There are hazards within all industries, however the electrical industry can be particularly dangerous and requires specific skill sets, attention to detail and thorough training on machinery, stations, and equipment. Here, we will detail some of the specific PPE required within the electrical industry that saves thousands of lives each year.
Arc flash PPE
Arc flash hazards are increased due to the demand for electricity and electrical products, and when working with electrical equipment, it is important to be properly protected in the case of an arc flash emergency. Arc flashes can cause deep burns, electrical shocks, blindness and even death, unless the correct industry standard personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn.
Arc flash clothing is essential, with switching suits available from low level to high level protection. Arc clothing is made from flame resistant material such as a cotton and nylon blend which is comfortable and lightweight while providing good insulation.
For the most effective protection from arc flashes, under base layers should be worn to provide extra insulation, which is the last line of defence in an electrical safety plan but could be essential if an electrical explosion were to occur.
High visibility, two tone and single colour arc flash outerwear should also be worn, as high visibility clothing is ideal for outdoor or remote work with electrical exposure. Overalls, shirts, trousers, and jackets are also industry standard, with double layer protection made of advanced fabrics, which are ideal for welders who could be at risk of molten metal spatter.
Insulating boots and gloves
Insulating boots and gloves are also essential for ensuring electrical and high voltage safety, and can protect the wearer should an electrical shock from equipment or machinery occur. Electrical gloves and boots are designed for protection against a range of voltages, with class ratings given to gloves dependent on the voltage protection they can provide. Standard insulating gloves, composite insulating arc rated gloves, and leather gloves are just a selection of options available and each should be considered depending on the environment and electrical hazards around.
Safety boots have unique safeguards built in to stop electrical currents from entering the body through the feet. Steel toe cap boots with rubber soles are often a popular and practical choice for tradesmen and electrical workers alike.
Electrical safety hooks
Electrical safety hooks are an essential piece of electrical safety equipment and are used to retrieve victims of electric shock whilst protecting the rescuer from electric shock themselves. The safety hook prevents back feed of electricity from harming the rescuer as they are made from polyester or a glass fibre foam filled tube and are insulated up to 225kV. The hook’s ‘S’ shape is designed so the rescuer can grip the victim’s arm, leg or waist for a secure hold and quick retrieval.
When working within the electrical industry, workers should approach all projects with complete and correct PPE to ensure workers are fully prepared for the workplace.