the accuracy of test results.  The new Standard, EN388:2016 states that if the Coupe Test blade is deemed “blunt” or the test fabric is not penetrated after 60 cycles, the Coupe Test is abandoned and ISO 13997 applies.


  • ISO 13997 Cut Test

ISO 13997 measures the amount of pressure required to make an incision in the test fabric over a 20mm travel distance using a razorblade. Performance is rated with the letters A to F, depending on resistance to pressure, which is measured in Newtons (N).  “F” is the maximum cut resistance of the ISO 13997 test and is awarded to any fabric that achieves a cut resistance equal to or greater than 30N or approximately 3.06kg.

The ISO 13997 Cut Test is commonly referred to as a “real world” cut test because of its ability to measure cut force, which is widely considered a more relevant metric in workplace situations when a cut risk is present.


  • Impact Test

The EN388:2016 impact test measures resistance to a 2.5kg weight impacting on the glove with an energy of 5J (Joules). To pass the test, the glove material may not fracture or split and is measured in accordance with EN13594:2015.  The glove is awarded a “Pass” (P) if it can withstand nine (9) kilonewtons (kN) or more of force. The glove itself will be marked with either a “P” or no rating (marked as an X) if it fails or is untested.


  • Other Updates

Other updates in EN388:2016 include a pre-defined sandpaper grit for the abrasive test to provide more consistent results.  An “X” rating is marked on the glove if the glove has not been tested, or if the test is not applicable to the glove.  Check out our educational video at the top of the page for more.


More information here: EN388:2016 Explained


SWF Group stocks a large range of Hand Protection Equipment.  Talk to us about your requirements today!

SWF Group | "Safety at Work First!"

#SafetyAtWorkFirst  #HandProtection  #PPE  #Gloves  #StandardUpdate  #EN388:2016


Be the first to comment.

We Accept PaypalWe Accept Master CardWe Accept VisaSecure Certificate