Look after your PPE and it will look after you
Using safety equipment can certainly help prevent injury or death. However, improper maintenance and storage of your personal protective equipment (PPE) can give you a false sense of security. CLAIRE RENCKEN reports.
Did you know that cleaning your rubber gloves incorrectly, or folding rubber insulating sleeves for storage, can increase the risk of accidental death by electrocution? Electrocution is not unusual in the construction industry. To protect yourself when working on, or near, energised parts, you should use PPE including insulated rubber gloves, rubber sleeves and protective apparel. More importantly, you should know how to store and test these safety products so that they will continue to provide protection.
Let’s take rubber insulating gloves as an example. In Benjamin Bird’s article entitled Take care of your PPE, which can be found on the Electrical Construction and Maintenance (EC&M) website, he gives the following tips for caring for gloves:
You should store rubber-insulated gloves in a cool, dark area; nowhere near steam pipes, radiators, or other sources of heat. Do not store them in the same room where electrical testing is done. If you’re storing your gloves in glove bags, make sure you place the gauntlet end in the bottom of the bag, and hang the bag from a peg.
If you’re storing them inside boxes or tool bags, do not place anything on top of them that would distort their shape. Do not wear or store your gloves inside-out. Also, do not leave the protector (leather) glove inside the rubber glove.
You can wash your rubber gloves by hand or in a washing machine to remove dirt. Use tap water and mild soap or mild non-bleaching detergent. After washing, rinse them in clear water and dry thoroughly at an air temperature not exceeding 65ºC.
If your gloves come into contact with transformer oils, inhibitors, or other petroleum-based products, make sure you clean them with a manufacturer-approved liquid cleaner. Then, wipe with a clean dry cloth.
Inspection and testing:
Make sure you air-test your rubber gloves before each use, or if you suspect there is damage. You should also roll the gloves gently between your hands to expose defects and any imbedded materials. If you find any defects, do not use your gloves until you’ve electrically tested them.
You should base the interval between date of issue and electrical retests on your work practices and test experience, but this interval should not exceed six months. If your gloves have not been electrically tested within the previous 12 months, and you haven’t used them during that same interval, don’t use them. Have them retested. You can verify the testing date by the stamp on the gloves themselves.
Cloud-based PPE management system introduced
Bramhope Safety Solutions has introduced a first-of-its-kind system that measures, assesses, evaluates and manages PPE. The system uses a cloud-based platform that leads to lengthening the lifespan of PPE items,
optimised usage and safer workplaces, while, at the same time, delivering a significant reduction in total cost of ownership.
The system is user-friendly and guarantees the integrity and quality of PPE inventory. Only certified products are incorporated into the system, resulting in an immediate reduction in risk.