A Quick Guide to PPE for Electrical Work

PPE for electrical work

A Quick Guide to PPE for Electrical Work

In our past articles we have guided you through the most appropriate PPE for welding, construction and oil and gas industry. We know how important it is that all professional workers are able to trust their protective equipment to protect them at all times. For this reason, today we are going to see together what the key components of PPE for electrical work are.

Electrical hazards

As we all know, every procedure to guarantee health and safety in the workplace starts with awareness. This means that before analysing what PPE for electrical work is made of, we need to know what the hazards for people working with or near electricity and electrical equipment are. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has identified the following hazards: electric shock, burns, injuries from exposure to arcing, fire from faulty electrical equipment or installations, and explosion (which can be caused by unsuitable electrical apparatus or static electricity igniting flammable vapours or dusts).

Key components of PPE for electrical work

If your workplace contains one or more of the above hazards, as an employer it is your responsibility to provide your staff with electrical personal protective equipment. Your workers are responsible for wearing it as required and report any damage to the PPE in use. Let’s see together what this includes:

  • Head and face protection: to prevent injuries from electric shock, burns or flying objects, electrical workers must wear non-conductive hardhats, arc rated balaclavas and hoods.
  • Eye protection: electric arcs, flashes, or from flying objects resulting in explosions can be extremely dangerous for the eyes. For this reason, electrical professionals must wear appropriate arc-flash rated shields, or non-conductive safety glasses or goggles.
  • Hearing protection: as an arc flash incident could exceed 140 decibels, in some cases (depending on the type of task) it might be required to wear hearing protective inserts.
  • Hand protection: most electrical tasks involve possible contact with live parts or exposure to arc flash. To avoid any hand or arm injury, workers must wear rubber-insulating gloves.
  • Body protection: it essential for electrical professionals to wear non-conductive garments that do not leave the skin uncovered, such as long-sleeve t-shirts, jackets, coats, coveralls, and ankle-length trousers.
  • Foot protection: when it comes to safety footwear, electrical workers have two options depending on the workplace and type of task they are performing: ESD footwear or EH footwear. ESD footwear refers to conductive shoes and boots designed to minimise the amount of static electricity build-up on the body. EH rating instead refers to non-conductive boots and shoes reducing the flow of electricity passing through the shoe and to the ground. Keep in mind that EH footwear is a completely different specification and is not meant to be the main source of protection in an electrical hazard environment.

Remember that wearing PPE is only one part of a correct health and safety practice. Beyond providing your works with appropriate workwear, you have to make sure that they all know how to use the electrical equipment safely, that they are adequately skilled, and that every electrical equipment is suitable for use.

Now that you know what adequate PPE for electrical work is made of, browser or website or contact us to find the best Workwear for your electrical staff!

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