We love being electricians. We hope you do too. We also hope that these articles we keep writing are helpful to someone out there. Surely they are! Anyway, this article has to be useful because it is about everyone’s favourite topic yet again…. Safety!
This time the type of safety is going to be about the gloves you use. Being an electrician is dangerous. Whether you are an emergency electrician in London like us, a contractor, self-employed, working for a company, you must take great care. Electricity is an extremely strong and powerful source of energy. This makes the gear you wear day in and day out really important. If you are wearing the wrong things that conduct electricity, you could be in for a shock.
Gloves come in as the most important piece of protective gear you can use. Gloves will be responsible in stopping more shocks than anything else you need. Obviously this is simply due to working on electrical systems with your hands, so this part of the body needs to be blocking any electrical currents from hitting your body. You need to get gloves that withstand more voltage than that which you are working with. It sounds like common sense but it can be easy to skip over a minor yet very important detail so always keep it in mind.
A glove consists of three main parts.
First is the rubber, second is the liner and third is the leather.
The rubber is what works as the insulator in ensuring that the gloves do not conduct electricity and cause you harm.
The lining helps to make the glove more comfortable by keeping your hands warm and absorbing any sweat accrued on your hands.
Then finally you have the thick leather layer which acts as protection. When you are dealing with metal, wiring etc. you are prone to getting cuts and abrasions. The leather is thick and sturdy so it will protect your hands from getting damaged.
These safety gloves are split into two main categories AKA Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1’s are not resistant to ozone yet Type 2 are. Rubber can be easily damaged by ozone which causes exposure through the rubber leaving your skin vulnerable. If ozone is likely to be around where you are working, it is critical to use Type 2 gloves to protect the rubber and therefore yourself when working.
You have different types of classes for different types of gloves and their specifications. The voltage difference is the key here. Each number represents a different type of glove.
00: do not exceed 500 volts AC.
0: do not exceed 1000 volts AC.
1: do not exceed 7500 volts AC.
2: do not exceed 17000 volts AC.
3 do not exceed 26500 volts AC.
4 do not exceed 36000 volts AC.
When you go to buy a pair of gloves there should be more details on their resistance to ozone, tensile durability as well as rip and puncture resistance. There are a selection of electrician gloves on Amazon that you can flick through here. Remember to look at the stats above, consult other sources and never touch any electrics unless confident of wearing the correct equipment.
Using and maintaining your safety gloves
Make sure that you check your gloves every single time before using them. This is critical. Also, while working, if you see any damage occur to your gloves or even suspect something has gone wrong – quickly check them. If the integrity of your rubber is ruined then you can easily harm yourself.
The best way to ensure your gloves are absolutely safe is by filling them with air. You can then seal the hole where you insert your hands and see if any air escapes. The air escaping will inform you that your suspicions you were correct and the integrity of the rubber has been compromised, leaving you susceptible to damage.
Overall, you just need to be careful. Remember that everything is going to happen with your hands and gloves during electric work. They are what come into contact with electricity most days so ensuring your safety equipment surrounding your hands is top notch is essential. This is true of every industry but electricians have to think about it in particular.
Electricity is no joke.
It is extremely powerful and can easily kill if managed incorrectly. Treat it with respect and treat you and your equipment with even more respect so that you never injure yourself through an avoidable accident.
Also published on Medium.