Personal Protective Equipment abbreviated as PPE (plural: PPEs) protect the user against safety risks. Electricians, Engineers, and Technicians working in or monitoring or passing through areas where there are potential electrical hazards must be provided with and should use, electrical protective gear and other equipment that is appropriate as per the nature of the hazard. Given below is the list of the top 10 PPEs for people working on electricity.
- 1 Helmet or Hard Hats
- 2 Face Sheild & Safety Glasses – Face PPE
- 3 Insulation Equipment
- 4 Arc Flash Suits
- 5 Gas Detection Devices
- 6 Non-Conduction Rods
- 7 Earthing Clamps and Fittings
- 8 Safety Signs
- 9 Safety Shoes – PPE for Shoe
- 10 Hearing Protection ear muffs
- 11 Safety Vest
Helmet or Hard Hats
The helmet plays a vital role in protecting your most vital and sensitive organ: The Brain! Head injuries are dangerous and they are a serious threat to your life. You should remember following points while wearing helmets:
- Set it accordingly to head in a comfortable position.
- Snug the straps but don’t set them too tightly.
- There should be a considerable clearing between your head and the hard surface of the hat.
- Always wear the assigned color helmet.
- Watch for cracks and damage signs.
- Watch for damaged and expired helmets.
Face Sheild & Safety Glasses – Face PPE
Shields and safety glasses play an integral role in face PPE since they protect your eyes and face from grinding particles. Eyes are one of most sensitive parts of your body and you should use a face shield as well as safety glasses during:
Depending on your working environment you might need some or multiple protection layers. The list of most commonly used insulation equipment includes insulation gloves, insulation mates, insulation ladders, and insulation sleeves.
They are required for providing protection against various mechanical and electrical risks. Depending on the circuit and environment you might need leather, fire-resistant, insulated or dielectric gloves. The following points should be kept while using gloves:
- Carefully observe the gloves for damaged insulation before using them.
- You should identify which type of glove is suitable for you.
- Always check the expiration date of gloves.
- Store your gloves in safe and reliable cases.
- Regularly perform air tests on gloves.
Electrical Voltage-Rated Gloves
There are many applications where insulating gloves on their own or insufficient. This is particularly true when dealing with high voltages. Since the hands of workers are probably the most exposed part and always remain close to the hazard. It is important to use electrical voltage-rated gloves with leather protectors that are suitable and sufficient as per the nature of the application. The chart below indicates the max voltage (both AC and DC) for class of gloves.
|Class||Max Use AC Voltage||Max Use DC Voltage|
Dielectric carpets or insulator mats are used in a high-voltage environment for isolating people from live parts of electrical equipment. Such mats should always be considered where a shock is possible.
It is often preferable to use good insulation ladders in industrial environments. While such ladders ensure your safety under normal conditions, they also ensure your protection against high-voltage spikes. Many manufacturers are designing insulation ladders that can resist spikes as high as 50 kV.
Insulation Sleeves also sometimes termed sleevings are extremely high-temperature resistant sleeves that provide thermal protection for wires, cables, and hoses that are subjected to continuous and extremely high-temperature environments, such as engine manifolds and exhaust systems.
Arc Flash Suits
As the name implies, arc flash suits protect electrical workers from serious injuries or sicknesses that are caused by electrical arcs or similar electrical hazards. The arc flash suite should have an appropriate arc rating that should be suitable and sufficient as per nature of the application. It should also meet all relevant ANSI and ASTM standards. Safety glasses are required to be worn beneath face shields or hoods.
Good to know: Goggles should not be worn beneath face shields or hoods since they are classified as ignitable and meltable components.
Gas Detection Devices
Many times your crew has to make their way inside confined areas. Gas detectors are an ideal protection source in such applications. Modern gas detectors are multiple detectors that can detect CO2, H2S, SO2, NO2, O2, CO gases within microseconds.
Such rods and hooks are designed to pull a person out of dangerous conditions while keeping yourself safe from shocks. A safety hook for 33 kV substation is shown below:
Earthing Clamps and Fittings
Sometimes the electrical installations are earthed to mains water and gas services. An earthing clamp is secured to the pipe by crossbanding it. While earth clamp is not a typical PPC you are wearing, it plays a fundamental role in protection.
Safety signs should be used in working areas for informing the crew about different conditions and warnings that are applicable to a particular area. You might need safety signs to:
- Warn users about particular danger
- Make users aware of nature of work and associated hazards
- Advise users about certain conditions
- To restrict a user from doing something
- To provide information about mandatory devices
Types of safety signs
Safety signs are of different shapes:
- Triangular: Warnings
- Round: Regulations
- Square/Triangular: Instructions or additional information.
Color usage in safety signs
They are also used in different colors:
- Red: Fire related, No go area
- Blue: Instruction
- Yellow: Hazard indication
- Green: Indiction of safety such as emergency exits
Safety Shoes – PPE for Shoe
The safety shoes keep your feet safe in case an object falls over them. You should remember 5 points before getting a shoe:
- Heat resistance
- Puncture resistance
- Water resistance
- Protection against impacts
- Slip resistance
Foot Protection in case of Tasks rated above Hazard/risk category 2
In case of Tasks rated above Hazard/risk category 2, Heavy duty leather work shoes should be used. Since these provide some arc flash protection to the feet.
Hearing Protection ear muffs
Hearing protection ear muffs should be used in noisy environments such as thermal power stations and all other places where noisy engines are used.
The safety vest has refractive strips that make your visible and noticed. Safety vests are often classified into three classes:
The article above is intended for providing general knowledge and it may not suite your site conditions/workplace. Based on the Specific Electrical system you are working on, the PPEs or gear you need vary greatly. Always follow your local laws/rules and your company/organization’s health and safety guidelines while working in the field.