The PPE Directive 89/686 defines 3 categories of risk for the personal protective equipment (PPE).
1st category. Minimal risk: PPE of simple design for hygiene, comfort or to protect against risks, the effects of which are easily reversible or have no consequence to the health of the user. This PPE can be certified by the manufacturer himself. Generally we are talking of light protective gloves, at a low price, easy to use and which considerably increase working comfort.
These protective gloves protect e.g. against humidity, dirt, light abrasion, superficial grazing, burns.
2nd category. Medium risk: PPE of elaborate design to protect against risks which can result permanent adverse health effects. These protective gloves are tested according to the European standards by an accredited laboratory. The range of protective gloves in this category is extremely wide. These protective gloves often consist of multi-layer structure, of different materials, sometimes very sophisticated, to meet all work-related requirements.
These protective gloves protect against cuts, abrasion, burns, chemicals, infectious agents, radioactive contamination.
3rd category. Risk of death or serious injury: PPE of very complex design to protect against irreversible damages to health.
This PPE must not only have passed the test of the 2nd category, but has also to be subjected to a product quality assurance system.
These protective gloves are very specific, e.g. for firemen, founders, butchers, electricians or employees of the chemical industry. They protect against burns due to flames or splashes of molten metal, deep cuts, electrical high tension, burns and poisoning by chemicals.