Electrical work is dangerous. Understanding the risks and protecting your workers is the best way to ensure they enjoy long careers with few injuries.  

The dangers of not wearing proper PPE  

We all know that electrical components can cause dangerous conditions and injuries can range from minor burns to eye injuries and internal organ damage, to cardiac arrest and even death. Wearing properly rated PPE is of critical importance for electrical workers or others who encounter electricity at work.  

While Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the responsibility of the employer – they must provide and pay for it – workers must be aware of the risks and wear PPE that will protect them adequately for the repair they are making. All PPE has an Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV) rating that tells you how much energy the article of clothing can protect you from. It is one of the most important ways to prevent severe burns and death from exposure to electricity.  

What not to do: 

-Do not use unrated rubberized gloves as PPE. 

-Do not use uninsulated tools when working on electrical components. 

-Do not require your employees to purchase or provide their own PPE. 

-Do not work on electrical components with inadequate PPE. 

What to do, for managers of those who wear PPE: 

-If you are unsure what level of PPE your workers need, review safety requirements from the NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. 

-Check in periodically to ensure your team’s PPE is in good repair so that they are as protected from electrical current as possible. Arc-rated clothing must be kept extremely clean and free of holes. Even the smallest opening or oily residue can cause serious burns or ignite in the event of an arc flash.  

What to do, for those who need PPE at work: 

-Necessary PPE will depend on your role and what you could encounter on the job. While your employer must provide that PPE for you, it is up to you to wear the proper amount and type of PPE at work. 

-Utilize the arc flash hazard labeling on the electrical equipment to determine the exact types of electrical PPE and corresponding ATPV rating that will be required to keep you safe.  If your facility’s electrical equipment does not have an arc flash warning label, your organization must work with a professional engineering agency to perform an arc flash assessment and provide those labels in the field. 

-Inform your employer if you are in need of additional PPE in order to safely do your job. 


Need a refresher on PPE?

Here are a few courses we offer that cover PPE requirements: 

OSHA Safety Training (10- and 30-Hour for Construction or General Industry – available online and as instructor-led training 

Arc Flash Electrical Safety NFPA 70E® – instructor-led training with information about arc-rated PPE 

Additional online courses that cover topics related to electrical safety in the workplace are part of our online maintenance training library. 


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