Find Your Work Gloves With EN388

EN388:2016 Explained and how to use the standard to pick your safety gloves!


Whether you’re buying safety gloves for a bit of DIY in your shed or for a full team of employees working in heavy construction, it’s important that you understand what gloves are suitable for specific tasks.

From first impressions, the EN388 looks and sounds like another boring safety standard. But in fact, it’s very useful to understand before you make your next glove purchase. The EN388 legislation provides information about the properties and mechanical resistance of safety gloves. The legislation was updated in 2016, adding two new measured properties.

EN388:2016 provides us information as above: Abrasion Resistance, Circular Blade Cut Resistance, Tear Resistance, Impact Resistance, Straight Blade Cut Resistance & Puncture Resistance.

The first number – Abrasion Resistance: Rated from 1-4 – How well do the gloves resist abrasion. If you’re handling bricks, rocks and rough materials, you’ll want this number to be high! Most of our gloves have high abrasion resistance, even the PG101, one of our lightest gloves!

The second number: Circular blade cut resistance – since the latest revision, straight blade cut resistance has also been added, which we will talk about below. Ranging from 1-5, the higher number will give you more cut resistance! Our PG510 dual layer nitrile gloves have a great cut-resistance with a rating of 4.

The third number: tear resistance. Ranging between 1-4. If you’re looking for a durable glove for use in demanding environments, check out this number! Our PG330 features high breathability & dexterity with a tear resistance of 4!

The fourth number: puncture resistance. Again, ranging from 1-4, essential to consider if you’re working with the likes of needles, syringes and any waste-work. The PG510… it’s back again! Offering level 4 puncture resistance, a perfect choice.

The fifth number: straight blade cut resistance – like the second measurement above. Introduced as an additional measure in 2016, focusing more on straight blades (as the name suggests). The measurements are reported slightly differently now, rather than numerically, the rating for straight blade cut resistance is A-F. (F providing the highest level of cut resistance)

Performance LevelABCDEF
Newtonwert≥ 2≥ 5≥ 10≥ 15≥ 22≥ 30


There could also be an ‘X’ – this means that the glove has not been tested for this hazard.

The Pawa PG520 has an ISO cut level E while the PG550 achieves the highest rating, level F! Keep an eye for our cut level blog, where the difference between the cut tests is discussed

Finally, if you made it this far! – the sixth and final number is Impact Resistance. Typically, one to check for if you’re working with heavy objects or there’s a risk of your hands being crushed. This is currently an optional test. There’s only one rating for this – P – this means the glove has passed the test!

It’s essential that you audit your tasks and hazards before purchasing your next pair of safety gloves. By assessing, you can protect yourself and your team. Browse our range of safety gloves and feel free to contact us for any advice or queries!

Leave a Reply