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What are Electrical Gloves?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2016
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Electrical gloves are gloves which are designed to protect the hands when working with or near a charged circuit. In addition to electrical gloves, other protective apparel should be worn in such situations for maximum safety. Numerous safety supply companies sell electrical gloves and electrical glove kits, along with other safety apparel for people who work with electricity, like insulated overcoats and boot covers.

A standard pair of electrical gloves is made from rubber which has been tested to determine how much voltage it can endure. The higher the voltage limits, the higher the rating on the gloves. Electrical gloves may also be marked to indicate that they provide protection against ozone. Good gloves are durable, but also flexible, so that they do not interfere with the electrician's movements while he or she works.

Electrical gloves regularly need to be tested to confirm that they are still in good shape, and they can only be used for electrical applications. Other types of use can damage or compromise the gloves, making them unsafe. The gloves need to be stored away from heat, light, moisture, and chemicals to maintain their integrity. Nations with occupational health and safety laws often have specific laws about how electrical gloves should be used and handled, and people who work with electricity should be familiar with these laws.

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Most people like to wear glove liners with electrical gloves, because the gloves can be very uncomfortable when worn for long periods. Liners reduce chafing and other forms of skin irritation, keeping the hands in good condition during long projects. It is also necessary to wear protective gloves made from leather or a similar durable material over the gloves, to protect the hands and the electrical gloves from physical damage. Protective gloves can prevent a dangerous breach of the surface of the electrical gloves, as might occur when a protruding wire pokes through a glove.

All of the layers of protection needed with electrical safety gloves may sound cumbersome, but they are very necessary. It's important to purchase gloves which are a good fit so that the gloves will not impede the process of electrical work or endanger the wearer by being too tight, too loose, or too difficult to wear. Many companies have sizing charts which people can determine to figure out which glove size they should order, along with rating charts to show customers what the various rating numbers translate to in terms of voltage.

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stl156
Post 3

@Izzy78 - I was wondering the same thing as you. I've replaced the larger 240 volt outlets before. When I did that, I just wore leather work gloves. I assumed they provided enough protection, but now I'm thinking maybe the current could pass through them, and I just got lucky.

How thick are these gloves, usually? It seems like for someone working on the main power lines, the rubber gloves would need to be pretty thick.

jmc88
Post 2

How do the electrical gloves protect against ozone? I thought ozone was just a gas that formed after a spark or something. Is it actually harmful to your skin to come in contact with it?

Izzy78
Post 1

I have never heard of anything like electrical rubber gloves before. I'm not even sure that I've seen them in stores. Are they something that are regularly available in hardware stores, or are they mainly for electricians?

I don't think that the 120 volt outlets in most homes would require special equipment would they? I've been shocked by them, and it's uncomfortable, but not dangerous in my experience.

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