Revised European legislation for oven gloves
Examining changes to the protective requirements of these products.
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The European Regulation (EU) 2016/425 covering personal protective equipment (PPE) came into force on 21st April 2018. This legislation replaced the previous European PPE legislation, (Directive 89/686), which excluded domestic oven gloves from its scope – meaning that certification was not required for these products. However, the new regulation does include gloves ‘explicitly described and marketed accordingly by their manufacturers for private use to protect against heat’ within its scope. The regulation clearly defines the obligations and responsibilities of manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers and distributors of PPE. This newly-added group of products includes oven gloves, pan holders, gloves for use with barbeques and any other piece of hand protection intended to be used in a domestic setting.
There is a one-year transition period ending on 21st April 2019, after which all types of ‘hand protective equipment for thermal domestic risks’ placed on the market will be required to undergo EU type-examination and comply to the new regulation. This article will primarily focus on oven gloves.
Under the regulation, oven gloves are classified as Category II (‘intermediate’) products and, as such, are subject to an EU type-examination to obtain a Module B Certificate by a Notified Body. EU type-examination is a check on the design and documentation of a ‘model’ (prototype or initial example) of an item of PPE to ensure that it satisfies the basic health and safety requirements (BHSR) of the regulation. This process is based on the claims to be made about the product in the user information and is achieved by:
1 Examining the design documentation (referred to as the ‘technical file’) to ensure that firstly, the product satisfies all the relevant BHSR of the PPE Regulation and secondly, that the product is adequately described through the use of diagrams and lists giving the source of all materials.
2 Examining the test results and the products to ensure that they meet the claimed performance levels and have been produced in accordance with the manufacturer’s technical file. The testing is usually in accordance with a harmonised European standard but, if necessary, the manufacturer can use an alternative agreed technical specification. The test reports are then added to the technical file. If EU type-examination is successful, a Module B certificate is issued by the Notified Body to prove conformity. For intermediate products, the certificate holder is responsible for ensuring that subsequent production remains the same as the model examined by the Notified Body. This falls under Module C.
SATRA tests oven gloves against European standards EN 420:2003+A1:2009 and prEN 407: October 2017.
EN 420:2003+A1:2009 – ‘Protective gloves. General requirements and test methods’ is designed to ensure that the gloves themselves do not cause harm to the wearer and are comfortable to wear.
BS EN 407 – ‘Protective gloves against thermal risks (heat and/or fire)’ is currently under review by a European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) technical committee, and publication of this document is expected in early 2019. SATRA currently carries out testing in accordance with prEN 407: October 2017, which is the latest version of the standard. The prEN 407 standard is primarily designed for occupational gloves which are claimed to exhibit a range of thermal protection properties, including resistance against i) conductive heat sources (figure 1), ii) convective heat sources, iii) radiant heat sources, iv) flammability, and v) resistance to molten metals. Most of these properties are not relevant to domestic oven gloves, with resistance to conductive heat sources being the only property that an oven glove must possess. A manufacturer may also wish to claim flame resistance, although the majority of traditional textile oven gloves will not incorporate specifically treated flame-resistant materials, and therefore it is unlikely that they will pass the requirements.
Testing procedures designed to assess thermal insulation properties of protective gloves at a range of temperatures are included in prEN 407: October 2017. Domestic ovens will typically reach 240ºC at their highest settings, and at this temperature burns to the skin will occur on contact with metal or ceramic surfaces such as cookware items and oven shelving. It is important that any item sold as an oven glove is constructed from material(s) able to withstand such high temperatures, and that the whole glove will provide the wearer with adequate hand and wrist protection.
Testing to this standard will allow oven gloves to be certified with the required CE mark, ensuring that all oven gloves on the market have standardised protective properties.
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