Styles of overshoe footwear covered under ASTM F1117-03(2019) shall be designated as: Rubbers, designed to be worn over existing footwear and to cover only the foot of the worker; Boots, designed to be worn over existing footwear and to cover the foot and lower leg of the worker to below the knee; and Galoshes, designed to be worn over existing footwear and to cover the foot and lower leg of the worker to below the knee and having fasteners to close the folded front flaps.
Each article of overshoe footwear shall be given a proof test and shall withstand the 60-Hz ac proof-test voltage (rms value) or the dc proof-test voltage (average value).
There are two basic names for shoes that have some protection from electrical shock: Dielectric (DI) and Electrical Hazard (EH) rated. The differences between the standards are not usually understood, even by electrical specialists. Few guidelines exist on when and where to use the shoes in either standard.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269, which applies to the transmission, distribution, and generation of electricity, cites ASTM F1117 shoes in the standards document but gives no guidelines as to when they are needed.
Not many people are aware that Annex B2 of the standard for dielectric footwear - EN 50321-1:2018 (Electrically insulating footwear for working on low voltage installations), requires that all approved dielectric footwear is re-tested every year.
Every pair of dielectric boots is tested to the methods in the EN 50321 standard during manufacture. Part of this test method, the ‘Proof Voltage Test’ should be performed annually (or at the interval defined in local national standards if this is different), once the boots are in service, along with a thorough visual inspection of the boots.
A Proof Voltage Test requires that the boot be filled with water to within 4cm of the top of the boot and that it is submerged in a tank of tap water to the same level. A probe is placed inside the boot and the circuit is completed through an earthed electrode in the water tank. For a routine Class 0 test, a voltage of 5kV is applied for three minutes and the current passing through the probe must be less than 5mA for a molded boot. If boots are not retested then they are effectively no longer compliant to the standard.
Boots should be rinsed off after use, especially if they have been in contact with aggressive chemicals or any other type of contaminant. If the insulating footwear in not cleaned regularly after use, then damage may occur if chemicals are not removed from the boot.
The boots inner lining should be cleaned periodically with a mild detergent and the insoles can also be removed and are machine washable.
Dielectric footwear should be checked prior to use. It is important to visually inspect the boots for any defects such as cuts as a damaged boot may not give the specified level of protection, putting the user at risk. Damaged boots should be replaced.
When the soles are inspected if yellow can be seen anywhere except for the 6 mm circle in the center of the heel of the blue rubber sole then the Dielectric boot should be replaced.