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For arc flash hand protection, do you/your company use:
Heavy-duty leather gloves
Arc-rated gloves
A mix
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 Post subject: Gloves - Leather Protectors or Arc Rated Gloves?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2021 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:00 pm
Posts: 1683
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
130.7(C)(10)(d)(1) Hand Protection states:
Heavy-duty leather gloves or arc-rated gloves shall be worn where required for arc flash protection

This weeks’ question:

For arc flash hand protection, do you/your company use:

Heavy-duty leather gloves
Arc-rated gloves
A mix

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 Post subject: Re: Gloves - Leather Protectors or Arc Rated Gloves?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2021 7:25 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:24 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
At my power plant, I've incorporated the use of both AR gloves and now AR leather protectors used with class 0 rubber gloves.

Our workers are permitted to use AR gloves, if their hands will not cross into the Restricted Approach Boundary or Minimum Approach Distance (RAB/MAD) of exposed energized parts. For example, common tasks such as racking low voltage and medium voltage breakers in metal clad switchgear, do not expose the employee to electric shock hazards but most certainly arc flash.

However, if the hands can or could cross into the RAB/MAD then we are procedurally mandated to wear only rubber insulating VR gloves with leather protectors.

About two years ago, we incorporated a new AR leather protector for use with our class 0 rubber gloves. As most people on this thread know, the typical leather protector procured from the manufacturer of the rubber gloves are only made of leather and must meet the specifications of ASTM F696. However, we discovered a company who is now providing AR leather protectors meeting not only ASTM F696 but has a tested arc rating of 36 cal/cm2 according to ASTM F2675 and F2675M-13. In addition to the arc rating, these protectors are Kevlar lined so they have an ANSI cut resistance level of A3 and puncture resistance of Level 4, which are added safety benefits. And amazingly enough, with all this added safety value hasn't really reduced its dexterity compared to the standard leather protectors.

Obviously the stats for this new leather protector sound pretty impressive but the proof is always in the pudding. Back in March of this year (2021) we had a significant arc flash event inside one of our 480V MCC buckets. Thankfully no one was injured in the incident and it's root cause was 100% human performance related. But since the topic of this thread is AR gloves and protectors, I won't go into all the details and contributing factors surrounding the incident but rather the performance of the PPE product for hand protection.

This particular MCC has an IE of around 5 cal/cm2 at a working distance of 18". The electrician involved was wearing a 40 cal/cm2 arc flash suit and hood combined with class 0 rubber insulating gloves with the new AR leather protectors for the hands. When the arc flash occurred, the electrician's hands were well within the working distance and literally at 'ground zero', meaning less than an inch from the arc source. The exterior portions of the AR leather protectors suffered significant burns, charring and external damage to large areas, especially of the right hand, right thumb and index finger. However, the majority of heat energy was blocked by the leather protector's construction combined with the added insulating value offered by the rubber glove itself. Consequently, the individual involved did not receive even a first degree burn to his hands or fingers. A visual inspection of the interior portions of the gloves and especially the fingers, showed no discoloration of the yellow Kevlar liner nor did the fingers of the rubber gloves indicate any exposure to thermal energy.

Based on this incident, I'm a firm believer of the value for transitioning away from traditional leather protectors to a product that provides electric shock protection and a known arc flash protection with greater resistance against punctures and cuts. Not good a good day if the wire strand that punctures your protector is energized.

Currently, we're evaluating an AR rated leather protector from the same company for our class 2 'high voltage' rubber gloves which carries an APTV of 48 cal/cm2 and should have a determination in a few months.

File comment: Awesome performance
Leather Protectors Rear.jpg
Leather Protectors Rear.jpg [ 725.75 KiB | Viewed 1058 times ]
File comment: Awesome performance x2
Leather Protectors Front.jpg
Leather Protectors Front.jpg [ 752.11 KiB | Viewed 1058 times ]
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