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Plumber (for electrons)
Industrial Electrician. EE Student
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I'm curious what you all consider essential PPE to be worn daily. I know this surely varies a lot depending on work environment and safety requirements on site, but a few insights would be interesting to take a look at.

In my role as an industrial electrician, we aren't required to wear any flash-rated PPE daily nor EH-rated boots, but eye protection is required. Personally, I wear CAT2-rated long-sleeve shirts and cargo pants with a cotton undershirt, prescription safety glasses, and always have a set of earplugs under my collar.

What do you guys typically run with? If you have any reasons for wearing a certain type of gear or foregoing another, I'm curious to see where everybody stands on the matter. Any insight into your workplace or employer's requirements would be interesting too.
 

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Coffee drinking member
I pretwist and then use wire nuts. Solder pots rule.
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If there is one thing that I feel is most important, that would be EH rated boots.

To often I see workers with tacks, screws, and cracked soles.
I don't like the idea of being nicely grounded when I make a mistake and receive a shock.

The rest of the PPE is basic, eye wear, hearing protection, cotton, lid, arc flash gear, ect, ect.. It's all based on what I'm doing.
 

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Scada Supervisor
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Steel toes at all times ( or electrical equal ). Other protection as needed by job. We only deal with mostly 120V and lower.
Cowboy
 

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Electrical Contractor
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Boots for me. And as JTC says other as required.
 

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I am in the Oil and Gas side of things, so our policies are a bit more strict than others, and they're not overly flexible with them. We have to wear clothing containing natural fibers underneath a pair of Nomex coveralls with an HRC2 rating (10 cal rating). Electric shock resistant steel toed boots, or composite for the winter. Leather, nitrile, cut resistant or other task appropriate gloves, with very few exceptions to not wear them. Rated safety glasses and a hard hat is pretty much the minimum.
I've got molded ear plugs that I've worn for years. If needed, I'll add a pair of ear muffs on my lid, depending on the noise level. Due to the H2S gas in our areas, we also wear a 4 head gas monitor. Our company also has a work alone policy, and we wear a Loner device that monitors for fall events, no motion, etc. In the back seat of my truck in an SCBA (air pack). Then for live work, until a system is proven de-energized, there is the faceshield, gloves, and up to the nuke suit for some of the isolations.
 

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Basic for us is short sleeve carhartt shirt, long carhartt or duluth pants, EH boots with safety toes, vest and a hardhat, ear and eye pro on us or in our bags.



Some sites our base level goes up to fr coveralls or chem gear if we're in a chem plant and often our individual air meters and radios with PASS are a must too.



Pretty much all of our water plants have gotten rid of their gas chlorination so I don't really have to worry about SCBA's anymore, that was always our main reason for them.
 

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Chief Flunky
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If there is one thing that I feel is most important, that would be EH rated boots.

To often I see workers with tacks, screws, and cracked soles.
I don't like the idea of being nicely grounded when I make a mistake and receive a shock.

The rest of the PPE is basic, eye wear, hearing protection, cotton, lid, arc flash gear, ect, ect.. It's all based on what I'm doing.

They don’t work that way. EH boots are not tested so are not considered PPE. They are suggested if there might be a remote chance of exposure but anyone doing live work, even testing for absence of voltage, should avoid them. The problem is the stupid boot companies keep adding them everywhere because it’s cheap and because Certified Risk Assessment Professionals (CRAP) also known as safety departments keep pushing them without knowing what they are talking about.

An EH boot has a thin (1-2 mils) plastic or rubber liner as one of the layers in the sole. The material is tested, not the boot, ONCE in a lab. If it works at all even the stitching goes right through it. It isn’t tested for wear and use so it’s anybody’s guess if it will ever work. This is completely different from dielectric overboots (DI) which are tested just like rubber gloves, sleeves, blankets, and line hose.

EH boots if they work are like DI boots and bucket trucks. There are two issues with using them if they work. The first issue is if you are wearing them in an electrical field you become what is known as a floating object. They are called secondary insulation. Your gloves or hot stick or meter probes or insulated tools are primary protection. In this condition you are not grounded. Your potential is somewhere between line and ground voltage. Everything is determined by dielectric (capacitive) properties which are not tested. So the assumption is that for instance if I have on all my stuff and I say move an energized wire out of the way at say 2300 V with my gloves on, no problem right? If I’m grounded, yes. The gloves should be rated for at least 2300 V, such as class 1s, so no problem. But with EH boots on they are only rated for 600 V and it’s all capacities so if the voltage division works out against me I might only have a couple hundred bolts across the gloves but a couple thousand over my 600 V rated boots. So I get a nasty shock from the capacitors blowing out the boots then we get back to the normal situation. This is even a problem if you touch the cabinet or your buddy or tools on the ground. You have to treat everything as energized in all directions when you are insulated from ground. In the event of an arc, it gets worse. Arcs with capacitors can build up charges to way above line voltage almost instantly until the insulation fails. So even in lower voltage situations don’t count on the boots doing anything. But they are generally a bad idea above 600 V. If there is any actual hazard DI boots are required although I strongly suggest task redesign. Use equipotential grounding mats since OSHA requires equipotential grounding now anyways and there is no hazard. The biggest concern where DI boots are used is GPR (ground potential rise) which is eliminated on conductive surfaces.

