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Electrical Safety Gloves - Know The Basics _______________________________________ By Cali Jade - Rubber insulating gloves form the first line of defense against contact with energized components or electrical lines. Hazards associated with working on, or close to, energized equipment include electrical shock, arc flash, and arc blast. All three types can and do occur in industrial facilities - where low-voltage equipment (under 600 volts AC) is typically in use - as well as in high-voltage electrical utility plants. Click Here It is not voltage, but rather current that travels through a human body when it becomes part of an electrical circuit, that causes damage to internal and external organs and, frequently, death. The effect on a person depends on the amount of current (measured in milliamps or amps) flowing through the body, the current's path through the body, and the length of time the body remains in the circuit. It can range from mild tingling sensations to heart paralysis and severe burns of tissue and organs, often resulting in death.

Rubber insulating gloves are one of the most important items of personal protection equipment (PPE) for electrical workers. OSHA requires use of these gloves in high- and low-voltage applications for those working on or near energized circuits. They are not only used by utility linemen and telecommunications technicians, but also by such other commercial and construction workers as maintenance technicians working in amusement parks, hospitals, water plants, manufacturing plants, office buildings, schools; electricians; maintenance and electrical supervisors; machine operators, maintenance millwrights and mechanics; HVAC technicians; elevator installers and repair personnel; and automotive technicians. Rubber electrical safety gloves are divided into two Types. Type I gloves, generally made from natural rubber, are not considered resistant to ozone, while Type II gloves, generally made from a synthetic rubber such as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), are considered ozone-resistant.

Cotton glove liners may be used to absorb perspiration and to improve wearer comfort. Wool and thermal liners also are available for cold outdoor applications.

Under most circumstances rubber insulating gloves are worn under leather protectors to provide mechanical protection against abrasion or cuts. Even a small puncture in an electrical insulating glove will allow electrical current to reach the hand. The exception would be if the dexterity required to perform the task requires that rubber insulating gloves be worn alone. Before purchasing a protector glove, make sure it complies with OSHA regulations. Also, it is important to ensure there is enough clearance between the top of the protector gloves' cuffs and the top end of the beads of the rubber insulating gloves. OSHA regulations outline specifications for the minimum clearance distances required. OSHA has specific requirements associated with the use of protectors and the end-user is responsible to make sure they are in compliance. But remember that a leather protector alone does not provide any electrical insulation protection.

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