Arc-rated gloves and the new ASTM test method
by H Hoagland and Z Jooma, e-Hazard
Published in: Transformers and Substations Handbook: 2014
Chapter 4: Maintenance - page 74
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Traditionally, legislation and standards stipulated the use of leather gloves with a minimum thickness or gloves manufactured from arc rated fabric for electrical arc flash hand protection. Arc rated fabrics are generally designed for minimal shrinkage, colour retention and comfort on skin; although these characteristics may not necessarily achieve the aims for cut resistance and grip, for example. Research and development in providing arc-rated gloves which address arc flash in addition to other hazards did not progress to its potential owing to the absence of an arc rating standard for gloves.
That changed in 2013 following the approval of a standard which includes arc-rated standard for gloves - ASTM International standard ASTM F2675-13: Determining arc ratings of hand protective products developed and used for electrical arc flash protection.
The standard has opened the way for advance in the area of electrical arc flash hand protection. Standards require that rubber gloves used for electrical arc flash hand protection be worn with leather over-protectors. Leather, however, has some weaknesses such as it is not nearly as good at cut resistance as many other glove materials. Also, it has poor chemical resistance. Light chain hydrocarbons, such as hydraulic fluid and transformer oil or diesel fuel, pass through leather almost instantaneously and are easily held in leather allowing leather gloves to ignite and burn quite readily. This standard has opened the way to still use insulating gloves according to ASTM D120, however, composite over-protectors that may offer arc flash protection, cut and chemical resistance, grip and finger dexterity are on the cards.
- Prior to 2013, no standard covered the electrical arc flash hand protection.
- According to the latest standard, gloves can be arc rated, cut and chemical resistant and offer shock protection.
- Protecting workers from shock and arc flash hazards using lighter and thinner gloves is currently being considered.