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EN 455 Explained

2 Comments7 December 2022  |  Admin

We understand that EN standards can be confusing, regardless of your level of expertise in the field. There are four separate parts to EN 455, making it tricky to breakdown if you don't know what you're looking at.

We've put this guide together to explain the ins and outs of the standard and to showcase our favourite EN 455 compliant gloves that are tried, tested and loved by our customers throughout the medical industry.


What Does Our Guide Cover?

Knowledge Centre

Expert Recommendations


What Is EN 455?

EN 455 is the European standard measuring the quality and strength of gloves used in the medical industry. Whether you're a doctor, nurse, surgeon, porter or cleaner, the disposable gloves you use must be certified under EN 455.

Gloves must pass four separate tests before they're considered safe to be used for medical practice. These are: 

  • Part 1: Requirements and testing of gloves for freedom from holes
  • Part 2: Requirements and tests for physical properties
  • Part 3: Requirements and tests for biological evaluation
  • Part 4: Requirements and testing for shelf life determination

Between them, each test ensures your gloves act as a barrier against micro-organisms, perform effectively without breaking and protect you against hazardous material in the workplace.


Part 1: Testing Gloves for Freedom of Holes

The last thing a doctor wants is their gloves tearing, snapping or ripping whilst they're treating a patient. This puts both the doctor and the patient at risk of infection. Part 1 of EN 455 involves a watertight test being conducted to assess how strong the gloves are when they're filled with one litre of water.

An AQL (acceptable quality level) rating of 1.5 is the limit for gaining accreditation under EN 455-1. The majority of gloves will gain 1.5, however some specialist gloves will reach 1.0 or even 0.65 (the lower the AQL number, the higher level of quality the gloves have).

Our Picks for Doctors, Surgeons and Examination

Our experts have selected the products below based on their strength and durability. Perfect for doctors conducting examinations, they're all highly resistant to rips, tears and splitting.

Aurelia Bold Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves 73995-5

Aurelia Bold Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves 73995-5

  • Nitrile constructed gloves for added protection and strength
  • A top pick for care orientated applications
  • Black design with micro-texture for secure grip
  • Price shown is per box of 100 gloves
In stock now  In stock now

Polyco Bodyguards GL890 Blue Nitrile Disposable Gloves for Virus Protection

Polyco Bodyguards GL890 Blue Nitrile Disposable Gloves for Virus Protection

  • High quality nitrile protects against a range of chemicals
  • Material is soft and flexible, ideal for inspection work
  • Gloves are resilient making them long-lasting and durable
  • Price shown is box containing 100 gloves
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Aurelia Ignite Disposable Nitrile Examination Gloves 97887-0

Aurelia Ignite Disposable Nitrile Examination Gloves 97887-0

  • Non-sterile ambidextrous gloves with beaded cuffs
  • Double-sided diamond texture for improved gripping and handling
  • Long-lasting durability for safety during examinations
  • Price is per box of 100 gloves (Medium/Large) or 90 gloves (Extra Large/XX-Large)
In stock now  In stock now

Aurelia Bold Max Black Nitrile Medical Grade Gloves

Aurelia Bold Max Black Nitrile Medical Grade Gloves

  • Powder-free disposable gloves with fantastic tensile strength
  • Certified for medical, food, chemical and industrial industries
  • Extra thick, ambidextrous, long-lasting and grippy gloves
  • Supplied in a pack of 50 disposable gloves
In stock now  In stock now
 


Part 2: Tests for Physical Properties

Part 2 of the EN 455 test involves testing the level of force required to break the glove fabric down. Whether they're nitrile, latex or vinyl, this is a vital step for guaranteeing freedom from infection, virus transmission, and the transfer of potentially harmful bacteria. 

The test places stress on the gloves to measure the point at which it will break. Below we've detailed the minimum amount of force each style of glove must withstand to gain accreditation under EN 455.

Type of Glove Force Needed to Break (Newtons)
Surgical Gloves 9.0 Newtons
Rubber Gloves (inc. Latex) 6.0 Newtons
Thermoplastic Gloves (Vinyl) 3.6 Newtons

Our Pick for Strong and Durable EN 455 Medical Gloves

We understand that strength in the face of rips and tears may be your number one concern as a dentist, doctor or nurse. We've consulted with the experts to put together a list of our strongest, most durable options below.

Supertouch 1261/1269/1267 Powder-Free Disposable Nitrile Gloves

Supertouch 1261/1269/1267 Powder-Free Disposable Nitrile Gloves

  • Latex-free and powder-free for reduced skin irritation
  • Micro-tested for extra safe use
  • Suitable for latex allergy sufferers
  • Price shown is per box of 100 gloves
In stock now  In stock now

Aurelia Robust 9.0 Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves 96895-9

Aurelia Robust 9.0 Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves 96895-9

  • Blue nitrile construction for added protection and support
  • Can resist forces up to 9 Newtons
  • Blue and purple coloured ambidextrous gloves
  • Price shown is per box containing 100 gloves
In stock now  In stock now


Part 3: Tests for Biological Evaluation

For a variety of reasons, disposable gloves are manufactured to contain a wide variety of chemicals and micro-plastics. EN 455-3 exists to ensure that your hands are protected against irritation and flareups.

