What to Look for in Electricians' Safety Gloves
While tools of the trade are essential, arguably the most important part of an electrician's arsenal is their safety wear. Electricians are exposed to a wide range of hazards on a daily basis. These hazards can cause injuries from electrical burns and electric shocks to falls, cuts and other injuries. The right protective clothing is essential when it comes to staying safe from these health and safety issues. In particular, one item of safety wear you'll need is gloves. Of course, there are hundreds—if not thousands—of safety gloves on the market, so choosing the right ones for your electrical work can be difficult. If you're struggling to make a decision, check out this simple buyer's guide on what to look for.
Sufficient Voltage Resistance
Safety gloves for electricians come in a range of maximum voltage levels. These levels are usually grouped into classes, starting at Class 00 (which protects you from voltages of up to 500 volts) and ranging all the way up to Class 4 (which protects against 36,000 volts). If you do a lot of low-voltage work (for example, if you're a VDV electrician), Class 0 (up to 1,000 volts) may be sufficient. Residential and commercial electricians tend to need a middle class, while industrial electricians often need Class 4 to stay safe. Make sure you check the maximum use voltage on the gloves you're considering to ensure they'll keep you protected in your line of work.
Alongside electrical shocks and burns, cuts and punctures are other high risks for electricians. Electrical work often involves exposure to a variety of sharp objects which can easily cut through skin, including screws and nails, broken plastic and metal, spikes, tools like screwdrivers and more. Cuts and punctures aren't just painful; they can also be serious enough to cause infection or keep you out of work for a long time. To protect your hands against these injuries, you'll need to choose gloves that are thick enough to provide a durable barrier between your skin and any sharp objects. This is particularly important if you're buying a lower class of glove, as these tend to be naturally thinner than higher classes.
You can only trust your electricians' gloves to keep you safe when they're at their best quality. If they become worn down over time, they can crack and split, allowing both electricity and sharp objects to penetrate them. So, remember to choose globes made from highly durable rubber. Look for resistance to cold temperatures, acids and oils, as these are some of the biggest causes of glove breakdown. If you work in an environment with high levels of ozone, you'll also want to make sure you opt for Type II ozone-resistant gloves. These gloves are far less susceptible to the cracking ozone causes.