Cut Level 3,4 & 5 marked gloves are being replaced with a NEW cut test with the markings


Back in 2016 the European test for Mechanical Handling EN388:2003 went through a few changes.
The one that is causing the most confusion is the test for CUT RESISTANCE.

Cut resistance was scored 0 to 5, 5 being the highest level of cut resistance available. The test (coupe Test) was done using a rotating circular blade, with the glove material on a flat plate, with a metal contact underneath, a force of 5 Newtons was applied to force the material against the round blade, the blade was then passed backwards and forwards over the material until it cut through the sample.
Two samples of the glove material were used. This was repeated 5 times and an average is taken of the number of passes taken to cut the glove material.
This number of passes was then expressed as an Index number against a base material which would be a piece of canvas.
So basically the cut test was comparing how cut resistant the glove sample was compared to a piece of canvas.
The Index value was then expressed as numbers 1 to 5 as below:

As glove fibres improved to score higher test results, it was found that glass and steel fibres were blunting the blade in the coupe test, giving a false score in real terms.
So now if a glove blunts the blade within 60 cycles it fails the old test and X appears where the 1-5 used to be.
The new TDM ISO cut test should then be done instead. Most if not all manufacturers are missing out the old test and just using the new TDM test.

The new test for cut resistance uses a different bit of kit to perform the tests and is called the TDM cut test (EN 388:2016/ISO 13997)
There is no comparison with this test to a base material. (a piece of canvas)

The glove material is placed on a curved plate, and then a flat blade is pushed across it for 20mm with a force in newtons increasing from 2 possibly to 30, when the highest level of force achieved without cutting the material is reached this force is applied a total of 5 times to give the cut level score. A through to F

The New TDM ISO cut test is a more accurate way of assessing gloves cut resistance.
If you have been buying a cut level 5 or cut level 3 glove and it was up to the task, there is no need to change, most old cut 5 gloves are being re-tested and scoring a C or D.
What the new test seems to have done, is prompt manufacturers to make safety gloves which are even more cut resistant than was previously available.
All of the Cut Level F gloves we sell are new products. As new certified stock comes through the system, you will find that the old CUT 5 will disappear and an X appears instead, you need to take note of the letter A to F at the end.
As the tests are different, if you have done risk assessments to determine what cut level you needed for a hazard, it could be best to re-assess the risks and use a new test glove based on the Newtons force applied to cut through the material. Long term the new test will benefit users in being able to choose the correct amount of cut resistance needed, the old test was really difficult to understand, index numbers, blunt blades etc