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Electrical Safety Equipment And Clothing: When You Need It And Why

If your job is to fix, repair or install aspects of electrical grids, or electrical systems, after a power outage due to a weather event, expansion of the power grid or some sort of accident, there are many things that you need to keep in mind. One of the most important things to consider, however, is your personal safety while working in such an environment. Both blown transformers and downed power lines can potentially be hot with power. This makes them dangerous if the right precautions aren’t taken.
 
Two very common accidents that happen to people who work in these situations are extreme burns and unfortunately, death. However, there are ways to avoid certain accidents from happening. Regardless of how cautious you are, if you are not equipped with the right tools, as well as the right protective gear, you stand a greater chance of falling victim to an accident that may likely have been avoidable.

For electrical workers, the biggest issues when it comes to avoidable accidents are arc flashes and blasts. These very common occurrences, while needing to be avoided as much as possible, they happen quite regularly in this particular industry. Their impact, however, can be greatly minimized by two things, identifying the risks and using the right electrical safety equipment and clothing to protect yourself in the event of an arc flash.
 
As far as assessments go, the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) has implemented a rating system to assess the burn risk of a particular situation and those risks are rated NFPA 70E 1 thru 4. While this is an assessment rating for all emergency situations, when it is used concerning possible arc flashes or an arc blast, the minimum rating is level 4, making it an extremely hazardous situation and one that must be approached with a great deal of caution.
 
In order to do that, proper fire retardant safety equipment and clothing needs to be worn. Following are the important steps.
 
1. Protect your head – For this, you need to consider an arc flash hood. While not the most decorative piece of clothing you’ll ever wear, this full hood with a tinted viewing window will totally cover and protect your head and neck from an arc flash or blast.
 
2. Wear the right clothing – You can opt for arc flash full body suits, which give considerable FR protection. These suits look a great deal like hazmat suits, but they are excellent for full arc flash or blast protection. You can also chose more mainstream protective shirts and pants, which resemble traditional work clothing, coveralls and jackets for colder weather applications.
 
3. Protect your hands – You will want to employ the use of high voltage gloves. These heavy duty rubber gloves are an excellent choice considering their material doesn’t conduct electricity very well. You do need to understand, however, that these gloves come in different ratings so you’ll need to know the situation you’re working in, as it relates to voltage, to know what classification glove is right for each situation. These basic rubber gloves come in insulted versions as well for colder weather usage.
 
4. Use the right tools and accessories – You want to make sure that if you’re using specific tools in the repair or installation of electrical lines or components, make sure all those tools are working properly. If they aren’t, discontinue use of them until they can be repaired or replaced. Secondly, if you are working on a flooring surface that can conduct electricity, an electrical mat will allow you to stand and work safely.
 
While all the different safety equipment and clothing can help you in the event of an arc flash or blast, they aren’t bullet proof. Your best option is to work as carefully and as intently as possible. If something should go wrong, however, it’s nice to know that you’ll have proven and reliable electrical safety clothing to protect you and save you from incurring painful burns or, worse yet, experiencing an accident that could kill you.
 
If you work as an emergency utility responder or you work at installing or repairing electrical lines and components, you need to make sure you have all the electrical safety equipment and clothing necessary for you to do your job effectively and safely.
 
Nisha is a freelance writer helping to represent BigCatwalk. BigCatwalk specialise in large size shoes for women. You can find out more by visiting http://www.bigcatwalk.com


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