There are two major standards that are used in determining the cut resistance levels of work gloves. One, called the ANSI/ISEA is used in North America, and the other, EN 388, is used in Europe and Asia.
In the North American Standard, there are 9 parts of the process to determine the cut resistance of a glove:
- A sample of the glove material is put on a conductive strip and loaded into a machine. In this machine, when the metal blades touch the conductive metal strip on the other side of the glove, the test is shut off.
- After this test, a straight blade is loaded into the same machine.
- A certain amount of weight is added, which serves as force.
- The blade is then made to move across the sample of the glove material.
- Then, the blade is replaced with a fresh one to ensure accuracy.
- The sample of glove material is cut with a straight blade three different times, each time with a different amount of weight added.
- Testers record the distance traveled to cause the straight blade to cut through the glove material.
- This data is used in determining the load of force required to cut through the glove material.
- After testing, the glove gets a rating based off of the results. The rating is between A1 and A9, with A1 being the lowest level of cut protection and A9 being the highest.
In Europe and Asia, there are just 6 parts of the process to assign a cut resistance level to work gloves:
- A sample of the glove is taken from the palm area of a particular glove.
- A rotating circular blade moves across the test sample until it cuts through the material.
- The test sample is then compared to a reference material, which is usually cloth.
- The reference material and the test material are cut alternately until a minimum of 5 results are achieved.
- To account for any dulling of the circular blade, the reference material is cut both before and after the sample material.
- The cut resistance rating Is derived from the ratio of the number of cycles needed to cut through the test sample compared with the reference material.
Any glove you purchase, should indicate whether it is cut resistant or not. Some are more obvious, like mesh metal gloves, but others can be more deceiving. Also, you can wash your cut resistant gloves without fear of them losing their protective qualities. However, some cut resistant materials should not be treated with bleach, and some do not respond well to high heat, so you’ll want to check before you wash.