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 Post subject: Using gloves with a stick
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:47 pm 
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The new 1910.269 requires arc flash protection for hands with exceptions when wearing leather protectors over rubber gloves, and when wearing heavy duty work gloves. The workers state that sticks should be used bare handed, and that work gloves will contaminate the stick. Any advice on this topic?


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 Post subject: Re: Using gloves with a stick
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:30 pm 
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stevenal wrote:
The new 1910.269 requires arc flash protection for hands with exceptions when wearing leather protectors over rubber gloves, and when wearing heavy duty work gloves. The workers state that sticks should be used bare handed, and that work gloves will contaminate the stick. Any advice on this topic?


Leather gloves aren't going to contaminate a hot stick unless for instance they get saturated in creosote or other materials. Granted there are tons of nasty, sticky materials in the utility work site and if the gloves get soaked with the more flammable ones, their "fire retardant" properties disappear.

It has been shown that up to 12 cal/cm2, leather gloves are sufficient.

You can't use gloves realistically at high voltage and above (as per IEEE 516) because the voltage across the gloves might exceed their ratings. Since it is so hard to find class 3 or 4 gloves I kind of disagree with the current version of IEEE 516 cutting off the "no gloves" limit at 40 kV and I think it is more realistic to do this above 15 kV.

Finally with the hot stick method the intent is that some current flows through the worker's body. Wearing gloves with hot sticks interferes with this. You are basically mixing work methods, the insulated tool method and the rubber glove method.

With a hot stick though you can just make the stick long enough to get outside of the arc flash boundary in the first place unless you are dealing with low voltage, in which you can use the rubber glove method by itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Using gloves with a stick
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:22 am 
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There are 2 schools of thought on insulated sticks (hot sticks). One is that if they are your primary protection, then they must be tested yearly. Hot sticks are typically rated at 100kV per foot.
The second school of thought is that the rubber gloves are the primary protection and therefore the sticks do not need to be annually tested although it is a good idea.

Good work practices/training need to be done for hot stick work. For example it is always a good practice to wipe down the sticks prior to each use with something like Moisture Eater wipes.

There is nothing that I know of that states sticks need to be used bare handed. This is probably one of those things that have been around for a long time with no basis for it other than that is "how it has always been done"

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 Post subject: Re: Using gloves with a stick
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:28 am 
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Thanks all. The two answers seem to be completely opposite. Anyone care to further back their position?

PaulEngr wrote:
...with the hot stick method the intent is that some current flows through the worker's body. Wearing gloves with hot sticks interferes with this.


wbd wrote:
There is nothing that I know of that states sticks need to be used bare handed. This is probably one of those things that have been around for a long time with no basis for it other than that is "how it has always been done".


And just to be clear, my question relates to wearing heavy duty leather work gloves with a stick; and not leather protectors over rubber gloves while using a stick.


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 Post subject: Re: Using gloves with a stick
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:00 am 
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IEEE 516 agrees with PaulEngr

Quote:
The live working tool is a very high impedance element, which allows for the voltage gradient to be spread across the stick from the line part to ground. To do this, a very low leakage current must pass through the worker holding the stick to ground. This current should be very low and may not be detected by the worker. For the above reason, it is not recommended that rubber gloves be worn when holding a live working tool on lines operating above the rating of the gloves.


But the statement above applies to rubber gloves. Should we apply this to unrated leather work gloves by extension?

And I can see the workers' point here. They carefully wipe down the stick as wbd stated, then put on some old nasty work gloves to use it.


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 Post subject: Re: Using gloves with a stick
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:24 am 
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Sticking with the rubber gloves vs. hot stick issue (granted this is not the issue OP had), prior to the 2009 edition of IEEE 516, they had a lot to say about "primary" vs. "secondary" and even "tertiary" insulation. Whatever equipment is in contact with the energized line is "primary" insulation. Everything else except supplemental insulation (cover up) is secondary. But when you have multiple insulation systems in series you can't necessarily control whether the voltage appears all across one insulation, across the other, or distributed somehow between them. So as a consequence IEEE 516 mandated that all insulation systems (primary and secondary) must be rated high enough for the working voltage. This means that for instance if working 35.4 kV with a hot stick and rubber gloves, the gloves have to be class 4. You can't wear a pair of class 3 gloves and a pair of class 2 gloves to get to 35.4 kV either. There was also a note previously mentioned that specifically forbids using rubber gloves with hot sticks because of the previously mentioned "leakage" properties although it has more to do with the distribution of voltages and obviously gets to the point where it's just academic (pointless) arguments after that.

