Cut resistant gloves – common myths debunked


There are a lot of theories and misconceptions surrounding cut resistant gloves and how they should be used, many of which you will have likely heard yourself. To help you determine fact from fiction, we’re going to highlight three of the most common myths we hear on a regular basis.

Cut resistant equals cut-proof gloves

Cut resistant does NOT mean cut-proof. No glove can be deemed ‘cut-proof’ and should never be thought of in these terms. For protective gloves to be wearable and usable they need to flex, move, be pulled on and off etc. To do this they need to be made from a textile which by its very nature will have malleable properties and therefore cannot be considered impenetrable. So, if you take a pair of scissors to perform your own ‘cut test’ no glove will stop them going through.

Cut resistant gloves are designed to reduce the likelihood of being cut where possible, but cuts can still occur in the workplace. In such cases wearing cut resistant gloves can drastically reduce the severity of the cut. Instead of losing a finger or severing an artery, it is only a surface wound that is sustained.

Gloves are tested under the European standard EN388:2016 Mechanical Protection. A required standard for protective gloves sold in the European Union.

Under EN388:2016 gloves are tested to the ISO 13997 test method for cut resistance. A sample is subjected to a blade moving across the fabric under variable loads of force until cut through takes place. The force is measured in Newtons which determines the level of cut resistance achieved ie cut level E > 22N. Learn more about the new EN388 standard and the associated test methods.

The higher the cut level the better

NOT TRUE! You may be forgiven for thinking if I have the highest level of cut protection possible that will be the best option for me, but in fact this is not the case. The level of cut resistance you need is entirely dependent on the type of work you’re carrying out. If you need to assemble small parts, nuts and screws and only occasionally use a cutting knife, you do not need the same level of cut protection as a worker handling sharp steel or glass all day long.

If workers find their gloves aren’t light enough or dexterous enough they may decide to not wear them at all, putting their hands at risk of injury.

Cut resistance reduces after washing

There is a common assumption that washing gloves will reduce the level of cut resistance a glove provides after washing. However, typically the opposite actually happens. When a glove is first constructed the material is in a stretched state. After 1-2 washes it undergoes what is known as relaxation-shrinkage i.e. the structure contracts and as a result becomes denser. This can result in an improvement in mechanical properties.

Where this may not apply is when the constituent materials are made from weak, brittle or fragile fibres which can break during the cleaning process. If these fibres are relied upon to provide cut resistance, it is possible that a reduction in cut performance may occur over the lifetime of the product.

The steel-based Rhino yarn technology has been designed to provide consistent levels of performance throughout the product lifecycle without compromising protection, comfort or fit.

You can view the range of cut resistant gloves and sleeves made using Rhino Yarn technology here using the glove finder filters to select the right hand protection solution for your needs.