As with all trades, electricians face the risk of hazards when carrying out their work. That’s why it’s important for them to wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk they are exposed to. The PPE worn by electricians needs to ensure that the hazard is minimized, whilst also allowing them to do their job.
There are some essential items of PPE that an electrician should wear when carrying out their job, and it’s important to know so they can undertake their job in a safe way, and reduce the risk of them sustaining an injury.
The most important PPE for an electrician
Insulating Gloves – These rubber gloves fall under two categories; Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 provides the electrician with greater flexibility, but they aren’t ozone resistant, and if exposed to UV rays, they will start to crack. Type 2 gloves are ozone resistant, but aren’t as comfortable to wear reducing flexibility for the wearer.
Protector Gloves – Although it’s the rubber that doesn’t conduct electricity, protector gloves should still be worn over the top of insulating gloves to further reduce the risk posed by electricity, and minimise the hazard for the worker.
Eye Protection – Of course, with any live electricity environment, the worker runs the risk of coming into contact with electric arcs or flashes. Eye protection is important for electricians as it protects their eyes from anything getting into them, and impairing their vision.
Head Protection – With many electricians working on construction sites, there is the risk of falling objects, together with the risk they face from electricity whilst carrying out their work. Helmets fall into three categories; Class A, Class B and Class C.
Class A helmets reduce the impact felt from falling objects, as well as reducing the danger faced by contact with low-voltage electricity. Class A helmets are tested at 2, 200 volts of electrical charge.
Class B helmets reduce the impact from falling objects, as well as reducing the danger faced by contact with high-voltage electricity. Class B helmets are tested at 20, 000 volts of electrical charge.
Class C helmets only reduce the impact from falling objects, and do not provide any protection against the exposure to electricity, so has no use for electricians coming into contact with live electricity.
Protective Footwear – Protective footwear must be used when a worker faces hazards from falling or rolling objects, objects piercing the sole and if their feet will be exposed to electrical hazards.
In particular, Electrical shock resistant (EH) footwear is made with soles and heals not capable of conducting electricity, reducing the risk of injury significantly for electricians. To ensure the highest level of safety to those wearing them, this type of footwear needs to be capable of withstanding 14, 000 volts at 60 hertz for one minute, to be deemed safe to wear.
PPE means electricians are better safe than sorry
Working with electricity means electricians are exposed to many hazards that could have a serious impact on the rest of their lives if they’re not wearing the correct PPE for a particular job. Employers have a responsibility to ensure the PPE they provide to their workers are in-line with safety guidelines that are already set out and deemed as the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to PPE.