10 May 2023

Understanding Cut Resistance and How it Applies to PPE

When working in high-risk environments where sharp objects are a concern, reliable cut-resistant PPE is essential. But with so many available options on the market, how do you know what protection suits your workplace?

Knowing the level of cut resistance that is right for your work environment will help ensure your safety and protection. In doing so, you must likewise understand the levels of cut resistance for PPE and how the standards determine the protection level.

There are two prominent standards used to determine PPE levels for cut resistance. The European (EU) standard, EN 388:2016, and the American standard, ANSI/ISEA 105-2016. Both have their testing methods to determine the level of protection.

For the European Standard, EN 388:2016, the material is tested using the coupe test (rotating blade) and ISO 13997 (Tomodynamometer or TDM). Lower cut-resistant materials use the coupe test with cut score results of 1-5. When the coupe test result is level 3, ISO 13997 is performed to achieve a more accurate result. The levels are in Newtons and the result range from level A to F (F as the highest). The more weight (in Newtons) required to cut through the material, the higher the result (level).

European Standard EN 388:2016

The ANSI standard uses the ASTM F2992-15 (TDM) test. The material is cut five times with three loads, calculating the average. The pressure is measured in grams of force, resulting in a cut score of A1 to A9 (A9 being the highest).

It is necessary to know that these standards are not equivalent, although both use the same machine and testing methodologies. The scores are reported in different units of measurement, one in Newton (force) and another in grams (mass). A cut-resistant material that has achieved a Cut Level D under EN388:2016 cannot claim to be an ANSI Cut Level A4. Each must still undergo the test to determine its actual EU and American levels.

The levels indicated by both standards will help determine the type of industry, hazards, and application a fabric or PPE garment is suitable for. For EN 388:2016, you can categorize it as low hazard exposure, moderate, and high or extreme.

Cut levels A to B – best for general-purpose material handling with low hazards to cuts and exposure to sharp edges.

Cut levels C to D – for the sector of logistics, warehousing, food preparation and packaging, and manufacturing with moderate cut hazards.

Cut levels E to F – for industries such as automotive, pulp paper, glass manufacturing, recycling, and metal fabrication where exposure to cuts, lacerations, and punctures is high and extreme.

As for the ANSI standard, PPE with cut resistance levels of A3 and below are typically used in applications where the cut risk is lower, such as assembly, warehouse work, and general handling. However, for applications where the risk of cuts and lacerations is higher and sometimes extreme, cut resistance levels A4 and above must be considered; used for industries such as handling glass sheets, metal sheet fabrication, glass manufacturing, and automotive assembly.

American Standard ASTM F2992-15

At Kozane® we understand the importance of not just having the right PPE but ensuring it corresponds with the right level of protection needed for a particular work environment. Our range of high-performance fabrics is the product of a multi-award-winning Norwegian company, Granberg AS, with over 61 years of experience in protecting workers worldwide. We continue our core tradition by committing to ensure that quality and safety is always our top priority. Our fabrics are engineered and tested to perform various applications suitable for multiple work environments.

Kozane Fabrics Quality

If you would like more information on how we can assist you in choosing the correct high-performance fabric for your PPE, please contact the Kozane® representative Eve Ichim, Tel: +44 (0)7599 546 566 Email: eve.ichim@granberg.no

Understanding cut resistance and how it applies to PPE