5 Things You Should Know About Electrical Gloves, Plus Worker Tips
The following important electrical safety glove tips are designed to help prevent electric shocks to technicians working on electric vehicles. Click here for more information on Wurth USA's line of electrical gloves and accessories and to read more about them.
1. Date Stamps
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. 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 insulating 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. For additional information on in-service care of electrical gloves, refer to ASTM F496-20.
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 March 1, 2021, and notice the date stamp is February 27, 2020. 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 date stamp read March 2, 2020, you could use them and wouldn't need to retest them until six months after you put them into service on March 1, 2021.
2. Test Labs
Gloves should be sent to an accredited laboratory for retesting. Wurth USA is not offering glove retesting but if the customer asks for a recommendation, please suggest they use a testing laboratory accredited by North American Independent Laboratories (NAIL) for Protective Equipment Testing.
3. Glove Classification
OSHA outlines electrical protective equipment in 29 CFR 1910.137. Electrical safety gloves are categorized by the level of voltage protection they provide and whether or not they are resistant to ozone. The voltage breakdown is as follows:
Class of Equipment
Maximum Use Voltage (AC)
Proof Tested (VAC)
Proof Tested (VDC)
4. Glove Inspection
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 1236-19 standard guide for the visual inspection of electrical protective rubber products. 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 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 1910.137(c)(2)(vii) requirements.
5. Glove Air Test
29 CFR 1910.137(c)(2)(ii) requires an air test be performed along with inspections for insulating gloves. ASTM F 496-20 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 496-20, 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.
Tips For Workers Before And After Each Use:
• Visual inspection looking for cuts, holes, tears or any deterioration that may cause the glove to fail.
• Air inflation to find pin holes not visible (reduces arc flash potential).
• Ensure glove use within 1 year of the stamped manufacturing date and use is not beyond 6 months from in-service date.
• Ensure outer protector gloves are similarly inspected for physical damage and replace when necessary.
• Gloves should be stored away from excess sunlight or sources of ozone that can damage the glove.
• Do not store the gloves folded, creased, inside out, compressed, or any manner that causes stretching.
• If the glove is covered with foreign materials, petroleum based solvents, adhesives, etc., the glove should be cleaned to avoid harm to the rubber material.
• Wash gloves with mild soap and rinse thoroughly with water. Air dry the glove at less that 120° F away from direct sunlight and sources of ozone, then place in appropriate storage.