EN ISO 21420:2020 (formerly EN 420)
- General requirements and test methods

EN ISO 21420 is the new main standard replacing EN 420:2003+A1:2009.​​​​​​

The standard defines the following;

Glove construction and design criteria

The purpose of the design of protective gloves is to maximize the user's ability to perform work tasks without limitations, while achieving optimal protection for the specific job. The EN ISO 21420 standard does not specify minimum lengths for gloves, but certain application-specific standards, such as in welding, require a defined minimum glove length.

Sizes and measurements

To ensure correct fit, glove sizes are based on the following hand-measurement system:



Hand circumference (mm)Hand length (mm)

Protection from harm

Protective gloves must not pose a health or hygiene risk for the user. EN ISO 21420 lays down requirements for:
- Chromium VI content below 3.0 mg/kg for leather gloves.
- Nickel release below 0.5 µg/cm²/week for metallic parts in prolonged contact with the skin.
- pH values between 3.5 and 9.5.- Azo dyes below 30 mg/kg for dyes that release carcinogenic amines.
- DMFa (dimethylformamide) below 1000 mg/kg for PU materials.
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) below 1 mg/kg for rubber/plastic in direct contact with the skin.

Cleaning and maintenance

Before and after the maximum number of recommended cleaning cycles, gloves should be tested to verify that performance levels are maintained. Labelling must reflect the lowest performance level identified.

Electrostatic properties

For ATEX zones, the electrostatic properties of gloves must be tested according to EN 16350, using test method EN 1149-2. A new pictogram for EN ISO 21420 indicates compliance.


The gloves' grip level is rated based on the smallest diameter of a pole that can be handled by the user, with levels from 1 (11.0 mm) to 5 (5.0 mm).

Performance levelMinimum stick diameter (mm), gloved hand, period: 30 seconds

Labelling and information

Each glove must be labelled with the manufacturer's name, designation, size, relevant pictograms, production and expiry date. The appendix or user guide must contain detailed product and safety information, including CE labelling and warnings.

When it is not possible to label the glove itself directly, essential information must be included in the first package insert. This ensures that important information is available to the end user.

Package insert/user guide

The above must contain:

  • Manufacturer's Details: Name and address of the manufacturer or their official representative.
  • Product identification: A clear designation of the glove.
  • Size information: A list of available sizes, with references to the measurement system to ensure a correct fit.
  • Area of application: Detailed information on intended use with reference to relevant standards that the glove complies with.
  • Safety pictograms: Visual representations (pictograms) that indicate the standards the glove meets, including performance levels and hazard categories according to personal protective equipment (PPE) regulations (Category I, II, or III).
  • CE labelling: Confirmation that the glove meets the EU's requirements for the protection of health, safety and the environmental.
  • Maintenance: Recommendations for the care, storage and cleaning of the glove to maintain the level of protection.
  • Restrictions on use: Important instructions and any restrictions regarding the use of the glove.
  • Approval: Name and address of the technical inspection body that has approved the product, if necessary.
  • Warnings: Any specific warnings or precautions to be taken into account when using the glove.


The user guide must include all the above information from the package insert, supplemented by further details about the product. This may include specific instructions for use, details of warranties, as well as additional safety information not directly related to the label. The purpose of the user guide is to ensure that all end users have access to complete and detailed information about the safe and effective use of the protective gloves.

This is only an excerpt from the standard, subject to errors. For the complete and latest version of the standard, visit standard.no

Last update: March 2024