Part 3 contains four different tests designed to guard against irritation and allergic reactions. It is important to remember that there is always a risk of dermatological reaction but EN 455 demands that the risk is as low as possible. The four tests are: 

  • Chemical Residues: A test is conducted to understand the levels of chemical residue left on the glove from manufacture.  
  • Latex: This test is carried out to discover latex protein levels in a glove. The higher the level, the higher the chance of irritable skin.
  • Powder: A powder level that exceeds 2mg per glove is the maximum powder content threshold for a powdered glove.
  • Endotoxin: For sterile gloves, the endotoxin level must be checked. This level must be below 20EU per pair of gloves (EU = Endotoxin Units). 

Our Picks for Sensitive Skin

If you have eczema, dermatitis or you regularly find your hands get red and blotchy after wearing disposable gloves, you're in the right place. Below are gloves specifically designed to reduce the chance of irritation, flareups and itching.

Unigloves Vitality Nitrile GD003 Examination Gloves

Unigloves Vitality Nitrile GD003 Examination Gloves

  • Special inner MicroFilm coating moisturises hands during use
  • High grade nitrile rubber is extremely durable
  • Grip is enhanced by textured surface
  • Price shown is per box of 100 gloves
In stock now  In stock now

Nitrex EGN08 Powder-Free Long Cuff Disposable Nitrile Examination Gloves

Nitrex EGN08 Powder-Free Long Cuff Disposable Nitrile Examination Gloves

  • Nitrile formulated for high levels of puncture and chemical resistance 
  • Micro-textured fingertips provide good grip for greater precision
  • Extended cuff provides greater coverage and easy donning
  • Price is per box of 100 ambidextrous gloves
In stock now  In stock now

Unigloves Stronghold+ GM007 Purple Nitrile Gloves with Extended Cuffs (100 Gloves)

Unigloves Stronghold+ GM007 Purple Nitrile Gloves with Extended Cuffs (100 Gloves)

  • Disposable purple nitrile gloves with extended cuffs
  • Powder-free and latex-free design for comfort
  • Conforms to EN 455 for reliable use
  • Price shown is per box of 100 gloves
In stock now  In stock now

TraffiGlove TD01 Carbon Neutral Biodegradable Nitrile Disposable Hygiene Gloves

TraffiGlove TD01 Carbon Neutral Biodegradable Nitrile Disposable Hygiene Gloves

  • Biodegradable gloves made with 100% premium nitrile
  • Designed to protect against chemical and biological hazards
  • EN 1186 food approved to prevent contamination 
  • Price is per box of 100 ambidextrous gloves
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Part 4: Determination of Shelf Life

Finally, a test is carried out to ensure the glove will not degrade while it is in transit, in a warehouse, or awaiting use. This is why Latex gloves come with a shelf life. 

Part 4 specifies that medical gloves can only be stored for up to 5 years, which is the maximum shelf life for a glove.

Our Best Nitrile Medical Gloves

If you're concerned about shelf-life, nitrile gloves are a great option. Traditionally, nitrile has a longer shelf-life than other synthetic fabrics, making it great for professions that frequently buy in bulk and store boxes of gloves for long periods.

Polyco Finite P Indigo AF Nitrile Disposable Gloves MFNP100

Polyco Finite P Indigo AF Nitrile Disposable Gloves MFNP100

  • Disposable gloves that protect against oils, acids and other chemicals
  • Provide comfort and a strong resilient performance
  • Extra protection to hands with a rolled cuff
  • Price shown is per box containing 100 gloves
In stock now  In stock now

Aurelia Bold Max Black Nitrile Medical Grade Gloves

Aurelia Bold Max Black Nitrile Medical Grade Gloves

  • Powder-free disposable gloves with fantastic tensile strength
  • Certified for medical, food, chemical and industrial industries
  • Extra thick, ambidextrous, long-lasting and grippy gloves
  • Supplied in a pack of 50 disposable gloves
In stock now  In stock now

Aurelia 78885-9 Blush Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves

Aurelia 78885-9 Blush Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves

  • Pink gloves with anti-aging and moisturising properties
  • Enhanced sensitivity and tactility
  • Combines protection and comfort in a nitrile glove
  • Supplied in box containing 200 gloves
In stock now  In stock now

Unigloves Black Pearl Disposable Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves GP0031-5

Unigloves Black Pearl Disposable Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves GP0031-5

  • Nitrile gloves designed for healthcare and food preparation
  • Disposable and powder free for reduced cross-contamination
  • Ideal for handling certain chemicals and foodstuffs
  • Price shown is per box of 100 gloves
In stock now  In stock now

Aurelia Sonic 100 Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves 93775-9

Aurelia Sonic 100 Medical Grade Nitrile Gloves 93775-9

  • Cobalt blue nitrile gloves for strength and protection
  • Ultra-thin design for increased sensitivity
  • Finger texture finish for enhanced tactility
  • Price shown is per box of 100 ambidextrous gloves
In stock now  In stock now


Other Standards Explained

We have guides available for a range of different EN standards. If you're interested in learning more, click any of the links below:


Other Useful Pages

If you're still unsure about what you're after, click any of the links below to see alternative options and other informative articles:


Shop Our Full Range of Medical-Grade Disposable Gloves

If you haven't found what you're looking for, don't fret; we have a tonne of alternative options for you. To view our entire, expansive range of EN 455 disposable gloves, simply click the image below.

Browse Our Full Range of Disposable Medical Gloves