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European legislation for oven gloves

Examining the protective requirements of these products.

Image © www.iStockPhoto/SimonEdwards

European Regulation (EU) 2016/425 covering personal protective equipment (PPE) came into force on 21st April 2018 and, following the UK’s departure from the EU (BREXIT), this regulation was subsequently copied into the UK legislation.

The EU and UK regulations cover a wide range of PPE, including hand protection against thermal hazards that are intended to be used in a domestic setting. This means that any oven gloves, pan holders, and gloves for use with barbeques must be tested and have the CE mark affixed for sale in the EU or the UKCA mark affixed for sale in Great Britain.

Under the regulation, oven gloves are classified as category II PPE and, as such, are subject to a type-examination to obtain a Module B certificate from an official conformity assessment body (CAB). This will be a Notified Body if being certified for sale in the EU or an Approved Body if being certified for sale in Great Britain. SATRA is both a Notified Body in the EU and an Approved Body in Great Britain able to provide Module B certificates for both CE and UKCA marking. 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 ‘essential health and safety requirements’ (EHSR) 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 manufacturer’s technical documentation (often referred to as the ‘technical file’) to ensure that the product satisfies all the relevant EHSR of the PPE Regulation, and that the product is adequately described through the use of diagrams and lists giving the source of all materials.

2 Examining the test results to ensure that they meet the claimed performance levels and that the product has been made 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 report – or reports – are then added to the technical file. If type-examination is successful, a Module B certificate is issued by the CAB to prove conformity. For category II PPE, the certificate holder is responsible for ensuring that subsequent production remains the same as the model examined by the Notified or Approved Body. This falls under Module C of the EU and UK regulations.

Testing standards

SATRA tests oven gloves against European standards EN ISO 21420:2020 and EN 407:2020.

EN ISO 21420 – ‘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.

Figure 1: Testing for resistance to contact heat sources in line with EN 407

EN 407 – ‘Protective gloves and other hand protective equipments against thermal risks (heat and/or fire)’ is primarily designed for occupational gloves which are claimed to exhibit a range of thermal protection properties, including resistance against i) contact heat sources (see test in 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 contact 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. 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 or protective hand equipment will provide the wearer with adequate hand and wrist protection.

In summary

Testing to this standard will allow oven gloves to be certified with the required CE or UKCA mark, ensuring that all oven gloves on the market have standardised protective properties.

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