As an electrician, you know the risks that you take in your job every day. Electrical work can be dangerous, so protecting yourself as much as possible is essential. While there are many ways to practice occupational safety, PPE is one element you want to consider. PPE is your last line of defense, so having the right equipment and knowing how to use it is key.
Before commencing any job with your electrical PPE, inspect it for cracks, holes, or other types of damage. If you find damage to your protective equipment, you should immediately discard it and replace it with new equipment that conforms to the relevant safety standards.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about electrical PPE, including:
- Why PPE is necessary for electrical work
- The PPE that every electrical worker needs
- How to maintain your PPE
What Is PPE?
Let’s start with the basics and explain what exactly PPE is.
PPE stands for personal protective equipment. Many trades and industry workers wear PPE to minimize exposure to hazards that may cause bodily harm or illness. Certain regulations in place by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) require employers to provide their workers with proper PPE to complete any job and training to ensure that they know how to use it.
Common jobs that require PPE include:
- Construction worker
- Lab researcher
- Doctor or nurse
- Oil rig worker
- Food handler
Popular PPE equipment that is essential to many industries include:
- Safety glasses
- Closed-toe or steel-toe boots
- Safety vests
Electricians use electrical PPE to complete their jobs safely. Let’s take a closer look at what electrical PPE includes.
What Is Electrical PPE?
Electrical PPE is essential for all electricians. The type of PPE you use, however, depends on the type of electrical job that you are completing. You may require different PPE if you fix lights in a home versus helping build a major commercial space.
In the below YouTube Tutorial you will learn more on the different types of Personal Protective Equipment.
PPE for electricians often revolves around the type of fabric that you wear. As an electrician, you deal with various high-voltage applications with sparks, fire, and electrical shock the top hazards of the job. This typically takes place in the form of an electrical arc flash.
An arc flash is a phenomenon where a flashover of electrical current leaves its path and travels through the air. If this flashover of electrical current makes contact with a human, it can often result in serious injuries, such as:
- Severe burns
- Hearing loss
- Eye injuries
- Blast injuries
With these risks in mind, wearing electrical arc-rated natural fiber apparel that fully protects your torso and limbs from potential exposure to electric shock is essential. These types of protective clothing include:
- Long pants
- Long sleeve shirts
- Overalls or coveralls
- Jackets or coats
In addition, to avoid eye injuries, you should wear eye protection or safety glasses, and it’s a good idea also to wear ear canal inserts for hearing protection.
Of course, your hands are the top body part you should protect, as they have the highest risk for injury when you complete any job. For this reason, you should wear hand protection or gloves with a leather protector – we recommend these found on Amazon. Depending on the job, you may wear rubber-insulated gloves – we recommend these to protect against voltage and electrical shock.
Now that you know what electrical PPE is necessary to complete electrical work, let’s discuss choosing the best electrical PPE.
How to Choose the Best Electrical PPE for the Job
Choosing the best PPE is not only important for the job’s success, but it is also essential to ensure your top safety.
To choose the best electrical PPE, you need to consider several factors. Some of the top factors to consider are:
- The source of electricity that you are working with
- How likely it is that you’ll be exposed to arc flash
- The work environment you’ll be working in
- The conditions that you’ll be working in
All PPE equipment comes with maximum voltage and higher levels. For the most electrical safety, you should choose electrical PPE that either matches but preferably exceeds the voltage rating of the electrical hazard you will be working with for that particular job.
What’s also important is to inspect and maintain your PPE.
Electrical PPE Inspection and Maintenance
Before you use your electrical PPE, it’s essential to inspect it to ensure that it is up to par for the job at hand.
Your personal protective equipment should be inspected before you begin any job, even if you just used the same PPE for another job the day before. In as little as one job, your PPE could become damaged, contaminated, or compromised in another way. This may cause potential danger in your next job, especially if you don’t know about the damage.
Look for cracks, holes, or any other type of damage before beginning any job with your electrical PPE. If you discover damage to your protective equipment, you should discard it immediately and replace it with new equipment that meets the relevant safety standards.
Moreover, some PPE equipment may also expire, which means that it will not be as effective in protecting you as it once was. It’s essential to always keep and check the manufacturer labels on your equipment before you use them to ensure that the expiry date has not passed.
The manufacturer label will also provide you with the maximum voltage to easily keep track of what electrical safety equipment is best for what job.
Wrap-Up: Electrical PPE Equipment Can Save Your Life
Electrical PPE equipment is essential for your safety and to ensure you complete every job to top-quality standards.
Without PPE equipment, you may be unable to correctly complete the job, or worse, put your health and safety at risk. An electrician’s job is dangerous, and potentially fatal accidents can occur. In these rare instances, having the best electrical PPE may save your life.