21/04/2019. Will your PPE products be EN 388:2016 compliant? Here’s a quick guide to be prepared.

21/04/2019. Will your PPE products be EN 388:2016 compliant? Here’s a quick guide to be prepared.


  1. What is about to happen to EN388?

A new regulation covering personal protective equipment, EU 2016/425, was adopted in April 2016. As a result, the directive 89/686/EEC will gradually be phased out to eventually expire in April 2019.

For existing products, it is not necessary to have them certified again. It is though reminded that the new 2016/425 Regulation requires any certification to be renewed as follows:

- PPE manufactured before April 21, 2019 according to the Directive and placed on the market before April 21, 2019, may be made available on the market after this date, their EC-certificates shall remain valid until April 21, 2023.

- PPE manufactured before April 21, 2019 according to the Directive and placed on the market after April 21, 2019, shall be in compliance with the new Regulation and therefore necessarily recertified.

Moreover, it is prudent to have the certificate renewed if older than 5 years, in order to prevent any difficulty with the State administrations such as Customs.

  1. Do these changes apply to your anti-cut safety gloves?

The answer is yes If your safety solutions feature the following marking:


  1. Why is the EU changing the norm EN388?

In 2016 significant updates were made to EN 388 and ANSI/ISEA 105 standards to provide a more accurate and reliable assignment of cut levels for hand protection. The changes were also designed to increase harmonisation between EU/ANSI test methods and classification levels to provide a clearer basis for comparison of product performance in a global market.

EN388: 2016

Previously, EN 388:2003 classification for cut resistance relied on results obtained from carrying out the coupe test. This test uses a circular blade under a 5N load, which moves in a backward and forward motion over the sample and a ‘cut index ‘ is determined by calculating the number of cycles required to cut through the test sample.

The coupe test has proven to be unreliable for high cut resistant materials due to blunting of the blade during the test to produce inaccurate results. For this reason the test method ISO 13997:1999 was introduced. The new EN 388:2016 standard states that if when carrying out the coupe test, data is obtained which indicates blade blunting, the test method described in ISO 13997:1999 shall be carried out and used for the cut protection classification.


The ISO 13997:1999 test is carried out on a TDM test device and uses a single straight edge blade drawn across the sample in one direction at a specified speed. Once the blade cuts through the sample the distance of blade travel is recorded. A range of loads are used throughout the test and the cutting distance against the force used (in Newtons) are plotted on a graph to determine the force required to cut through the material at 20mm of blade travel. This method is preferred for high cut resistant materials as the blade is used only once (to eliminate the impact of blade blunting) and a variety of loads can be used throughout the test instead of the fixed load of 5 Newtons applied in the coupe test.

The EN 388:2016 standard has introduced a new rating system when using the ISO 13997 method. Cut protection is defined by 6 levels indicated by a letter (A to F) rather than the previously assigned number (1 to 5). It also allows ratings to lower level results achieved on the TDM, whereas the EN 388:2003 standard only allowed for a level 4 (13 – 22N) or 5 (>22N) rating.


There have also been other areas impacted by this update: impact and abrasion resistance.

The EN388:2016 now includes a test method borrowed from the motorcycle standard EN 13594:2014 to claim protection against impacts, while the norm now employs a more reliable abrasive paper to assess gloves’ resistance to abrasion.   

  1. Can we help you?

If you have more questions on how our safety solutions can help you contact our team to find our more Giovanni Nalesso, Roberto Presotto, or visit us at: