Cut Resistance Classification The EN 388 standard currently requires the Coup Test and recommends the ISO 13997 which uses the TDM test method for high cut-resistant materials. The proposed changes will require the use of both the Coup Test and the ISO 13887 for high cut materials. An additional rating will be added to the current 4-digit EN 388 score. EN 388 Cut Resistance Testing: In the Coup Test, a circular blade moves back and forth across a material sample under a fixed load of 500 grams (5N, a very low force, amounting to less than 1 lb). The number of blade revolutions needed to cut through the material is then compared to a control sample. The ratio of the sample to the control is converted to an index that is applied to a 5-point rating scale—1 (low) to 5 (high). The Coup Test is not recommended for rating high cut-resistant materials, which dull the blade quickly resulting in an inaccurate representation of the protection provided by such materials.
For high cut materials, the ISO 13997 test method is recommended. This test uses the TDM machine, which measures cut resistance using a straight blade and variable weight (like the ANSI/ISEA 105 cut test). The ISO 13997 reports results in Newtons and reports scores 4 and 5, which can replace the Coup Test score on the CE marking. North American Manufacturers and Distributors Are Not Required to Certify Their Cut Resistance As the CE is the only certification-requiring body, vendors of safety gloves in North America are able to sell gloves without ever testing them for cut resistance. If they elect to test them for cut resistance, they are able to use any method they choose. Furthermore, the CE certification does not require the ISO 13997 for highly cut-resistant materials, but only recommends it. As such, a manufacturer of PPE in North America could feasibly run the EN 388 Coup test on a cut-resistant material and, due to the nature of the test, return dramatically inaccurate results that portray the material to be far more resistant to cuts than it actually is. It is extremely important to gather information both about the material used in PPE, as well as the methods by which it is tested, before continuing with a purchase decision. The Employer Is Ultimately Responsible for Providing PPE That Meets Employees’ Needs Per OSHA regulations, the final burden of responsibility concerning cut resistance falls on the employer. Though testing regulations and certifications are a viable starting point for a purchase decision process, they are never to be taken as a validation of the inherent protection offered to an employee. Cut-Resistant PPE Manufacturers and Suppliers Can Provide Further Understanding of Cut Testing Ask them questions, and seek thorough explanations for the methods that they have selected to test their products. More information on each of these tests listed can be found on these websites: • www.astm.org
• www.iso.org • www.cen.eu
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