PPE: Electrical Safety in the Workplace

We chatted with Ben Julian, Marketing Channel Manager – Electrical at Protective Industrial Products, Inc (PIP®) about the NOVAX® line of rubber insulating gloves and how it improves electrical safety.

ESW: What makes NOVAX® brand rubber insulating gloves the glove of choice for utility and electrical workers?

Ben Julian: With more than 20 years of experience in latex dipping processes, NOVAX is an industry-leading brand in electrical safety products which include rubber insulating gloves, sleeves, and blankets for the industrial and utility electrical markets.

Through the NOVAX brand, PIP leads the industry by providing users with gloves and sleeves that are more flexible than traditional cement dipped products. NOVAX rubber insulating gloves and sleeves are manufactured using an environmentally friendly Aqueous Dip Process. Natural rubber (latex) is kept in its natural aqueous state, as compared to a solvent-based dip process used by other manufacturers that relies on extensive amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). An Aqueous Dip Process results in much softer and more flexible gloves that allow for greater dexterity and reduced hand fatigue for users.

Together, our continued focus on making technological innovations that produce unrivaled products is why NOVAX® products are trusted by some of the world’s largest utility and electrical contractors.

ESW: PIP offers multiple kits for Electrical PPE. What’s the advantage of getting electrical hand protection in a kit as opposed to individual pairs of gloves?

Julian: With PIP’s electrical safety kits, the user can simply choose the class that their application requires, along with the color and size of rubber glove needed, and then we do the rest by assembling the kit that meets their specifications. This is a one-step solution that is easier for ordering, but more importantly offers less risk of missing a critical component. The electrical safety kit includes a pair of NOVAX insulating gloves, leather protective glove covers, and a glove storage bag.

ESW: NOVAX gloves have straight cuffs that range in length from 11″ to 18.” Which kinds of tasks call for longer cuffs?

Julian: NOVAX straight cuff gloves are the most common type used in the Industrial and utility sectors. The longer cuffs are designed for customers working in areas where contact might occur outside of the typical 11” glove length, predominately high-voltage applications such as utility work.

ESW: Are there specific tasks or environments that would call for a ventilated hood versus an unventilated one?

Julian: Ventilated and unventilated hoods are used for the same tasks and environments. Unventilated hoods came to market first, while ventilated hoods were created to address the pitfalls of unventilated hoods; discomfort, heavy material, and lack of airflow causing sweating and poor breathability. PIP ventilated hoods make use of a mechanical power pack that blows fresh air directly into the heavily insulated interior of the hood. This, coupled with a much lighter material, enhances worker comfort and productivity by reducing sweat and the accumulation of fog on the hood’s lens, all while remaining 37% lighter than the traditional 40cal material. With our ventilated hoods, workers remain comfortable from don to dismount, maintain clear sight, and are far less likely to remove their hoods in or around flash boundary areas.

ESW: Are your electrical safety gloves independently tested, where and how? What would be the single biggest takeaway you would want the end-user to know about this?

Julian: All NOVAX gloves are tested at the manufacturer to satisfy the ASTM D120 standard, prior to arriving at PIP’s testing facility. At this time, a date stamp is issued to the glove along with a serial number. Once they arrive at our full testing facility, we perform a second inspection to ensure compliance. The biggest takeaway here is that when we send a glove to a customer, we ensure that multiple levels of compliance testing have been performed; this gives the customer peace of mind knowing both the manufacturer and our test lab have confirmed ASTM D120 adherence on all our gloves.

ESW: What are five electrical safety tips from PIP’s product experts?

Julian: Matt Smith, Product Manager, Technical Products suggests the following electrical safety tips:

  1. Electrical PPE goes well beyond just rubber insulating products – it also includes ARC apparel (shields, coveralls, balaclavas, etc.). The calories may be marked on the panels you are going to work on, but if not, you need to conduct an ARC flash assessment using the NFPA 70E handbook to figure out what PPE level (1-4) clothing you need for the job. Then, establish your arc flash boundaries.
  2. Inspect your PPE: Regularly check your clothing for holes, rips, tears, stitching issues, as well as petroleum distillates. This includes inspecting your gloves by manually inflating or using a glove inflator. Look for abrasions and cracks and listen for pinholes. If any of these are present, the glove must be discarded immediately before use. Remember the rule: Once the gloves are put into service, you must have them dielectrically tested by an independent test lab every 6 months for the life of the gloves.
  3. Properly store your gloves. While the standard says you must store away from heat, there are best practices that will help extend the life of the glove: Store in a bag, hang the bag fingertips up, and keep the bag away from sources of ozone.
  4. Wear the leather protector. Rubber gloves can be nicked and damaged when working with tools and around metal hardware. Leather protectors will help ensure that the insulating properties of the glove are not compromised. They also provide an additional layer of mechanical and oil protection, which is especially important in live electrical situations.
  5. Double check your tools: Ensure the tools you are using to do energized work are truly insulated hand tools and include the ASTM interlocking double triangles and the 1000V symbol.

PIP Global is a leading supplier of hand protection and personal protective equipment to wholesalers and distributors worldwide. Visit us.pipglobal.com/en/brand/novax to learn more, or email marketing@pipusa.com.