In the 2009 edition this stuff started to disappear and in that version only, rubber gloves were mandated pretty much regardless of the work method across the board. Needless to say this is crazy if you are say working 69 kV and above where there is no rubber glove rated high enough for it. So in the latest version all the stuff about "primary" and "secondary" insulation has been removed and the glove rule now has an upper limit. Just as with NFPA 70E and NESC for instance there's also a hint in IEEE 516 that gloves are needed ONLY if you aren't already insulated or isolated some other way...so the gloves aren't necessary with a hot stick or if you are using a remote operator from the ground for instance.

But back to the OP's argument...again, this is all basically a shock protection consideration (rubber gloves, hot sticks, or both) and only has a vague connection to arc flash. When it comes to arc flash the first consideration is whether or not you need PPE in the first place and if so, how much. If you are outside of the arc flash boundary (defined as 2.0 cal/cm^2 as per OSHA 1910.269 and NESC, or 1.2 cal/cm^2 as per NFPA 70E) then the incident energy itself isn't high enough to warrant anything. OSHA goes further by mandating FR PPE to be worn all the time unless it can be shown that the worker is never anywhere about 2.0 cal/cm^2 simply because OSHA is concerned about other fire hazards such as being splashed with boric acid from a fuse. But inside the arc flash hazard boundary, appropriately rated PPE is necessary "head to toe" according to the standards that are out there. When it comes to gloves and boots, there are some "arc rated" or "FR" PPE on the market but for the most part we use "category rated" PPE which means that for instance rubber gloves have been tested with leather protectors and they have been shown to work well all the way to 40+ cal/cm2 while just leather gloves by themselves are good to 12 cal/cm2.

Also I know that E-Hazard can share a lot of material that they've done in terms of testing contaminated PPE. They obtained a bunch of PPE samples from a mining business in Saskatchewan that wanted to answer the question about how much incident energy protection is lost by worn, contaminated, dirty, or sweaty PPE. The answer was that in most cases, not much. The one exception I remember that stood out is on the tests where they soaked it in fuel oil or smeared a big gob of grease onto the PPE. In those cases the fuel source (grease or oil) burned but the PPE itself was relatively untouched. It "failed" the incident energy test (low cal/cm2) rating simply because the grease/oil increased the amount of heat detected by the sensor. It follows then that obviously grease/oil soaked leather gloves are going to offer little or no protection at all in terms of arc flash even if the gloves themselves don't burn.

But there are two caveats to this. The first one is that several researchers have proposed (and I can provide references for this) that even if the PPE was under-rated, the big reason for the arc rated PPE is to avoid secondary injuries (clothing lighting on fire). So realistically the likelihood of a fatality even without adequately rated PPE is pretty insignificant. And IEEE 1584 and ASTM 1959 target avoiding fatalities, not avoiding serious burn injuries. And that brings me to my second point...let's say that I'm working equipment that is rated 10 cal/cm2 and I have on an arc rated face shield and balaclava, shirt, pants, leather boots, and leather gloves. The 10 cal/cm2 rating is at my face/chest area. But my hands and arms are out in front of me where the incident energy will be much higher. In many cases such as working enclosed gear there is nothing on the market rated as high as what my hands and arms would be exposed to, and the standards require a single uniform rating "heat to foot" in terms of PPE. So as I said...it's a survival standard, not a "no injury" standard.

So coming full circle here and I realize that what I'm about to say is heresy, directly contradicts many standards, regulations, etc., but...even if you are wearing the leather gloves, you aren't going to seriously protect anyone from a burn from an arc flash in the first place in almost every case. So wearing leather gloves as described by the OP probably isn't doing anything at all except meeting a standard or regulation. I'm not one to support doing something unsafely but I'm also not one to support regulations and standards that obviously fly in the face of reality.

So...does wearing leather gloves make your linemen safer in terms of arc flash? In cases where they would be required to wear them, no. Does it make a difference in terms of the hot stick? Again, probably not. Will it contaminate the hot stick? If they are that contaminated, then they aren't any good for arc rating either.


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 Post subject: Re: Using gloves with a stick
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:43 pm 
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Leather protectors do NOTHING to remove or reduce protection for hotsticks. The whole East Coast of the US uses rubber gloves AND leather protectors with hot sticks. The West Coast does not. I know of sticks failing VERY rarely and I know of no shocks (doesn't mean it hasn't happened). I do know of a few which failed and allowed a large arc flash next to the worker when the stick failed and went to ground NEAR the worker giving the worker more than 20 cal/cm2. That is sufficient reason to wear some kind of AR gloves with HotSticks.

Definitely do not want to use contaminated gloves but the small amount of oils in leather or AR gloves should pose no risk for hotsticks when tested, maintained, cleaned and inspected.

