Article written by MCR Safety, one of Ritz Safety’s key partners in providing cutting-edge safety equipment.
ANSI/ISEA and EN388 cut levels are NOT interchangeable
To capitalize on today’s technology and innovation, you need to understand our industry’s test methods. Each test method has unique processes and testing equipment (see diagrams for more explanation). Therefore, it is difficult to make comparisons with each of these test methods and results (scores).
Understanding the ANSI/ISEA 105 standard specific to cut protection
The American National Standards Institute and the International Safety Equipment Association have recently updated our industry’s ANSI/ISEA 105 Standard. Effective February 1st, 2016, this updated standard provides the criteria to better identify levels of cut protection, abrasion, puncture, chemical, heat, vibration, and dexterity. Much of our industry’s attention will be directed toward enhancements in cut protection levels. These changes are necessary to help the safety glove industry move toward establishing an international test method for cut protection. The new test method designation is F2992/F2992M-15.
Under the previous standard, cut levels were broken up into five levels; Cut Level 1 (rarely promoted across the industry), Cut Level 1, Cut Level 3, Cut Level 4 and Cut Level 5. Under the new ANSI/ISEA 105 standard, there will be nine (9) levels of cut protection. Additionally, all levels will reference “A” as a prefix to identify compliance with the new standard. These levels will be: Cut Level A1 (similar to the old standard’s Cut Level 1, it is anticipated that this too will be rarely promoted), Cut Level A2, Cut Level A3, Cut Level A4, Cut Level A5, Cut Level A6, Cut Level A7, Cut Level A8 and Cut Level A9.
Understanding the EN388 standard specific to cut protection
A revised European directive to harmonize standards for PPE items and mirror more closely the ANSI/ISEA methods is pending. The most significant change would involve cut resistance test methods to more closely match the revised ANSI/ISEA 105 standard. The European Standard EN388 includes four physical tests required for gloves. The industry identifies this testing information with CE and a four digit number. Each number represents an individual test for abrasion, cut, tear, and puncture. The cut test uses a circular blade under a fixed load, moves back and forth until cut through is achieved. This is conducted on Couptest equipment and is unique to CE testing methods. EN388 or CE test results do require third party certification. Consider the acronym ACT-P as a convenient reference to remembering the four physical tests.