Frequently Asked Questions

When you are involved in an arc flash two things occur simultaneously and help prevent damage to your eyes.  1) You blink.  This happens very quickly.  A good example of this at work would be when you accidentally look at the sun.  Your first reaction is to immediately close your eyes. The blinding flash of an arc lasts as long as the arc flash is present. This would be about one third of a second for a 12 calorie arc flash and up to 2 seconds for a 100 calories/cm2 arc flash.  The human eye response is about 1/10th of a second to blink.  Therefore in about 1/10th of a second in all arc flashes the eye blinks to reduce the visible light reaching the eye.  While we do not want to overexpose the eye to this visible light there is a natural response and self-limiting mechanism.  2) A second protective mechanism occurs in our TCG™ Shields when they are hit with an arc.  There are additives in the shields that will carbonize in about 1/10th of a second.  This carbonization will reduce all of the electromagnetic spectrum and most of the arc flash visible light. Essentially the front surface looks a lot like asphalt moss once it is hit with an arc flash.  Please see the attached picture for reference. The combination of these two things prevents any significant damage to the eyes from occurring.


The user has 12 months from the test date to put new gloves into service. It is important to note that the user must document when the gloves are put into service to comply with OSHA 1910.137 guidelines.

The manufacturer of Oberon gloves electrically tests every glove prior to shipment. Each “batch” of gloves is also subjected to a battery of physical and electrical tests to insure that the gloves meet the D120 Standards. It is the responsibility of the employer to insure that the gloves have passed the required electrical test within the specified time.

Leather protectors should always be worn with rubber insulating gloves. ASTM F696 provides the specification for the manufacture of Leather Protectors. Leather protectors are sized to be worn on the same size rubber insulating glove so if you wear a size 10 rubber insulating glove you should order a size 10 leather protector.

ASTM D120 section 8.2 provides the measurements of the diameter of
the palm for manufacturers, measured at the midpoint of the palm, plus or minus 1⁄2”. Measure your hand by wrapping the tape all the way around your palm at the point shown to the right. This would equate to the probable size of glove to select. Personal preference for tightness and finger length will ultimately determine the size that you are most comfortable wearing.  Please see the attached glove sizing guide below.

Rubber Insulating Gloves are designed and constructed to act as a barrier between the user and the energy/voltage,to insulate the user from electric shock. The ASTM D120 standard outlines the protection that the glove provides. The rubber gloves are thicker as their protection increases. The rubber gloves will provide protection against either Alternating Current (AC) as well as Direct Current (DC), up to the levels detailed in the standard as well as typically onthe labeling, which is required to be affixed to each glove. It is important NOT to exceed the USE voltage detailed to avoid injury.

29 CFR 1910.137(c)(2)(ii) requires an air test be performed along with inspections for insulating gloves. ASTM F 496 also specifies air tests for the in-service care of insulating gloves and sleeves. Basically, the glove is filled with air (either manually or with a power inflator) and then checked for leakage.  As stated in ASTM F 496, 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.

OSHA requires that “protective equipment be maintained in a safe, reliable condition.” Gloves should be inspected for tears, holes, ozone cuts and other defects before each use. For more information, refer to the ASTM F 1236-16 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 petroleum products). Even the slightest swelling can be an issue.  If the electrical 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 of this article) per ASTM D120-14a requirements.

Gloves should be sent to an accredited laboratory for retesting. To find a laboratory in your area, you can visit the North American Independent Laboratories for Protective Equipment Testing (NAIL for PET) site: http://www.nail4pet.org.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.137(c)(2)(viii), all electrical gloves must be tested periodically and prior to being placed into service. All glove manufacturers incorporate some form of production code or date coding to indicate the date of initial testing. Rubber insulating gloves must be tested before first issue and every six months thereafter or upon indication that the insulating value is suspect; after repair; and after use without protectors. 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. For additional information on in-service care of electrical gloves reference ASTM F496-14a. 

These testing requirements can sometimes be a little confusing to interpret. Here’s an example: You’re considering using your electrical gloves for the first time on January 1, 2017, and notice the date stamp is November 1, 2016. Would you need to get the gloves retested before use? No, because you will be putting the gloves into service within the allowable 12 month window.