Hugh Hoagland
e-Hazard.com


Last edited by wbd on Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Using gloves with a stick
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 7:05 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:24 pm
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Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
I work for a very large electric utility company in AZ and we don't mandate the use of rubber gloves (with leather protectors) when using live-line-tools "hotsticks". For many years I was taught that "you don't want to wear gloves with hotsticks because 'you need to be able feel the tingle' if your hotstick is tracking."

At the time I was pretty young and naïve just starting out in the trade so I basically took it at face value that these old timer journeymen knew what they were talking about. But now that I've been in the trade for a few decades now , I shake my head at such foolishness being taught and in some cases still being taught today by individuals who just regurgitate what they've learned without using their God given critical thinking skills.

Fiberglass hotsticks ("fiberglass reinforced plastic) are required to be constructed of materials that have a minimum dielectric strength of 100kV per foot of length that can withstand the potential for a period of 5 minutes. Then every two years, they have to be taken out of service for a thorough inspection and electric retesting at 75kV per foot of length for 1 minute or to use an equivalent testing method.

Since most hotsticks are used at distribution voltages at 69kV or less and in my company this will mainly be 4.16kV, 12.5kV, 13.8kV and some 69kV lines and equipment using a standard 6 or 8 foot shotgun or other type of hotstick. If you can "feel a tingle" at these lower voltages then obviously your hotstick has some MAJOR safety issues with its ability to insulate you so you're already exposed to a significant risk of electric shock.

As for if rubber gloves are required to be used with hotsticks is kind of up to the individual employer because there doesn't seem to be any current regulations or standards that I know of that directly states so. As Hugh Hoagland pointed out in his post, the practice tends to be geographically driven (west coast vs east coast), at least in the US, but I wonder about those in the middle. :?:


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 Post subject: Re: Using gloves with a stick
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 8:23 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:24 pm
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Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
Hi Stevenal, I just realized I submitted my comment but didn't really didn't directly answer your question about arc flash protection of the hands when using hotsticks.

In my previous post, I shared about the reasons why some linemen and electricians in my company don't wear rubber gloves with leather protectors when using hotsticks but most will wear standard leather gloves when "sticking". And this is mainly the case for our employees who work in our transmission and distribution side of the house. But inside the electric generation plant that I now work at, this is a different story.

As for either the leather protector or leather gloves "contaminating" a hotstick, it sounds to me like nothing more than an excuse made up by workers who don't want to change certain behaviors and long established work practices. This may sound a little harsh but there are countless electric utilities that require their workers to wear rubber gloves with leather protectors when using hotsticks for many decades and the concern of the leather contaminating the fiberglass has never been identified as a safety issue. So the evidence doesn't support their claims.

At my power plant, we adopted NFPA 70E into our electrical safety program to augment and exceed the mandatory OSHA regulations pursuant to 29CFR 1910.269. So when it comes to arc flash protection, of the hands or any other part of the worker's body, then they must wear arc flash PPE with an APTV that exceeds the incident energy of the equipment they're working on. But when it comes to the hands and arms, this becomes a little tricky because we have to also look at the working distances too. The three working distances, 18", 24" and 36" are based on the voltage and type of equipment, and is used to establish the Incident Energy level when engineers perform an arc flash "incident energy" analysis. Any part of the body that's closer to the arc source than the working distance will be exposed to a greater amount of heat energy than the calculated incident energy. Since the hands and arms are the most likely part of the body that will cross into the Working Distance, then they should have some additional level of protection.
If the workers hands will not cross into the restricted approach boundary or minimum approach distance (RAB/MAD) of exposed energized parts, then they can wear arc rated leather gloves. But if the hands can enter the RAB/MAD then they must transition to rubber insulating gloves (of the correct class) with leather protectors which provides both electric shock and some level of arc flash protection. However, most leather protectors are not arc rated and this was always a question from our workers of just how much arc flash protection the leather protectors and rubber gloves really offered them. Thankfully, we found a company that makes arc rated leather protectors with 36 cal/cm2 for class 0 and 00 rubber gloves and 48 cal/cm2 for class 2 gloves. So when they're worn with the rubber insulating gloves, the combination offers them the best protection for their hands.

Since the bulk of our hotstick work in a power plant is installing and removing temporary protective grounding to switchgears and other electric lines and bus sections inside of enclosures, our guys are automatically required to wear the proper level of arc flash PPE that exceeds the Incident Energy because they will be inside the arc flash boundary (AFB), which includes gloves (AR gloves or AR leather protectors with rubber gloves) for the hands.

I hope this was a little more applicable to your question than my previous post.


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