Rubber Goods Safety Disclosure
Before every use, you should
inspect your rubber goods (ASTM F496-08, F479-06, F478-06). The first
step in inspecting your rubber includes checking for a current test
date. If your rubber is expired, it must be tested before using.
Next, visually inspect your rubber. A field glove inflator will blow
air into gloves or a plastic inflation tool can be used to trap air
inside or create a loose roll for easy inspection. Type I natural
rubber should be inflated up to two times its original size and Type
II synthetic rubber should be inflated no more than 1.25 times its
original size. You should be looking for punctures, scratches, blooms
or swelling from chemicals, hard spots and cracking/dry rot-per ASTM
F1236-96, 7. If you are using high-voltage gloves that are two or
three color, any sign of the secondary color showing through is cause
for concern. Once you have inspected the outsides, gloves should be
turned inside out and inspected again. If you see any of these
imperfections in the rubber, this can allow electrical current in,
and the gloves should be taken out of use and immediately sent for
inspection. It is important that a trained inspector and test lab
examine the possibly defective rubber after a complete cleaning,
visually and electrically.
Protecting your rubber can
guard it from damage that can let in deadly current and prolong the
life of your rubber. Rubber gloves must have leather protectors. To
reduce the risk of damaging contact and dirt, store rubber in canvas
bags, totes or tubes when not in use. When storing gloves and
sleeves, they should be hung in a storage bag, and gloves should be
stored with the fingers up, with the leather protectors removed.
Avoid folding the rubber to fit them in a storage container because
this can cause folds or creases that can result in weak points. Keep
your goods away from sunlight, away from extreme hot or cold, and
away from chemicals, oils and solvents to reduce the likelihood of
the rubber drying out. Storage of rubber goods is defined in ASTM
F496-8 section 8, 8.6 and F478-09, section 8, 11.4. Keeping rubber in
the original sealed plastic bag will not protect it from dry rot if
it is exposed to extreme temperatures such as humidity, damaging
vapors or extreme temperatures. It is best to store the rubber in a
cool, dark and low humidity location.
It is critical to clean your
rubber on a regular basis. Water and dirt can conduct electricity,
and oils, greases and petroleum-based products can damage the
rubber's integrity. Cleaning can be done using wipes or cleaners that
are designed for rubber, or a mild soap and water can be used. You
must, however, thoroughly rinse and let completely dry, fingers-up,
before storing or using.
ASTM F496, 7.1 states rubber
gloves should be electrically tested before their first use and every
six months after, and sleeves, line hose, blankets and hoods have
their own specific testing cycles. See Chart 1. Cycle dates are
determined by the end user, but maximum testing intervals are
mandated by ASTM.
Regular testing is required to
stay compliant with ASTM standards (ASTM 478-09, 7.1, F479-06, 8.1.1,
and F496-08, 7.1). A quality test lab such as Powerline AETI High
Voltage Test Lab will clean the outside and inside, even on items
such as line hose, removing old stamps and dirt, then completely dry
it before going to a visual test performed by a trained inspector
(ASTM 1236-96). During visual inspection of gloves and sleeves, the
rubber will be inflated, then turned inside-out where they are
inflated and inspected again. Blankets are carefully rolled and
scanned on both sides, and line hose are opened up and then rolled.
Inflation and rolling allow a better scan of the rubber and will
expose physical imperfections. If there are any scratches, punctures
or cracking in the rubber, it will not pass visual inspection and
will not move to the next step-electrical testing.
Electrical testing of rubber
consists of exposing the rubber to an electrical current, and the
amount is based on the rubber's class (ASTM F496: Section 7). Rubber
is electrically tested beyond its maximum field use to ensure it can
hold up to the current it will be subjected to while in use. See
Chart 2. An electrical failure will result in a hole burned through
the rubber, and it is then stamped as a failure because it is unfit
for electrical use.
When rubber passes the visual
and electrical testing, it is then certified with a date-stamp, which
includes either the date of the test or the expiration date; it will
also include the voltage the PPE was tested up to and the name of the
testing facility. Special ink is used for stamping that is safe on
rubber and won't fade or wipe off during normal use. Once the stamps
have dried, gloves and sleeves are dusted with 100 percent talc
powder to absorb any remaining moisture (ASTM F478, F479 and F496).
Gloves and sleeves are then placed in new plastic bags and
heat-sealed. Blankets and line hose are securely placed in plastic
containers or totes. Proper care is taken to ensure the goods are not
crushed or folded when packaged. It is recommended that plastic totes
be used for shipping, providing solid protection while in transit.
By using Powerline A.E.T.I.
you agree to all the terms and conditions listed. Powerline A.E.T.I.
will not be responsible for damage caused outside of our testing lab.
It is the customer's responsibility to inspect all rubber goods
before each use. By regularly going through the process of
inspecting, protecting, cleaning and testing your safety equipment,
you reduce the risk of injury, and even death, from electric shock.
We all want to
come home at the end of the day to the people who count on us the
most. A few extra steps will assist in making that happen.