Hand protection - get a grip on it
The requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) and their applications are regulated in Europe by the overarching European Council Directive 89/686/EEC and defined in greater detail by a wide range of standards and laws. To fulfil the various requirements for PPE in the commercial sector, risks are divided into three categories:
Category 1 - low risk (Cat I):
Basic PPE; gloves must comply with the basic requirements of EN 420 and only need to bear the CE mark. No prototype test is required; a declaration of conformity is sufficient.
Category 2 - medium risk (Cat II):
A prototype test is required in addition. This standard applies to, for instance, gloves pursuant to EN 388 for protection against mechanical hazards.
Category 3 - high risk (Cat III):
In addition to the prototype test, this category also requires quality control in accordance with ISO. This includes all PPE, e.g. fire service or chemical protection gloves, where severe injuries to the wearer can be expected in the event of failure (danger to life and limb). Icons depicting the protective functions fulfilled by the PPE have been introduced to make things easier for the user.
EN 420: General requirements for gloves
EN 420 specifies the relevant test procedures to be used for all protective gloves and the general requirements with regard to the design principles, glove manufacture, resistance of glove material to water penetration, harmlessness of materials used, comfort and performance specifications, as well as the identification to be applied by the manufacturer and the information to be provided by the manufacturer."