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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
No, Oberon does not offer a lift front option. Oberon believes that these types of hoods are extremely dangerous due to the increased likelihood of the user opening the hood within the arc flash boundary. Since Oberon invented the first ever arc flash suit hood in 1987, we have promoted the safest possible product solutions for worker safety. The bee-keeper traditional style hood provides more protection than a lift front style by fully protecting the workers face and head. It is critical to not expose any part of the body (especially the face) inside of the arc flash boundary. Oberon believes that the combination of our TCG clear lens technology with exceptional clarity and our Hood Ventilation System (HVS) as a total protective system prevent any need for the worker to compromise their safety by lifting the front of their hood.
A common misconception is that a person wearing an arc rated suit is “bullet proof” from the hazards associated with electricity. However there are 3 hazards associated with t electricity; Electric Shock, Arc Flash and Arc Blast. There is currently no known arc flash PPE that is also rated for protection from an Arc Blast. However, the significant issue with wearing arc-ratedPPE is that most wearers do not understand that their arc-rated PPE has zero protection from electric shock. These suits are not voltage rated. Extreme caution must be exercised within the Restricted Approach Boundary as inadvertent movement within that boundary will increase the likelihood of an electric shock. Arc rated PPE is loosely fitting by design so being keenly aware of this within the Restricted Approach Boundary can be the difference between life and death.
Selecting appropriate arc flash PPE knowing only the voltage is impossible. You must have knowledge of the electrical equipment being worked on including the fault clearing time and the available fault current as well as the voltage. If the equipment is in an abnormal operating condition, and with the appropriate knowledge of the electrical equipment, you may be able to utilize the NFPA 70E 130.7 tables to select appropriate arc rated PPE.
Selecting appropriate arc flash PPE knowing only the voltage is impossible. You must have the fault clearing time and the available fault current as well as the voltage. If the equipment is in normal operating condition, you may be able to utilize the NFPA 70E 130.7 tables to select appropriate arc rated PPE.
No, it is impossible to know what protection is necessary without first completing an arc flash risk assessment. While it is true that the majority of energized work does fall within Arc Flash PPE Category 2 or have thermal incident exposure values below 8 cal/cm2, you can’t assume anything. You must use either the Incident Energy Analysis Method or Arc Flash PPE Category Method as part of your arc flash risk assessment to determine what protection is necessary.
Voltage does not determine the arc flash hazard. Knowing the voltage is only one piece of determining Arc Flash PPE. The electrode orientation, available fault current (amps), the working distance between the worker and the equipment, the clearing time of the circuit protection device, the spacing between conductors or from a conductor to ground, the number of phases, whether the conductors are in an enclosure, and the equipment configuration must all be considered when determining the potential severity of an arc flash hazard. NFPA 70E provides two methods for the selection of arc flash PPE as part of an overarching requirement to complete an arc flash risk assessment. The two selection methods are;
- Incident energy analysis method. Often referred to as an “arc flash study”, requires engineering calculations to determine the potential thermal incident energy in the event of an arc flash. Arc flash PPE is then selected so the arc rating (protection) matches or exceeds the calculated incident energy. Both the thermal incident energy and protective arc ratings are calculated as calories per square centimeter (cal/cm2).
- Arc flash PPE category method. Otherwise known as the “table method”, involves a simplified approach using the tables from within the Standard to determine a category number from 1-4 and corresponding arc flash PPE minimum requirements. The table method requires validation of the parameters used in the creation of the categories, otherwise the user is forced into using the incident energy analysis method. Refer to Oberon’s catalog on page #5 for arc flash PPE category product information.
Either, but not both, arc flash PPE selection methods can be used on the same piece of equipment. The engineering calculations used in the incident energy analysis method cannot be used to specify an arc flash PPE category. Keep both methods separate and document your decision making processes within your company’s Electrical Safety Program.
The bottom line is that you can’t rely on voltage alone to figure out what arc flash PPE you need. NFPA 70E requires the employer to complete an arc flash risk assessment. If additional protective measures are required, arc flash PPE can be applied as a control to mitigate the risk of an arc flash. Refer to the latest edition of the NFPA 70E Standard to learn more about the requirements for an arc flash risk assessment.