Every day, we hear news about electrical incidents in which workers get seriously injured or wounded because of electrical shocks.
In fact, electrocution is considered the sixth leading cause of worker deaths in the United States!
There is a need to train the electricians on how they can save themselves and also provide them with proper safety equipment, such as gloves and protective suits.
Will Leather Gloves Prevent Shock?
One of the ways to minimize the risk of an electrical shock is to wear leather gloves while working. Look for a pair that is free from holes and ones that say that they are for electrical work.
Many people might be wondering if they can use leather gloves for electrical work and how many volts can these gloves actually handle. Well, if you are one of those people, you have come to the right place.
Here we will find out if leather gloves are good enough to prevent an electrical shock and if they offer 100% protection against these shocks. So, let’s get started.
Will Leather Gloves Prevent Shock?
Leather is capable of resisting electrical sparks as well as the heat produced during electrical work, such as welding.
They are commonly worn by welders and other industrial workers who might get cuts and abrasions due to the nature of their work.
Although the most commonly used gloves for electrical work are made of rubber, leather gloves can offer an additional layer of protection to save the worker from getting burns and wounds.
Leather gloves will prevent shocks to a certain extent if they are properly constructed and are free from holes and punctures.
So, you can’t wear just any type of leather gloves available on the market for electrical work.
We see that a lot of gloves made from leather are meant for the purpose of fashion or to protect a person from the cold.
If you want to use a pair to protect yourself from an electrical shock, find one that is actually made for this purpose.
Are Leather Gloves Protective?
Any material that is a non-conductor of electricity would protect you against electrical shocks.
Although leather does not conduct electricity, it may contain some moisture because of being fresh or new. In such a case, it is not 100% protective against electrical shocks.
Other materials that are non-conductors of electricity include rubber, plastic, glass, and ceramic.
So, most commonly we see electricians wearing rubber gloves instead of ones made from leather because rubber is not only an inexpensive material but also one that offers good protection against the flow of electricity and heat.
Can You Use Leather Gloves for Electrical Work?
Yes, you can. However, to ensure complete safety and protection, it is recommended to wear a combination of leather as well as rubber gloves for doing electrical work.
Since rubber gloves are prone to some mechanical damage due to energized equipment, leather would offer an extra protective layer to the worker.
If you’re using leather gloves for electrical work, make sure they are well-maintained at all times. There shouldn’t be any punctures in the material and the leather should be completely dry.
How Many Volts Can Leather Gloves Handle?
Leather gloves designed for electrical work are capable of handling up to 450 volts and they are classified as Class 2 protective gloves.
This means that leather gloves are not suitable to use in all types of electrical setups.
If you are working in an area where there are high-voltage machines all around, you need a more robust system for preventing injuries in case you come in direct contact with live wires.
If you are looking for the best gloves for electrical work, find a pair that is voltage-rated and approved by OSHA.
However, if working in a setup below 450 volts, you can use leather protective gloves to protect yourself from cuts, minor burns, abrasions, and heat.
Leather gloves when used in combination with rubber gloves offer added protection and are therefore good against electric shocks.
When you use such a system as well as make sure that your leather gloves come with a moisture-wicking lining, you can achieve insulation up to 17000 volts.
The standard for safety gloves to be 100% protective is Class 0 ASTM. If your leather gloves meet this requirement, you can definitely use them for any type of electrical work.
Tips to Using Leather Gloves For Preventing Electric Shock
Best Leather For Electrical Safety
There are many types of leather available out there including genuine cowhide or goat leather as well as synthetic leather.
During electrical work, you not only need durable gloves that do not easily get punctured but also ones that offer dexterity.
Goatskin leather is the strongest and most durable type of leather used for making safety gloves.
They are also water-resistant and flexible to wear. Synthetic leather is also a good choice and it’s an inexpensive option as compared to genuine leather gloves.
So, make sure the gloves you choose are made of the right type of leather, which is water and abrasion-resistant as well as thin and comfortable.
Features to Look For In Your Leather Gloves
When you are looking for the best leather gloves for electrical work and home maintenance, make sure you choose gloves that are lightweight and offer excellent dexterity.
The palm of the glove should be made of 100% leather with a reinforced thumb and spandex along the back of the glove.
When Do You Need Specialized Leather Gloves
Gloves designed for welding offer an extra layer of protection and hence they are known as specialized gloves.
They are not only abrasion-resistant but also offer protection against cuts and burns during welding. They are made of the highest grade of leather, which is heat-resistant and offers tactile sensitivity.
How to Properly Use Leather Gloves to Prevent Electric Shock
While leather is a non-conductor of electricity and durable material that offers excellent protection, it will not offer 100% protection against shocks, especially if not used properly.
The best way to wear leather gloves for the prevention of electric shock is to wear them over insulating rubber gloves.
Leather gloves will be sufficient alone when you are working in a household setup and when the danger of getting a shock is minimal.
When you’re working around high-voltage machines that cannot be shut down, leather gloves alone would not protect you completely.
Another point to keep in mind is the moisture content in the leather glove you’re using. Water is a conductor of electricity and if you are working in a humid environment, your leather gloves may absorb moisture due to being porous and may not remain 100% protective.
Testing Your Gloves Before Starting Work
To ensure that your leather gloves are completely dry and offer good protection, you need to test them before using them.
A visual inspection is usually sufficient to make sure your gloves are not wet or punctured. It is also a good idea to use a circuit tester to make sure it is shut off especially when you’re working in low-risk areas.
When working with an electrical voltage higher than 480 volts, make sure you do the above-mentioned steps and additionally ensure that you’re wearing the right size or fit of gloves and there is a rubber layer underneath for added protection.
Electricity hazards cannot be foreseen. It is therefore important to not just wear your gloves at all times but also wear protective PVC soled shoes to minimize the impact of shock if it does occur. Also, make sure you are wearing some kind of protective gear for your eyes especially when you’re welding.
To save electrical workers from serious injuries, it should be made sure that they are wearing the necessary protective gear to safeguard themselves against shocks.
A pair of safety gloves is a must-have tool in any electrician’s safety and tool kit. These gloves are made from either rubber or a combination of rubber and leather to protect an electrician from work-related dangers.
These gloves not only offer protection against burns and cut wounds but also safeguard the worker against heat and sparks while they work.
Leather gloves are good for not just electrical work but also any kind of household project. They are capable of providing protection against cuts and pictures and offer grip and comfort.
They also offer dexterity and impact protection and hence are ideal for use in electrical work setups. However, just remember that a combination of leather with rubber or PVC makes it an ideal choice for electrical safety gloves.
The leather alone would not be 100% protective especially if it’s fresh and contains some amount of moisture.
I hope this guide helped cleared most of your doubts about using leather gloves for electrical work. Keep the above-mentioned tips in mind when you choose your next pair of gloves for dangerous industrial work. All the best!