BS EN 420: 2003 + A1: 2009
Protective gloves. General requirements
and test methods.
This standard is designed to ensure that the gloves themselves do not cause harm to the wearer and are comfortable to wear. Tests and requirements include the pH and chrome VI content of leather plus water vapour transmission and absorption of materials. Also procedures to examine the sizing of the glove and its effect on finger dexterity are covered plus general requirements for the information to be supplied with and marked on the glove.
The length of the glove is measured by suspending it from the middle finger with a graduated rule having a rounded tip designed to fit the tip of the finger. The glove is manipulated to remove any wrinkles or folds and the minimum length is recorded. EN 420 includes a list of minimum lengths for each glove size, however, gloves for special purpose are permitted to be below the minimum length but in such situations the manufacturer must demonstrate that they are fit for special purpose by a statement in the user instructions.
Sizing / Dexterity
Gloves are fitted on a hand of the size that they are intended to fit and comments are made regarding comfort and fit. The wearer will then try to pick up pins of varying size to provide an indication of dexterity. Five pins are defined of diameter from 5 mm to 11mm, clearly the smaller the diameter that can be picked up the greater the dexterity result.
The determination of pH value of both leathers and textiles on a glove is required. This pH value shall be greater than 3.5 and less than 9.5. The test samples are taken from the palm of the glove, if other part of the glove contains different material, these materials shall be tested separately. A prepared test sample is extracted in water by mechanical shaking; the aqueous extract is then decanted and the pH value determined by a pH meter. An excessive amount of acid or alkali in a material has been linked to skin dermatitis and may indicate poor process control.
Each type of leather on a glove shall be tested separately and comply with the requirement of less than 3mg/kg of chromium VI. Two samples require testing from each leather type; these two samples shall be taken from different gloves. The soluble chromium VI is leached from the leather in a phosphate buffer. The chromium VI in the extract is then oxidized to produce a red/violet colour; this can then be quantified by a UV spectrophotometer. Chromium VI is a restricted substance as well as being a known allergen.