The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a criteria for general Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for electricians working within areas where there is live electrical sources and general electrical environments. While there are manydifferent types of these electrical environments such as overheard power lines, energized equipment, and large facility power systems which require higher levels of protection, this blog will cover your basic electrician PPE.
Non-conductive hardhats shall be worn when whenever there is a danger of head injury from electric shock or burns due to contact with live parts or from flying objects resulting from an electrical explosion.
- Safety Glasses:
Employees shall wear PPE for the eyes whenever there is a danger of injury from electric work where an object could end up coming in contact with their eyes. Non-conductive safety glasses or goggles are to be worn.
There are a number of different electrical environments that require different levels of clothing protection, but for the majority of electricians the following will cover your basic electrician needs.
- Electrician Pants and Shirts – Fire Rated, lightweight, breathable, and durable.
- Safety Vests – High Visibility / Reflective
- Foot Protection and work boots
- Soles with electrical isolation.
- Water-resistant upper.
- Protected Toe Caps.
- Slip-resistance soles.
- Belts – Belts must be made of non-conductive materials such as leather or FR rated nylon with a buckle made of heavy duty plastic.
What additional Protection might be required when working on larger systems or projects?
There are some electrical environments where additional protection may be required by the specific project. They include the following.
- Hearing Protection – is required when working in the arc flash boundary which a determined radius of energized pieces of electrical equipment. Hearing protective inserts are used to protect the employee in the event of an arc blast. The sound pressure level of an arc flash incident could exceed 140 decibels.
- Hand Protection
- Employees shall wear rubber-insulation gloves and properly sized leather protectors where there is a danger of hand or arm injuries due to contact with live parts or possible exposure to arc flash burn.
- Rubber gloves are used for shock protection. Rubber gloves must be tested after each use if not worn with leather protectors.
Depending on the job task to be performed, Personal Protection Equipment for the electric power industry generally includes safety glasses, face shields, hard hats, safety shoes, insulating (rubber) gloves with leather protectors, insulating sleeves, and flame-resistant (FR) clothing as mentioned above. Be sure to fully understand the requirements of each electrical job and what PPE is required for any larger jobs or any job requirements for safety such as fall protection and higher levels of energy in each environment for additional electrical PPE.