Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards must be provided with, and use, electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body protected and for the work performed. Personal Protective Equipment refers to items typically worn by a worker to provide protection from recognized hazards. PPE for the electric power industry generally includes:
To prevent injury from exposure to electrical conductors, it's important that all electrical protective equipment be maintained in a safe and reliable condition. All electrical protective equipment made of rubber should meet the established safety standards and specifications discussed in the next few sections.
Protector gloves must be worn over insulating gloves. An exception is when using Class 0 gloves, under limited-use conditions, where small equipment and parts manipulation necessitate unusually high finger dexterity. But, it's important to note that extra care must be taken while visually examining the glove. Also, make sure to avoid handling sharp objects.
Any other class of glove may be used for similar work without protector gloves if the employer can demonstrate that the possibility of physical damage to the gloves is small and if the class of glove is one class higher than that required for the voltage involved. Insulating gloves that have been used without protector gloves may not be used at a higher voltage until they have been tested.
Electric power workers working on high voltage circuits (600 V and above) often use Insulating Protective Equipment (IPE). Since IPE is not worn, it is technically not considered to be electrical PPE.
To prevent injury from exposure to electrical conductors, it's important that all IPE be maintained in a safe and reliable condition. IPE includes the following:
To make sure electrical protective equipment actually performs as designed, it must be inspected for damage at the following times:
Insulating gloves must be given an air test, along with the inspection.
Insulating equipment must not be used if any of the following defects are detected:
Insulating equipment found to have other defects that might affect its insulating properties must be removed from service and returned for testing. It must be cleaned as needed to remove foreign substances. It must be stored in such a location and in such a manner to protect it from:
Rubber insulating equipment is tested for maximum intervals between electrical testing according the schedule below:
Footnote (1): If the insulating equipment has been electrically tested but not issued for service, it may not be placed into service unless it has been electrically tested within the previous 12 months.
The test method used must reliably indicate whether the insulating equipment can withstand the voltages involved. Repaired insulating equipment must be retested before it may be used by employees.
The employer must certify that equipment has been tested in accordance with the requirements of the standard, and the certification must identify the equipment that passed the test and the date it was tested.
Marking equipment and entering the results of the tests and the testing dates onto logs are two acceptable ways to meet this requirement.
Tools and handling equipment. When working near exposed energized conductors or circuit parts, use insulated tools or handling equipment if the tools or handling equipment might make contact with such conductors or parts. If the insulating capability of insulated tools or handling equipment is subject to damage, protect the insulating material.
Fuse handling equipment. Use fuse handling equipment, insulated for the circuit voltage, to remove or install fuses when the fuse terminals are energized.
Ropes and landlines. Make sure ropes and landlines used near exposed energized parts are nonconductive.
Shields, barriers, and materials. Use protective shields, protective barriers, or insulating materials to protect employees from shock, burns, or other electrically related injuries while they are working near exposed energized parts which might be contacted or where dangerous electric heating or arcing might occur. When normally enclosed live parts are exposed for maintenance or repair, guard them to protect unqualified persons from contact with the live parts.
Alerting techniques. The following alerting techniques shall be used to warn and protect employees from hazards which could cause injury due to electric shock, burns, or failure of electric equipment parts: