PPE Care and Inspection

The NFPA 70E Article 130.7(B) Care of Equipment and Table 130.7(C)(7)(c). requirements state that PPE should be inspected before and after each use, and be repaired, cleaned or laundered according to the manufacturer's instructions prior to use. Normal use; the putting on and taking off of PPE clothing and equipment, the damage that may occur to fabric and materials, the laundering and cleaning, all eventually contribute to the deterioration and shorten the expected lifespan. Certain PPE must be periodically inspected and recorded to ensure they remain in a safe, reliable condition, and if found not to be, immediately removed from service and replaced.

 

Note that even a pin size hole in PPE can allow electrical energy to penetrate or diminish its overall effectiveness.

Inspection

Arc Rated FR Clothing

Inspect arc rated FR clothing, per the manufacturer's instructions, visually before each use to ensure that the clothing is not soiled or contaminated with grease, oil, flammable liquid, or combustible materials.

  • The clothing must be free from tears, cuts, or rips.
  • Check if the rating of the FR clothing is voided (presence of materials discussed above).

Gloves

  • Visual inspection
  • Inflation
  • Reverse glove, inspect inside (repeat inversion)
  • Store in appropriate bag
  • Glove conditioners prolong the effectiveness
  • V-rated gloves must be inspected prior to use by the user and be tested/certified every 6 months.
  • Moisture absorbing powders may be used to improve safety and comfort.

Other PPE Equipment: Follow manufacturer's recommendations.

Storage

PPE must be stored in a manner to prevent physical damage and damage from moisture, UV rays, dust, or other deteriorating agents or contamination from flammable or combustible materials.

  • Consult manufacturer's recommendations
  • Utilize manufacturer provided storage containers

Cleaning, Repairing and Affixing Items

Arc rated FR clothing and other arc-rated PPE must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and must be cleaned and maintained as defined by the clothing manufacturer.

  • Workers laundering their own PPE must follow those instruction that generally require different wash/rinse cycles than are used for household washing.
    • FR clothing may have restrictions on temperature settings, use of bleaches and hydrogen peroxides, starch and fabric softeners.
  • When using a laundry service, the laundry facility must be aware of the FR clothing manufacturer's laundering instructions that must be implemented with regard to retaining the FR characteristics.
  • If FR clothing is shared by workers, consider health aspects of shared PPE when determining cleaning frequency.
  • When FR clothing is repaired, the same FR materials used to manufacture the FR clothing shall be used to complete repairs.
  • Do not attach or affix any metallic or non-metallic items such as labels, pins, emblems, etc., to PPE unless authorized to do so.
  • When trim, name tags, patches or labels are affixed to FR clothing, guidance in American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F 1506, Standard Performance Specification for Textile Material for Wearing Apparel for Use by Electrical Workers Exposed to Momentary Electric Arc and Related Thermal Hazards, shall be followed. They also must be made of arc-rated, FR material.

 

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Figure 1: Gloves and Glove Storage Bag

 

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Figure 2: Insulated Glove Inflator