“How often should I test my voltage rated gloves?”
This is a question that frequently comes up during our electrical safety training classes. Misinterpreting the rules requiring dielectric testing of electrical insulating gloves and the corresponding expiration dates can be easy to do. Using article 130.7(C)(7) of the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E as a reference, we hope to add some clarity to this commonly misunderstood safety requirement.
The 6-Month Rule
Consider this example:
- The glove in this picture passed testing on March 19, 2015.
- Let’s say that the glove was issued into service on April 19, 2015.
- Regardless of the issue date, the glove expires on September 19, 2015
Exception to the Rule
Consider this example:
- You receive new gloves with a test date of January 1.
- The gloves are issued to a qualified worker on February 1.
- The gloves will expire and require testing on August 1.
- If the gloves are not issued, they will expire on December 31 and will require testing.
Additional Glove Safety Information
- Gloves must be must also be visually inspected and air tested for any possible defects such as cuts, holes, tears, embedded objects before each day’s use and whenever there is a reason to believe they may have been damaged. Best practice is to inspect PPE and air test the gloves before each use.
- OSHA 1910.137(b)(2)(ii) Insulating equipment shall be inspected for damage before each day’s use and immediately following any incident that can reasonably be suspected of having caused damage. Insulating gloves shall be given an air test, along with the inspection.
- Gloves used without leather protectors must be removed from service and dielectrically tested before they can be used again – “single use gloves”
- Gloves must be worn if employees are working inside the restricted approach distance to exposed energized conductors or circuit parts. The restricted approach distance to 480-volts is one foot.
- OSHA 1910.137(b)(2)(viii) Electrical protective equipment shall be subjected to periodic electrical tests. Test voltages and the maximum intervals between tests shall be in accordance with Table I-5 and Table I-6.
OSHA 1910.137 Table I-6. – Rubber Insulating Equipment Test Intervals Rubber insulating gloves [shall be voltage tested] Before first issue and every 6 months thereafter (If the insulating equipment has been electrically tested but not issued for service, it may not be placed into service unless it has been electrically tested within the previous 12 months.)
Q. Can I just use the rubber glove only, and not buy the leather part?
A. A leather protective glove should always be worn over rubber insulating gloves to provide the needed mechanical protection against cuts, abrasions, and punctures.
Q. Do I need to send my gloves off for voltage testing if I don’t use the electrical safety gloves very often and visually see no damage?
A. Yes, retesting is still needed to verify the integrity of the material and to ensure electrical safety is maintained for the user.
Q. If I find a hole, can I just “patch it”… like a tire inner tube?
A. No. This would not comply with ASTM or OSHA standards for electrical protective gloves, and it would not pass accredited laboratory testing
Q. How do I make sure I get the right glove size?
A. Gloves are available in sizes from 7 to 12, including half sizes. To determine glove size, measure the circumference of the hand around the palm. Gloves that are too big reduce dexterity and workers will find them difficult to work in. One size does not fit all. The following picture is from a good Grainger article describing the measurement process:
|Class||Max AC Use Voltage||AC Retest Voltage||Maximum DC Use Voltage (average)||DC Retest Voltage (average)||Color of Label|
OSHA 1910.137 – Occupational Safety and Health Standards – Personal Protective Equipment – Electrical protective devices
NFPA 70E 2021 – Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace
ASTM D 120 – 09 – Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Gloves
ASTM F 1236 – 96 (2012) – Standard Guide for Visual Inspection of Electrical Protective Rubber Products
ASTM F 696 – 06 – Standard Specification for Leather Protectors for Rubber Insulating Gloves and Mittens
Which laboratories perform the testing for electric rubber gloves? Can you provide me contact information.
We have had great luck with Skarshaug in Ames Iowa: http://www.skarshaug.com/Skarshaug_Testing_Laboratory/About_Us.html
If you do a quick search on google you can find others: “electrical glove testing”,
top two results are Magid https://www.magidglove.com/ELECTRICAL-GLOVE-TESTING-EGT.aspx
and JM Test https://jmtest.com/electrical-glove-testing/
What if I issue the gloves after they sat on the shelf for 8 months. Do I still have six months to use them or does the original test date overrule that.
