We recently received a question about the necessity of leather gloves with rubber insulating Arc Rated (AR) gloves. The issue of using protector gloves in relation to risk/hazard level brought the question of practicality and upcoming standard changes to light.
Our company provides our service technicians PPE and training. There is some confusion; however, about the use of leather gloves with rubber insulating AR gloves. According to NFPA 70E Table 130.7(a) our highest Hazard/Risk Category is 2. It is not really practical for our techs to have leather gloves over the rubber. Do you think we really need these?
When you have a shock and an arc flash hazard (especially in 208-480V equipment), I would always recommend "protector gloves." The only standard for protector gloves is for leather gloves meeting ASTM F696. The ASTM F18 committee and IEC TC78 Committee are working on a protector glove standard.
According to OSHA and ASTM F496, if you use rubber insulating gloves without protectors, they must be tested after use. This is quite onerous but even a small nick in a rubber glove can fail and allow fatal shock. We recommend ONLY removing protectors for two reasons:
To date for LV gloves, only Salisbury has arc tested and released the data to us to share (two of the three have tested and offer data). They have had several gloves tested. I recommend using Class 0 black or blue gloves. These gloves are the hardest to ignite but they will ignite at near 40 cal/cm2. Remember, arc flash calculations on a label are at 18 inches distance or MORE. The arc energy increases at a square of the distance (basically) so you really should wear protector gloves in any arc flash potential.
We hope to see a non-leather protector standard in a few years and some companies have gloves which are market ready, but no one has sold them as "arc rated protector gloves." They just call them arc flash gloves.
For more information on PPE standards and the importance of glove use in electrical hazardous environments see these articles.
What about my hands? Multi-threat gloves meet arc flash protection
Author(s): Hugh Hoagland, Bill Shinn
Publication: ISHN Magazine, April 2, 2012
Making Sense of Electrical PPE
Author(s): Lee Marchessault, Hugh Hoagland
Publication: Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, October 2011