Cut Resistant Glove Protection Levels

Injuries due to cuts are common to those working in industries and trades that come into contact with sharp objects, materials or tools. This can lead to injuries that require medical attention such as scrapes, cuts, and lacerations.

It is important to only use cut-resistant gloves that meet certain levels of protection for the dangers presented to your hands during tasks.

Hand Protection Classifications

Hand protection classifications are arranged into three main groups:

  1. Mechanical protection (cut, puncture, abrasion)
  2. Chemical protection
  3. Other (heat, flame, vibration protection, dexterity, impact protection –
    under development)

These are classifications cover gloves for hand protection when used for industrial and chemical applications.

Cut Resistant Glove Standards

Two testing and classification standards are primarily used to measure cut resistance: The American ANSI/ISEA 105 standard and the European EN388 or CE standard. The EN388 standard uses slightly different performance tests for cut, abrasion, tear, puncture, and impact.

ANSI / ISEA

Cut Resistant Gloves Food Grade

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) offer the ANSI/ISEA 105 standard. This standard provides manufacturers with a ranking system to classify their products for specified types of glove performance.

ANSI/ISEA 105 sets rankings for glove performance based on specific resistance tests for abrasion, puncture, and cuts. Cut resistance testing is performed using the ASTM F2992-15 test method and determines a 9-level scale. This scale range was expanded in 2016 from a previous 1-5 scale to allow for more accurate rankings of PPE protection.

Glove Types Covered In The ANSI/ISEA 105 Standard

This standard is applicable to the following hand protection types:

  • Gloves
  • Mittens
  • Partial gloves
  • Other garments or items that cover the hand or a portion of the hand

Any hand protection can be ranked using this standard that is intended to meet a specific hazard related to the tests included.

Updated ANSI Standard

The ANSI range has been expanded from A1-A5 in the ISEA 2011 standard to the new A1-A9 ANSI/ISEA 2016 standard. This new rating standard makes it easier to measure higher levels of cutting force.

This standard provides performance ranges related to mechanical protection, chemical protection, and other performance characteristics, such as heat, flame, and vibration protection.

ANSI Cut Resistant Gloves Labeling

Manufacturers are not required to label cut scores on their cut-resistant gloves. However, the ANSI/ISEA 105 cut-resistant gloves will be marked on the label or glove with the ANSI/ISEA 105 standard and the TDM-100 score along with which A1-A9 level they meet. If it has a zero protection level, it offers minimal to no protection.

ANSI Cut Test Method

The ANSI/ISEA 105 is based on a specific cutting test using the ASTM F2992-15 test method which uses the TDM (Tomodynamometer) cut test machine.

This machine determines cut resistance of protective clothing materials (including gloves) from sharp edges, such as knives, glass, sheet metal, and bladed tools. This runs a straight-edge blade over the material in a one-direction path for a distance of 20mm until it cuts through.

It cuts the material 5 times (with a new blade each time) under 3 different loads which is then used to equate a cut level for that material. This cut force is recorded in grams (200g – 6000g) and used to fill out the A1-A9 ratings.

ANSI / ISEA 105-2016 Protection Levels

Cut Resistance

The A1-A9 (The letter “A” stands for ANSI) cut resistance levels for gloves are as follows:

LevelCut Resistance
A1Very minor cuts
A2Minor cuts
A3Minor cuts
A4Moderate cut dangers
A5High cut dangers
A6High cut dangers
A7Very high cut dangers
A8Very high cut dangers
A9Highest cut danger

The cut levels as tested by the ASTM F2992-15 test method using the TDM 100 test machine are measured as a cutting force in Grams (metric weight of mass load): The letter “A” stands for ANSI:

LevelGrams
A1≥ 200
A2≥ 500
A3≥ 1000
A4≥ 1500
A5≥ 2200
A6≥ 3000
A7≥ 4000
A8≥ 5000
A9≥ 6000

Abrasion Resistance

The following abrasion levels are tested using the Taber Abrasion equipment following the ASTM D3389-10 and D3884-09 test methods. Weight is in Grams.

LevelGramsRevolutions
0500<100
1500>100
2500>500
3500>1000
41000>3000
51000>10000
61000>20000

Puncture Resistance

This tests the glove material for puncture resistance from a hypodermic needle under pressure. It follows the ASTM F2878 test method and uses a 25 gauge needle. Pressure is in newtons.

LevelNewtons
0<2
1>2
2>4
3>6
4>8
5>10

Chemical Protection

This tests the glove material against chemical exposure in accordance with the ASTM F 739 method. In this test, a piece of the glove material is exposed on the “exterior” side for a certain period of time to the chemical. The “interior” side is checked during timed intervals to see whether it has been permeated.

LevelMinutes
0<10
1>10
2>30
3>60
4>120
5>240
6>480

Flame Resistance

The flame resistance of cut-resistant gloves is tested in accordance with ASTM F1358-16 which is intended to check materials that are not solely made for flame resistance.

LevelFlame exposure times (seconds)After-Flame time(s)
03>2
13<2
212>2
312<2
4No ignition within 3 or 12-second exposure time periods

Heat Resistance

Heat resistance of cut resistant gloves are tested in accordance with ISO 17493:2016.

LevelTemperature (Celsius)
0<100
1100
2180
3260
4340

Conductive Heat Resistance

Conductive heat resistance of cut resistant gloves are tested in accordance with ASTM 1060-08.

LevelTemperature (Celsius)
0<80
180
2140
3200
4260
5320

Vibration Reduction

Vibration reduction of cut resistant gloves are classified as “pass/fail” only. This quality is tested in accordance with ANSI S2.73-2002 / ISO 10819:2013. If passed, the glove will be categorized as an “anti-vibration glove”.

Impact Resistance

No impact resistance standard has been created for North America but is currently being considered.

Occupational Health And Safety Administration (OSHA)

OSHA provides a guide for PPE, including cut resistant gloves made of leather, metal mesh, or other types of fabrics.

OSHA does not provide a specific review or approval for cut-resistant gloves that may resist exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Determining if the cut-resistant gloves meet the OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.1030 “Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens” happens at the job site as reviewed by the employer or observer of the tasks the gloves are used during.

OSHA provides standard 1910.138, which requires employers to select and provide employees with appropriate hand protection against severe cuts, exposure to harmful substances, burns, and extreme temperatures.

European Cut Resistance Standards (EN, CE)

EN 420 Glove Standard

EN420 is a European PPE glove standard is a basic requirement for all types of safety gloves to meet before they can earn any other EN standard. This standard is not commonly listed on gloves because it is so basic and common sense, but it is extemely important to have.

EN 388 European Cut Standard (CE)

The European EN388 standard uses a different piece of test equipment – the Coup Test machine than the ANSI cut-resistant gloves tests. It follows the ISO 13997 cut test method. The main difference is that the coup machine uses a rotating blade rather than a straight blade. The test allows the CE rating to be applied to cut-resistant gloves so they can be sold in the EU. Recently, the also includes the ISO 13997 cut test method using the TDM-100 because it has fewer limitations.

Unlike the ANSI / ISEA rating, it reports results in newtons instead of grams. It has levels A-F that correlate to the ANSI 1-6 rating. You can see this on the EN388 badge on the product in the 5th position spot.

This A-F scale is recorded in newtons of force against the material using a rotating blade.

LevelNewtons
A2
B5
C10
D15
E22
F30

Puncture

This standard uses the EN388 puncture probe for testing.

LevelNewtons
0<10
1>10
2>20
3>60
4>100
5>150

Dexterity

Dexterity is tested in accordance with EN 420.

LevelDiameter (mm)
111
29.5
38
46.5
55

EN Standards for Food Handling Gloves

Additional EN standards for food handling gloves exist and include the following:

ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 Is the Preferred Test Method

The ANSI/ISEA scale for cut resistant gloves is the preferred method for ranking them beacuse the EN388 does not differentiate the upper ranges of cut-resistant materials. These fall into the A7-A9 range on the ANSI levels. Because of this, it is recommended that users of cut resistant gloves check with the ANSI/ISEA standard markings before wearing gloves or any other type of PPE.

ASTM International

The ASTM International provides the following standards:

Food Handling Gloves

ASTM D7329 – 07(2018)

Cut Resistant Gloves

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 

As mentioned earlier, this standard covers resistance to cutting by sharp objects for protective clothing: 

ISO 13997

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