If the gloves are brand new (gloves can only be new once), never been issued, with a passing test date from 8 months ago, the gloves are good for up to 4 months. We suggest you document when the gloves are issued for traceability.
If the gloves have been sent for testing and received back with a passing test date from 8 months ago, they are expired.
Hope this clears things up.
This is untrue. The gloves can sit on the shelf for 11 months an 30 days and can be issued on that day. If you are keeping a log showing when they were issued they can be worn for 6 months and then will need re-certification. All issued gloves can be worn for 6 months as long as they are issued within the 12 month date stamped on the glove. This has been a point of confusion for many people. The date stamped on the glove is the day it was tested for certification to ensure it is a viable glove to be used in the field. From that day you have 12 months to issue the glove. Check out http://www.cementexusa.com to find the gloves you need. We can direct you to a distributor near you to get gloves to you quickly. We also are a NAIL certified lab and do re-certifications on gloves, sleeves, blankets, and hot sticks.
It’s a little startling that there’s still confusion concerning glove testing requirements. Based on the conversation I had today with one of the NFPA 70E technical committee members, we might be able to get some further clarification into the 2024 edition of NFPA 70E (too late for 2021).
The 2015 edition of NFPA 70E tried to provide clarification for different understandings and has remained in 2018.
Please also see this OSHA letter of interpretation:
“once rubber insulating gloves have been issued for service for the first time, they must be tested every six months”
Consider the four scenarios:
Used gloves with a passing test date of Jan 1, 2020. Issued May 1, 2020. Expired 7/1/2020
Used gloves with a passing test date of Jan 1, 2020. Issued Nov 1, 2020. Expired 7/1/2020
New gloves with a passing test date of Jan 1, 2020. Issued May 1, 2020. Expired 12/1/2020
New gloves with a passing test date of Jan 1, 2020. Issued Nov 1, 2020. Expired 1/1/2021
This final scenario is where clarification could be used as I understand your argument here. 1910.137 table I-5 footnote states “If the insulating equipment has been electrically tested but not issued for service, the insulating equipment may not be placed into service unless it has been electrically tested within the previous 12 months”. We consider “issued for service” the start date and “placed into service” any date of use after issued. Multiple NFPA 70E committee members have told me “at no point can a new glove be used more than 12 months after it was originally tested”
Additionally, you’d be surprised how hard it is for many to track issue dates for gloves. Regardless, I am going to lean on the conservative interpretation and practice that method as well.
I’m curious about your standpoint as a glove provider to how our interpretation would affect your supply process. Gloves in your stockpile would have to be issued within 6 months of you receiving them or else your end customer would have a very short-term use glove.
How many times can gloves be recertified?
Gloves are good until they fail a test or are damaged in use. Remember that gloves need to pass daily inspection, daily air tests and pass the test from the lab.
Hello is there a place in Alberta Canada that offers the testing
We did a google search and found these guys: https://www.pacetechnologies.com/services/on-site-electrical-ppe-testing-and-recertification
Looks like they have a location in Alberta.
is there a place in the Seattle, Wa /Tacoma, Wa area that performs the glove testing?
Please find the links below to NAIL accredited labs that perform testing of rubber insulating gloves. We have included local as well as national provers that offer convenient shipping and glove tracking options.
Thanks for the question and let us know if there is anything else we can help with.
Hi, Looking a products, what are the passing limits for Class 0/1/2/3 for Insulation Gloves ?
I am more interested to resell gloves with low leakage current ? does 4mA for Class 0 is PASS ?
I would investigate and understand the following:
OSHA 1910.137 – https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.137
ASTM D120 – Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Gloves (https://webstore.ansi.org/standards/astm/astmd12009)
ASTM F496 – Standard Specification for In-Service Care of Insulating Gloves and Sleeves (https://www.astm.org/Standards/F496.htm)
How about having Brand new gloves sitting on a shelf in their boxes, sealed still that have been tested on April 20, 2020, but never have been used. Can these gloves be used and sent for certification passed the 6 months since they are new and have never been opened?
Brand new gloves, or any gloves, can be sent for certification again, if the tested gloves pass, then the clock starts again and they are good for another 6 months.