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Calibration News: Winter 2011

Electrical High Voltage Focus

Gloves are for Life, not just for Christmas

Working with electricity carries the risk of electric shock – painful and possibly deadly.

Among the more unusual items we have tested here at AMECaL are protective gloves. The effect of having an electricity current flow through your body differs from person to person but it’s clearly undesirable. From a slight tingle in your skin with a low current to pain at higher current, leading up to muscle spasms as the current grows above 20mA, electricity and the human body do not go together well.

Working with a supply disconnected, isolated or earthed reduces the risk but the ultimate insurance against personal harm is protective equipment like gloves. As with most safety equipment, these need to be tested and approved for use, so users can be sure of the level of protection they’re receiving.

Tests vary based on what the gloves are used for, but can include tensile strength and resistance to cuts, tears and punctures, flame retardancy and resistance to low temperature, acid, oil and ozone. Many tests are optional (according to the European standard: EN 60903) but there are mandatory tests too.

Where the gloves are protecting against higher voltages, testing become even more important – and includes insulation resistance and dielectric strength – applying perhaps 5kV to the gloves for several minutes to test the leakage and resistance.

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