Hand Protection

Frequently Asked Questions

Hand Protection

How long does the user have to put new gloves into service?

The user has 12 months from the test date to put new gloves into service. It is important to note that the user must document when the gloves are put into service to comply with OSHA 1910.137 guidelines.

Category: Hand Protection

How are Oberon electrical gloves tested?

The manufacturer of Oberon gloves electrically tests every glove prior to shipment. Each “batch” of gloves is also subjected to a battery of physical and electrical tests to insure that the gloves meet the D120 Standards. It is the responsibility of the employer to insure that the gloves have passed the required electrical test within the specified time.

Category: Hand Protection

What size leather protector should I use?

Leather protectors should always be worn with rubber insulating gloves. ASTM F696 provides the specification for the manufacture of Leather Protectors. Leather protectors are sized to be worn on the same size rubber insulating glove so if you wear a size 10 rubber insulating glove you should order a size 10 leather protector.

Category: Hand Protection

How do I determine what size glove is right for me?

ASTM D120 section 8.2 provides the measurements of the diameter of the palm for manufacturers, measured at the midpoint of the palm, plus or minus 1⁄2”. Measure your hand by wrapping the tape all the way around your palm at the point shown to the right. This would equate to the probable size of glove to select. Personal preference for tightness and finger length will ultimately determine the size that you are most comfortable wearing.  Please see the attached glove sizing guide below.

Category: Hand Protection

What protection do Rubber Insulating Gloves provide?

Rubber Insulating Gloves are designed and constructed to act as a barrier between the user and the energy/voltage,to insulate the user from electric shock. The ASTM D120 standard outlines the protection that the glove provides. The rubber gloves are thicker as their protection increases. The rubber gloves will provide protection against either Alternating Current (AC) as well as Direct Current (DC), up to the levels detailed in the standard as well as typically onthe labeling, which is required to be affixed to each glove. It is important NOT to exceed the USE voltage detailed to avoid injury.

Category: Hand Protection

How do I perform a rubber electrical 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 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, 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.

Category: Hand Protection

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.

Can you recommend any rubber electrical glove test labs?

Gloves should be sent to an accredited laboratory for retesting. To find a laboratory in your area, you can visit the North American Independent Laboratories for Protective Equipment Testing (NAIL for PET) site: http://www.nail4pet.org.

Category: Hand Protection

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 glove has been electrically tested but not issued for service, the insulating glove 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 F496-20. 

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 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.


What are the limitations of an arc flash rated suit?

A common misperception is that a person wearing an arc rated suit is “bullet proof” from the hazards associated with electricity. There are 3 main potential hazards when working with electricity: Electric Shock, Arc Flash and Arc Blast. An arc flash suit can protect you from an arc flash provided that the incident energy level that the suit is exposed to is equal to or less than what the suit is rated for.  All arc tested suits will come labeled with an estimated APTV level measured in calories/cm2.  Oberon recommends having a risk assessment done before working on any electrical equipment to help identify the possible risks associated with the work task to be performed.  Once this analysis is done the appropriate APTV level needed can be determined and the proper PPE selected.

This leaves two other potential electrical hazards that could potentially harm you.  The arc blast is high pressure sound wave that is caused by a sudden arc fault.  It can cause molten metal droplets to be propelled at high speeds as well as sudden expansion of air pressure that can blast out.  An arc flash suit offers some protection from these types hazards, but only in a limited capacity.  For instance, if a blast pressure wave were to be strong enough to propel a worker across a room an arc flash suit would not be able to protect the worker from the force of the wave.

The last type of electrical hazard that a worker can be exposed to is electrical shock.  Shocks are caused when contact is made by a worker with an electrical energy source.  Arc flash suits are not tested or designed to protect workers from this type of hazard.  Typically workers will wear rubber electrical gloves with leather protectors when there is a risk of electrical shock while performing their work task.

What pen I can use to write on rubber gloves?

Some customers have contacted us asking how to properly mark their electrical rubber gloves with either first use date or employee name. When writing on an electrical rubber glove, it is important to use an ink that will not compromise the protective properties of the glove.

The manufacturer recommends the use of either a Sharpie® marker for colored gloves or a Penter® white marker for black gloves.

Do not use paint or other substance that could damage the rubber material. Additionally, avoid sharp objects such as pencils that could damage/puncture the glove, affecting its insulating capabilities.

NOTE: Even when using a safe ink, it is recommended that you limit the writing to a small area on the rubber glove, preferably an area close to the rolled edge of the cuff.

Category: Hand Protection

Can I use Febreze on my PPE?

The stock answer is “the garments should be free of flammable contaminants”…whether that be oily/flammable dirt or additives from the cleaning process such as fabric softeners. The MSDS for Febreze states that Febreze does contain Ethanol which is flammable (also documented in the MSDS). If you require a blanket statement that it is OK to use Febreze regardless of how or how much is used, then the answer is NO because the MSDS states clearly that there is a flammable component in the solution.


How are Arc Flash thermographer’s gloves used?

Arc Flash Thermographer’s gloves are manufactured of an arc-rated fabric that has been tested according to ASTM F1959 to provide protection against the thermal incident energy of an Arc Flash. Like the Arc Flash garments that are used in this application, the fabric is arc-rated and flame resistant and provides some level of insulating protection against the thermal incident energy. Again, like the Arc Flash suits, they are assigned an arc rating to reflect the level of protection offered (either ATPV or EBT).

Arc Flash Gloves are NOT manufactured of rubber. As such, they do not provide shock protection against voltage. They should not be used within the Restricted Approach Boundary as defined by NFPA 70E where there is the risk of contact with voltage due to proximity to the energized circuit. Within this space, only rubber electrically insulating gloves should be used to protect the worker from accidental electric shock. The NFPA 70E Standard requires that a shock risk assessment be performed and documented.

Further, Arc Flash Thermographer’s Gloves are not to be used as an alternative to leather protectors for rubber insulating gloves. Leather protectors are worn over rubber insulating gloves to protect the rubber gloves from physical damage. Even the smallest puncture can provide an avenue for the voltage to penetrate the glove and contact the worker. Thermographer’s Gloves are manufactured of a woven fabric, which will provide limited protection from mechanical hazards. Leather is a dense material that resists and decreases the likelihood of puncture.

Arc Flash Thermographer’s Gloves are promoted to workers working within the Arc Flash Protection Boundary.

Arc Flash Gloves available by Oberon include 25, 40, 65 and 100 calorie versions.

Category: Hand Protection

What is the arc flash protection offered by leather gloves and should they be arc-rated?

If rubber insulating gloves with leather protectors are required as per your shock risk assessment, additional leather or arc-rated gloves are not required. Leather protectors can be arc-rated, but it’s not required. The most important consideration when selecting hand protection is to first identify and understand your hazards.

If a shock hazard exists the worker shall wear shock protection. If no shock hazard exists, the NFPA 70E Standard identifies that heavy duty leather gloves or arc-rated gloves are required when an arc flash hazard is likely to exist. Heavy-duty leather gloves are described as being made entirely of leather with a minimum thickness of 0.03 in. (0.7 mm) and are unlined or lined with non-flammable, nonmelting fabrics. Heavy-duty gloves that meet this requirement have been shown to have arc ratings in excess of 10 cal/cm2ATPV.

Gloves not used for shock protection (i.e. not rubber insulating) can be arc-rated, including leather protectors. Refer to the ASTM F2675 Standard Test Method for Determining Arc Ratings of Hand Protective Products Developed and Used for Electrical Arc Flash Protection for more information.

Category: Hand Protection