Arc Flash Standards

Frequently Asked Questions

Arc Flash Standards

What are the OSHA requirements for a 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 F1236-16 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.

Why do rubber electrical gloves have a date stamp on them?

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.