Getting to the bottom of EN407 - Thermal protection

November 23, 2021

More occupations than you might think include exposure to flame and heat, making thermal protection of prime importance. EN407 is recognized as an international standard for how well gloves protect from heat and/or flame (aka ‘thermal risk’). The standard was developed in Europe, which explains the use of Celsius over Fahrenheit.

Heat and flame protection on the job may seem fairly basic, but the dangers are actually multi-faceted. This is why EN407 is made up of six unique glove tests, each graded on a scale of zero to four.

While the methods and performance levels depend on the field of application, one thing holds true: the higher the EN407 score the better.




Tests

Levels

1. Limited flame spread

0 - 4

2. Contact heat resistance

0 - 4

3. Convective heat resistance

0 - 4

4. Radiant heat resistance

0 - 4

5. Resistance to small splashes of molten metal

0 - 4

6. Resistance to large splashes of molten metal

0 - 4


Got all that? Now let’s take a closer look at the six glove performance tests. Note that a glove can be tested to all of these tests or just one.

1. Limited flame spread

This test is indicated by the above fire icon. Because the presence of flame is inherently dangerous, this test assesses a glove’s flammability and charring behavior after being exposed to a direct flame.

How the test works

In a controlled chamber, the glove is exposed to the flame for three seconds. The same test is performed for 10 seconds. After-flame and afterglow times are logged and the glove is inspected for any damage or exposed seams.


After-burn time (seconds)

After-glow time (seconds)

Rating

Under 15 seconds

Infinity

1

Under 10 seconds

Under 120 seconds

2

Under 3 seconds

Under 25 seconds

3

Under 2 seconds

Under 5 seconds

4


2. Contact heat resistance

This tests thermal resistance by measuring the rate of temperature rise, or, in other words, how long gloves keep heat and flame at bay.

Note: If a glove is not tested and certified to LFS, this test is indicated by the above icon with three wavy lines. This means the glove has protection against heat without flame.

How the test works

Samples are placed on four plates heated from 100°C to 500°C. Performance is determined by how long it takes the temperature on the side opposite the sample to rise 10°C. This is known as the threshold time. Gloves need to withstand the increasing temperature of maximum 10°C for at least 15 seconds for a pass at a given level.

Tests can be performed on any area of the glove that is intended to be exposed to contact heat (if explicitly stated on the packaging). If no area is designated, the rating is on the palm.


Temperature after 15 seconds (plate temperature)

Rating

100°C

1

250°C

2

350°C

3

500°C

4


3. Convective heat resistance

This test exposes gloves to a flame heat source, with the glove being spaced well away from flame, never making contact. Different surfaces of the glove are tested.

How the test works

In a controlled chamber, the back-of-hand and palm samples are exposed to a heat source. The goal is to determine how long it takes to raise the inner temperature of the glove 24°C.


Seconds

Rating

Over 4 seconds

1

Over 7 seconds

2

Over 10 seconds

3

Over 18 seconds

4


4. Radiant heat resistance

This tests the back of the glove to ensure materials can resist extreme heat radiating through the glove’s various materials.

How the test works

Glove samples are exposed to a radiant heat source. Like the Convective Heat Resistance test, the goal is to assess how long it takes the inners temperatures to rise 24°C.


Seconds

Rating

Over 7 seconds

1

Over 20 seconds

2

Over 50 seconds

3

Over 95 seconds

4


5. Resistance to small splashes of molten metal

This test is designed to assess hand protection when working with small amounts of molten metal. Welding is a good example.

How the test works

In a controlled chamber, two palm and two back-of-the-hand samples are exposed to small drops of molten metal, such as copper. Protective performance is based on the number of drops needed to raise the temperature by 40°C on the opposite side of the sample. The cuff is also tested if composed of different materials than palm/back-of-hand.


Number of drops

Rating

Over 10

1

Over 15

2

Over 25

3

Over 35

4


6. Resistance to large splashes of molten metal

For this test, PVC foil is used to simulate how skin would be affected inside the glove.

How the test works

Molten metal, such as iron, is poured over a glove sample that, in turn, is placed over PVC foil. After each of three tests, the foil is assessed for changes.


Grams of molten

Rating

30g

1

60g

2

120g

3

200g

4

HexArmor® can help

Not every job requires gloves with the highest level of thermal protection. Then again, when working with extreme heat, flames, or molten materials, it’s good to know how gloves stack up. It’s the reason the EN407 safety standard exists. Because, when the heat is on, not all gloves are created equal.

HexArmor® has several gloves to help you battle not only heat hazards but cut, puncture, abrasion, and more.

Let us know if you need help or if you're ready to start a trial - our Solution Specialists are ready to work with you. Call 1-877-MY ARMOR or send us a message.

Browse HexArmor's heat-resistant hand protection

Download EN407 guide

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