Many times, the only thing standing between you and a high-voltage accident are your gloves. Selecting the right electrical-insulating gloves can provide protection from electrical current when working on energized electrical equipment.
Below are five important electrical safety glove tips that can help prevent electric accidents:
According to OSHA code 21 of federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.37 © (2) (viii), all electrical protective equipment, including electrical gloves, must be subject to periodic tests. Test voltages are provided in Table I-4 and test intervals are given in Table I-5.
In accordance with Table I-5, rubber insulating gloves must be tested before first issue and every six months thereafter or upon indication that the insulation value is suspect, after repair, after use without protectors and when showing any signs of the defects upon inspection.
Also, if the insulating equipment has been electrically tested but not issued for service, the insulating equipment may not be placed into service unless it has been electrically tested within the previous 12 months.
These test intervals can sometimes be a little confusing to interpret.
Here’s an example:
You’re considering using your electrical gloves on June 19, 2023, and notice the date stamp is May 15, 2022. Would you need to get the gloves retested before use? Yes, because you haven’t put the gloves into service within the allowable 12-month window.
But, if the stamp read June 20, 2022, you could use them and wouldn’t need to retest them until the six months after you put them into service on June 19, 2022.
All glove manufactures incorporate some form of production code or date coding to indicate the testing date. For additional information on the in-service care, inspection, testing and use voltage of electrical gloves, refer to ASTM F496-20.
Gloves should be sent to an accredited laboratory for retesting. Hanover Testing Labs is an ASTM accredited laboratory and offers glove retesting and other safety services.
OSHA outlines electrical protective equipment in 29 CFR 1910.137. Electrical safety gloves are categorized by the level of voltage protection they provide and weather or not they are resistant to ozone. The Voltage breakdown is as follows.
Ozone resistance is broken down into either Type I or Type II:
i. Type I is not resistant to ozone.
ii. Type II is resistant to ozone.
Note: A leather protector should always be worn over the rubber insulating glove to provide protection from cuts, abrasions and punctures. However, there are exceptions highlighted in 29 CFR 1910.137(c)(2)(vii)(A)-(C). If the voltage does not exceed 250 volts AC, or 375 volts DC, Protector gloves need not to be used with class 00 or class 0 gloves, under limited use conditions, when small equipment and parts manipulation necessitates unusually high finger dexterity. It also states that any other class of gloves may be used without glove protectors, under limited use conditions, when small equipment and parts manipulation necessitates unusually high finger dexterity, but only if the employer demonstrates that the possibility of physical damage to the gloves is small and if the class of gloves is one class higher that that required for the voltage involved.
OSHA requires that protective equipment be maintained in safe, reliable condition. Gloves should be inspected for tears, holes ozone cuts and other defects before each use. For more information, refer to ASTM F 1236-19 standard guide for the visual inspection of electrical protective rubber products.
Also, Gloves should be inspected for any swelling, which is generally caused by chemical contamination (specifically by petroleum products). Even the slightest swelling can be a problem. If the gloves show any signs of the defects discussed above upon inspection, they should be taken out of service for cleaning and retesting (even if it hasn’t met the six month “in-service” rule or the 12-month shelf-life rule discussed in the date stamp section above) per 1910.137(c)(2)(vii) requirements.
OHAS’s 29 CFR 1910.137 (c)(2)(ii) requires an air test be performed along with inspections for insulated gloves. ASTM F 496-20, Type I gloves should be expanded no more than 1.5 times their normal size during the air test and Type II gloves no more than 1.25 times. The procedure should be repeated after turning the glove inside out.
The information contained is intended for general information purposes only. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or current. This is not a substitute for review of current government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards.