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Electrical Insulated Gloves Explained

Electrical Insulated Gloves

Electrical Insulated Gloves come in a variety of classes, from 0-4. The lower voltage gloves are rated in the 0-1 range, with medium and high voltage gloves in a 2 or higher rating.

Although each manufacturer has a slightly unique rating system for their gloves, the individual classes for gloves generally fall into these voltages:

  • Class 1, 10 KV test voltage with 7500 AC maximum use voltage.
  • Class 2, 20 KV test voltage with 17,000 AC maximum use voltage.
  • Class 3, 30 KV test voltage with 26,500 AC maximum use voltage.
  • Class 0, (lighter weight, low voltage gloves are widely used in meter departments and other low voltage applications) 5 KV 1000 AC maximum use voltage.


All gloves are made of leather and rubber.

Gloves must meet the stringent requirements according to Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) 1910.137(a). A major component of proper high voltage glove safety is rigorous testing.

The testing includes:

  • 1910.137(a)(2)(i)(C)


    Gloves shall also be capable of withstanding the a-c (alternating current) proof-test voltage specified in Table I-2 after a 16-hour water soak.

  • 1910.137(a)(2)(ii)


    When the a-c proof test is used on gloves, the 60-hertz proof-test current may not exceed the values specified in Table I-2 at any time during the test period.

  • 1910.137(a)(2)(ii)(A)


    If the a-c proof test is made at a frequency other than 60 hertz, the permissible proof-test current shall be computed from the direct ratio of the frequencies.

  • 1910.137(a)(2)(ii)(B)


    For the test, gloves (right side out) shall be filled with tap water and immersed in water to a depth that is in accordance with Table I-4. Water shall be added to or removed from the glove, as necessary, so that the water level is the same inside and outside the glove.


  • 1910.137(a)(2)(ii)(C)


    After the 16-hour water soak specified in paragraph (a)(2)(i)(C) of this section, the 60-hertz proof-test current may exceed the values given in Table I-2 by not more than 2 milliamperes.


  • 1910.137(a)(2)(iii)


    Equipment that has been subjected to a minimum breakdown voltage test may not be used for electrical protection.


  • 1910.137(a)(2)(iv)


    Material used for Type II insulating equipment shall be capable of withstanding an ozone test, with no visible effects. The ozone test shall reliably indicate that the material will resist ozone exposure in actual use. Any visible signs of ozone deterioration of the material, such as checking, cracking, breaks, or pitting, is evidence of failure to meet the requirements for ozone-resistant material.


  • 1910.137(a)(3)


    "Workmanship and finish."


  • 1910.137(a)(3)(i)


    Equipment shall be free of harmful physical irregularities that can be detected by the tests or inspections required under this section.


  • 1910.137(a)(3)(ii)


    Surface irregularities that may be present on all rubber goods because of imperfections on forms or molds or because of inherent difficulties in the manufacturing process and that may appear as indentations, protuberances, or imbedded foreign material are acceptable under the following conditions:


  • 1910.137(a)(3)(ii)(A)


    The indentation or protuberance blends into a smooth slope when the material is stretched.


  • 1910.137(a)(3)(ii)(B)


    Foreign material remains in place when the insulating material is folded and stretches with the insulating material surrounding it.

    Note: Rubber insulating equipment meeting the following national consensus standards is deemed to be in compliance with paragraph (a) of this section: American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D 120-87, Specification for Rubber Insulating Gloves.

    To determine glove size, measure the circumference around the palm. Allow for additional room if fabric glove liners are to be worn, especially with thermal liners. Gloves are crucial to any PPE kit, and should be purchased according to their proper arc flash rating as much as for their comfort and dexterity. The OSHA regulations are cited in both the NFPA 70E and CSA Z462 regulations.

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