Key changes to standards for protective gloves – are you up to date?


The current suite of PPE Glove standards under EN ISO 374 Protective gloves against dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms have changed.

The new standards, ISO 374-1 and ISO 374-5 with requirements for chemical and micro-organisms risks were published in February 2017 and will be harmonised with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive in due course.


Standard ISO 374-1:2016 covers three areas for chemical gloves:

  • Penetration it’s a movement of a chemical through porous materials, seams, pinholes, or other imperfections in a protective glove material on a non-molecular level. (Testing in accordance with standard EN 374-2:2014)
  • Permeation it’s a process by which a chemical can pass through a protective material without going through pinholes, seams, pores or other visible openings. This is happening as a result of individual molecules of the chemical passing through between the molecules of the gloving material. (Testing in accordance with standard EN 16523-1:2015 which replaces standard EN 374-3)
  • Degradation is a change in one or more physical properties of a glove material due to contact with a chemical. Certain glove materials may become hard, stiff, or brittle, or they may grow softer, weaker, and even swell to several times their original size. If a chemical has a significant impact on the physical properties of a glove material, its permeation resistance is quickly impaired. Thus is why, solely permeation test wasn’t a good enough measure for chemical protective property of the glove, and degradation test was introduced with the new standard revision. (Testing in accordance with standard EN 374-4:2013).

    The new addition to chemical gloves requirements is the introduction of Degradation requirement.

    Degradation Resistance (DR) shall be reported in the User Instruction. The mean degradation percentage results (% of change in puncture test before and after the chemical exposure) shall be reported.


New Classification

According to the new standard, gloves are classed as: Type A, Type B or Type C depending on their performance level and number of chemicals they can protect against. The table below lists the performance level and number of chemicals required for each type:



Minimum Performance Level required

Minimum number of Chemicals from the 18 listed

Type A

2 (min 30 minutes breakthrough)


Type B

2 (min 30 minutes breakthrough)


Type C

1 (min 10 minutes breakthrough)



New Marking

In ISO 374-1:2016 there is a new marking requirement, see pictograms below:

Standard ISO 374-5:2016 covers the requirements for gloves protecting against biological hazards.

The updated ISO 374-5 standard has introduced claims against virus protection. If gloves provide protection against viruses, in addition to fungi and bacteria, further testing to ISO 16604 Clothing for protection against contact with blood and body fluids, is now required.

Marking/Pictograms used for gloves protecting against virus, bacteria and fungi / or bacteria or fungi:


For more details on the recent changes to protective gloves standards, you can download a copy of our new technical guide.

Author: Kinga Demetriou, Certification Manager - PPE Certification