Hand Protection

Hand and arm injuries occur often in the workplace. Since we rely on our hands for so much of our work, they're likely to be injured. As humans, our hands are among our most important tools. But the human hand is complex, delicate, and vulnerable.

Only a thin layer of muscle and fat covers the bones, nerves, and tendons of the hand. Therefore, there is an immense variety of injuries that can happen to the hand as it comes into contact with objects that can be harmful.  

The working environment and working conditions can often lead to accidents. Sharp or heavy objects, hot utensils, and irritant chemicals are among the most common hazards in the workplace causing lacerations, burns and infection. 

Hand protection is necessary as part of the health and safety methods in the workplace. Thus, gloves are essential pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), and their use is  within the safety requirements in different industries, such as agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.

Protective gloves are the first and foremost line of defence when working with anything that could result in hand injury and with fine handling so important in our day to day lives – protection for the hands is of the utmost importance.  

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has provided a classification of product attributes, which include quality and protection levels of PPE. The European Union (EN)  standards help managers to provide and maintain their workplace safety levels and choose the most appropriate personal protective equipment.

BS (British Standards): EN Reference Meaning
EN388 Protection from mechanical risk
EN511 Protection from the cold
EN407 Protection from thermal hazards
EN374 Protection from chemicals and microorganisms
EN420 Protection from ionising radiation and radioactive contamination

EN 388:2016 - Standard for Gloves Protecting Against Mechanical Risks.

Cuts and lacerations are the most common type of hand injury, meaning it is critical to wear the correct safety glove for the task at hand. Some minor injuries like superficial cuts can heal quickly. But, when tendons or nerves are affected, the injury can have long-term consequences. When working with sharp tools, objects and machinery, the best way to protect yourself from cuts and lacerations is to wear cut-resistant protective gloves.

EN 388 is a widely-recognised standard which safety gloves are commonly tested against across a huge range of industries. Abrasion resistance, cut resistance, tearing strength, puncture resistance and impact protection are the characteristics tested according to the EN 388 standard.

EN388:2016 have been revised which means the way that gloves are now tested has changed. Cut resistance will now be measured by either the coupe test or the ISO test in the event of blade blunting, therefore products with higher levels of cut protection can be now identified.

The new EN ISO test gives a more accurate specification in terms of cut resistance during work which includes differing impact-based hazards, meaning there are now 6 possible grades of cut resistance. This is to ensure the degree of protection provided by the glove is as accurate as possible for the job.

By default, the cut level will be rated 1 – 5, however, if blunting occurs during the ‘Coup Blade Cut Test’ then the results of the new TDM cut test will be shown from A-F and now the ‘Coup Blade Cut Test’ value will be marked as X.

Abrasion Test (Rated 1-4)

  • A sample of material is fitted to a fixed size and weight and is moved in an elliptical motion over a table covered with abrasion paper.
  • The performance level of the glove is measured by the number of abrasion cycles required to ‘hole’ the material.

Cut Test (Rated 1-5)

  • A rotating circular blade moves horizontally back and forth across a fabric sample with a fixed force of 5 Newton’s (N) applied from above.
  • This result is determined by the cycle count needed to cut through the sample and the degree of wear and tear on the blade used.

Tear Test (Rated 1-4)

  • Four samples from the palm of the glove are clamped in a standard tensile strength testing machine to which the jaws move apart at a speed of 100mm per minute.
  • Performance levels range from 1 (resistance of peak force between 10N and 25N) to 4 (tear strength is at least 75N).

Puncture Test (Rated 1-4)

  • A machine pushes a rounded stylus 50mm into the sample cut from the palm of the glove at a speed of 100mm per minute.
  • Levels range from 1 (puncture resistance force of between 20N and 60N) to 4 (measured resistance of at least 150N). These levels are decided by the lowest of four test results.

Impact Test (Rated “P”)

  • The impact protective back-of-hand knuckle material is placed on a domed block of metal or anvil
  • To pass the test, the transmitted force must be 7 kilonewtons or less (with no single result greater than 9 kilonewtons) If a glove passes,
  • If a glove passes, the final letter on the EN388 pictogram will show ‘P’

To create resistant gloves that protect your hands from hazards,  gloves are dipped into a specific mixture of coating. Each dip has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Common dip material 

PU (Polyurethane)

  • Grips well without being sticky
  • Great breathable and dexterity
  • Resists oils, solvents gasoline, fats, grease, ozone and oxidations


  • Very high elasticity and grip
  • Great tear resistance
  • Resist alcohol
  • Can cause allergic reaction


  • Synthetic version of latex
  • Three times more puncture resistant than rubber
  • Stands up well to oil
  • Additional foam coating acts like a sponge, helps increase gripping power

Hand protection will often depend on choosing a suitable type of glove according to the working conditions and potential hazards you might encounter.  The general rule of thumb is to select the gloves that offer maximum protection, fit properly, and provide comfort.

At Tiger Supplies, we offer an extensive range of protective gloves. Our gloves become a second skin, which will help you handle dangerous chemicals, materials, and objects without affecting your dexterity to work efficiently. All the products we provide conform to the European Standards. 

For more information, please contact our sales team on 0844 848 3444 or email us at sales@tiger-supplies.co.uk