Electricity is dangerous. This is common knowledge. But professional electricians cannot avoid electrical currents. They have to work with devices that generate and transmit electricity, so they wear rubber gloves.
Does Rubber Gloves Stop Electricity?
- Rubber gloves stop electricity but rubber objects may conduct electricity if you expose them to a sufficiently strong voltage source such as power lines.
- A wet rubber glove can electrocute you if you touch it because the water conducts electricity.
- Rubber gloves don’t stop electricity unless they are made of pure (100 Percent) rubber. Rubber that manufacturers mix with cheaper, conductive material won’t protect you from electricity.
For that reason, you have to handle energized objects with ordinary cleaning gloves because the manufacturer mixed the rubber with materials that can conduct electricity.
Rubber shoes have the same problem. Because pure rubber produces thin soles, the soles of many shoes blend rubber with additional materials. Therefore, you cannot trust the rubber sole of an ordinary shoe to prevent electrocution.
Any current that exceeds ten milliamperes can cause severe shock. Currents ranging from 100 to 200 milliamperes will kill you.
Once that current exceeds 200 milliamperes, you can expect severe burns and loss of consciousness. Though, the victim may survive if you take immediate action.
Currents of 1000mA and above will cause muscle contractions, preventing you from letting go of the wire. As you can see, electrocution is not a laughing matter. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by wearing gloves.
Will Wearing Rubber Gloves Prevent Electric Shock?
You can prevent electric shock by wearing gloves. But the rubber gloves you find in the average electrician’s toolkit use leather. While the rubber defends against electricity, the leather protects against cuts and abrasions.
This added layer of protection matters because rubber gloves can only prevent electrocution if they are whole. They can’t have any tears or holes.
Manufacturers these days usually mix rubber with additional material. That extra material compromises the rubber gloves because, in many cases, it is cheap and conductive. You have to be aware of it.
A puncture in a rubber glove will expose the consumer to the threat of electrocution. But the heavy-duty leather prevents holes from developing in the rubber gloves.
Some people wear leather gloves on top of rubber gloves before touching energized objects. Others wear leather gloves with a rubber lining inside.
It is worth noting that leather is porous. As such, it absorbs moisture quite easily, which is problematic because wet leather provides less insulation than dry leather.
Why Do Electricians Wear Rubber Gloves?
- Electricians wear rubber gloves because they encounter live high voltage situations all the time. Because people expect them to handle energized wires and devices, they have to take precautions to defend against electrocution.
- Rubber gloves provide adequate protection against electric shock because they are bad electrical conductors. They won’t permit electricity to flow through them.
- Materials won’t conduct electricity unless they have free electrons, and fortunately, rubber doesn’t have free electrons. Touching a conductive material with your bare hand will permit an electrical current to flow through your body.
Some currents are too small to cause significant burns. However, they can disrupt the rhythm of your heart if they pass through the organ, killing you in the process. This is why consumers are discouraged from working on electrical devices without switching the power off.
If you must perform repairs on an energized device, call an electrician. They have the training and the tools to replace faulty outlets, fix malfunctioning breakers, repair light sockets, and the like without exposing their bodies to high voltage.
Some people don’t realize that electricians use rubber gloves because the gloves look like leather. In truth, electricians use a combination of rubber and leather.
On its own, the rubber will protect you from electrocution, but your hands are still vulnerable to cuts and abrasions. If a sharp object tears a hole through your rubber gloves, that hole will compromise the rubber’s protective capabilities, exposing you to the threat of electrocution.
But if you have leather in the gloves, the leather will provide an additional layer of protection, preventing the gloves from ripping open whenever you handle objects with sharp edges.
You don’t have to become complacent simply because they have rubber gloves.
First of all, if the current touches any other unprotected part of your body, it can still kill you.
Secondly, thin rubber gloves may permit some of the current to flow through your body if you encounter a massive volume of electricity. Wet and sweaty hands are just as problematic because they may attract electricity.
What Kind of Gloves Protect Against Electricity?
You can’t just use any random glove to protect your body from electricity. Gardening gloves cannot prevent the flow of electricity, and neither can your cleaning gloves.
To identify suitable gloves for electrical work, you have to keep two factors in mind:
Use Class 1, 2 or 3 Gloves
I want you to start by looking at the rating. Rubber insulating gloves have ratings that reveal the situations they can defend against.
You can use class 1 gloves to work on 7,500V AC, class 2 on 17,000V AC, class 3 on 26,500V AC, etc.
Try to match the rating of the glove to the voltage of the circuit in question. Don’t expect every rubber glove to offer the same level of protection.
Use Leather Gloves On Top of Rubber Gloves
Take the material into consideration. It isn’t enough to look for gloves with rubber. You have to take into account other problems that rubber cannot solve. For instance, rubber cannot protect your hands from cuts. You need gloves that use leather on top of the rubber.
Additionally, you don’t want the gloves to get too wet from sweat, which is why many electricians look for rubber gloves with cotton lining that absorbs the sweat.
While rubber insulating gloves are common among electricians, you can also use the following:
If you have rubber gloves, you can wear leather gloves on top of the rubber gloves. Leather gloves resist the flow of electricity. However, their insulating properties are not as efficient as those of rubber.
- Lineman Work Gloves
You can use Lineman work gloves. People use them when they have to perform complicated tasks such as climbing an electrical pole because the gloves are durable. They also offer a robust and slip-resistant grip.
I also recommend Nitrile gloves because they offer electrical resistance, a firm grip, and dexterity.