Damage to hands are the most consistent kinds of injuries found in the industrial and handcrafting sectors. Therefore, the arms and forearms must be protected from mechanical, thermal, chemical damage as well as radioactive contamination and from contact with electrical voltage. On the basis of hazardous substance norms, protective gloves must be worn when using substances which represent a hazard for hands and skin. According to prevention norms, protective gloves must be utilised when a hazard of hand damage is present. The use of gloves can however be hazardous as well, for example when using machines with rotating parts.
Harmonised European norm UNI EN 420 “General requirements for protective gloves” introduces new names for glove sizes, which no mention is made of their shape. Special EN norms exist for some specific sectors. Markings for protection sectors are shown by pictograms, whose explanations must be displayed on the packaging or contained in the instructions for use.
Each protective glove must be marked as follows:
- manufacturer or sales agent name
- glove name (article name or code)
- CE conformity marking
- Indications for use
The user must be supplied with the following essential information:
- name and full address of the manufacturer or sales agent
- protective glove name
- indications regarding available sizes of protective gloves
- pictograms for sectors of use with levels of corresponding performance
- instructions for maintenance and storage
- size and measurements of protective gloves
THE FOLLOWING SIZES OF PROTECTIVE GLOVES HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED ACCORDING TO NORM UNI EN 420, IN RELATION TO HAND SIZE:
- Size Dimension of Length of hand gloves (mm.) min. of protective gloves
- Circumference Length (mm.)
PROTECTIVE GLOVE CLASSIFICATION
HAZARD CLASS SUBDIVISION
- mechanical hazards
- chemical hazards
- heat and fire
- electrostatic discharge
- electrical current
- ionogenic radiations
- bacteriologic contamination
The degree and extension of protection are shown with symbols of the performance level and pictograms, which set the protection sector.
PROTECTIVE GLOVES FOR MECHANICAL RISKS, ACCORDING TO UNI EN 388
For protective gloves against mechanical strain, performance levels of performed tests must be shown next to the corresponding pictogram:
- wear resistance
- cut resistance
- tear resistance
- puncture resistance
Performance levels must be indicated clearly next to the pictograms on each single packaging of pairs of gloves
PERFORMANCE LEVEL TEST
Numbers 0 and 1 indicate minimum characteristic levels. CE marking can be given only after type tests have been performed by an accredited organisation. Protective gloves against mechanical stress are produced for example in leather, in fabric, in nitrile rubber with cotton jersey or in PVC coated material. These can be utilised in many different sectors, including for outdoor works, like for example construction, metal works and assembly and transport works.
PROTECTIVE GLOVES FOR CHEMICAL SUBSTANCES AND MICROORGANISMS (ACCORDING TO UNI EN 374, PARTS 1, 3-5)
Besides mechanical resistance, material must also possess requirements relative to penetration and permeation. Penetration is ascertained by means of an air and/or water sealing test according to UNI EN 374, parts 3 and 4. Permeation, according to UNI EN 374, part 5, is ascertained by measuring the time it takes for a hazardous liquid to come into contact with skin. Materials used are in natural rubber or latex and for some groups also in PVC or PVA (polyvinyl alcohol). Limited protection can also include disposable gloves in the hygiene sector, made of a layer of synthetic material (warp layer in olefin or polypropylene).
PROTECTIVE GLOVES FOR THERMAL HAZARDS (HEAT AND FIRE), ACCORDING TO UNI EN 407
This type of protective glove must possess particular requirements for mechanical resistance as well as elevated heat insulation. The type and extension of the protection is shown by a pictogram with a symbol of a flame and different performance levels (1-4). If an "X" appears in place of a number, this means that the gloves have not been verified against the particular hazard in question.
Fire behaviour: time in seconds during which material continues to burn after the flame has been moved away by the piece being tested
Heat contact: environmental temperatures between 100°C and 500°C, in which the user wearing gloves does not feel any pain for at least 25 secondsi
Convective heat: time during which protective gloves are able to delay heat transfer from a flame
Radiant heat: time necessary for heating the piece being tested up to a particular temperature
Small sprays of fused metal: the number of fused metal drops is decisive and necessary so that the protective gloves reach a temperature elevation of 40°C
Large quantities of fused metal: heat necessary so that a leather simulator, located directly behind the piece being tested, is smoothed down and perforated. Performance is marked by an index from 1 to 4 (or 1-3 in the case of convective heat). Protective gloves must also respond to performance level 1 for wearing and tear resistance.
Leather is well-suited against brief contacts with incandescent surfaces, against radiant heat, as well as against metal sprays (protective gloves for welding, DIN 4841, part 4). Thanks to the special structure of its spongy material, cotton permits good heat insulation. Covering with nitrile rubber as well as layers of fabric increase the possibility of use of cotton fabric protective gloves up to approx. 200°C.
Protective gloves in Nomex (polyamide fibre) are suitable for elevated needs due to heat and fire. Norm UNI EN 659 establishes special requirements for fire-fighter protective gloves.
Protective gloves used for temperatures exceeding 50°C must undergo CE type tests according to art. 10 (89/686/CEE). Protective gloves for hot environments with temperatures of 100° C or higher must undergo further quality controls in accordance with art. 11.
PROTECTIVE GLOVES AGAINST THE COLD, ACCORDING TO UNI EN 511
Type tests are not necessary for gloves protecting against an insignificant hazard, for example for non-exceptional or non-extreme atmospheric conditions. The manufacturer can place a CE marking after having been issued a CE declaration of conformity.
Type tests are necessary for all other types of protective gloves. Quality controls are required for uses whose effects are comparable to those found in places whose temperature are -50°C or less, in accordance with art. 11 (89/686/CEE).
The level and extension of protection are shown by means of the pictogram with three performance levels:
- protection from cold convection
- protection from contact cold
Impermeableness to water
- 0 = permeable after 30 minutes
- 1 = impermeable after more than 30 minutes
Fabrics covered in PVC with expanded material insulation can be utilised.
NORMS FOR OTHER WORKPLACE USES
UNI EN 421
Protective gloves against ionogenic radiation, including contamination and radiation.
UNI EN 455
Disposable gloves for medical use, requirements and air-tightness tests
UNI EN 455
Disposable gloves for medical use; requirements and physical property tests