The second problem is when we aren’t gloved up because we aren’t expecting voltage anyway. This is where it gets even more dangerous. If you were to touch say a panel that is ungrounded with a fault you could get a shock that goes from your hand through your feet. It will hurt and may do damage but most likely you will live. With EH boots this can’t happen. Instead you get no shock at first. Plus the breaker won’t trip anymore because everything is insulated. But if your other hand touches anything grounded not only do you get a shock but it passes right through the middle of your chest instead of down the side. You have a much, much higher chance of fibrillation your heart in this condition. So you increased the risk dramatically in situations under 600 V.
 

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Coffee drinking member
I pretwist and then use wire nuts. Solder pots rule.
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They don’t work that way. EH boots are not tested so are not considered PPE. They are suggested if there might be a remote chance of exposure but anyone doing live work, even testing for absence of voltage, should avoid them. The problem is the stupid boot companies keep adding them everywhere because it’s cheap and because Certified Risk Assessment Professionals (CRAP) also known as safety departments keep pushing them without knowing what they are talking about.

An EH boot has a thin (1-2 mils) plastic or rubber liner as one of the layers in the sole. The material is tested, not the boot, ONCE in a lab. If it works at all even the stitching goes right through it. It isn’t tested for wear and use so it’s anybody’s guess if it will ever work. This is completely different from dielectric overboots (DI) which are tested just like rubber gloves, sleeves, blankets, and line hose.

EH boots if they work are like DI boots and bucket trucks. There are two issues with using them if they work. The first issue is if you are wearing them in an electrical field you become what is known as a floating object. They are called secondary insulation. Your gloves or hot stick or meter probes or insulated tools are primary protection. In this condition you are not grounded. Your potential is somewhere between line and ground voltage. Everything is determined by dielectric (capacitive) properties which are not tested. So the assumption is that for instance if I have on all my stuff and I say move an energized wire out of the way at say 2300 V with my gloves on, no problem right? If I’m grounded, yes. The gloves should be rated for at least 2300 V, such as class 1s, so no problem. But with EH boots on they are only rated for 600 V and it’s all capacities so if the voltage division works out against me I might only have a couple hundred bolts across the gloves but a couple thousand over my 600 V rated boots. So I get a nasty shock from the capacitors blowing out the boots then we get back to the normal situation. This is even a problem if you touch the cabinet or your buddy or tools on the ground. You have to treat everything as energized in all directions when you are insulated from ground. In the event of an arc, it gets worse. Arcs with capacitors can build up charges to way above line voltage almost instantly until the insulation fails. So even in lower voltage situations don’t count on the boots doing anything. But they are generally a bad idea above 600 V. If there is any actual hazard DI boots are required although I strongly suggest task redesign. Use equipotential grounding mats since OSHA requires equipotential grounding now anyways and there is no hazard. The biggest concern where DI boots are used is GPR (ground potential rise) which is eliminated on conductive surfaces.

The second problem is when we aren’t gloved up because we aren’t expecting voltage anyway. This is where it gets even more dangerous. If you were to touch say a panel that is ungrounded with a fault you could get a shock that goes from your hand through your feet. It will hurt and may do damage but most likely you will live. With EH boots this can’t happen. Instead you get no shock at first. Plus the breaker won’t trip anymore because everything is insulated. But if your other hand touches anything grounded not only do you get a shock but it passes right through the middle of your chest instead of down the side. You have a much, much higher chance of fibrillation your heart in this condition. So you increased the risk dramatically in situations under 600 V.
I agree with all of what you wrote.
But as the first layer of protection, the boots come first. It's the basic start even for getting out of the truck. Flip flops don't count.
After that it's all based on the requirements of the task to be preformed.

I'm sure you started out working on live gear back in the old days. I'm also sure you were told to always treat everything as if it was energized. Like the old timer told me early on, "if you can't see the other end of the wire as your striping it, treat it as live."
 

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Estwing magic
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I wear composite toe boots because steel gets cold in the winter. And, yeah, they don’t conduct electricity. Like most guys (I presume), hard hat, high vis vest, coveralls, hearing protection, etc., stay in the truck unless required.

The best protection, like if a guy is jackhammering beside you, is to leave and come back.
 

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Tennis shoes, Levis and a shirt anything from a T-shirt to a dress shirt depending where I am going.

Today I was at a pumping station, I wore Tennis shoes, Levis and a long john type top.
 

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I'm curious what you all consider essential PPE to be worn daily. I know this surely varies a lot depending on work environment and safety requirements on site, but a few insights would be interesting to take a look at.

In my role as an industrial electrician, we aren't required to wear any flash-rated PPE daily nor EH-rated boots, but eye protection is required. Personally, I wear CAT2-rated long-sleeve shirts and cargo pants with a cotton undershirt, prescription safety glasses, and always have a set of earplugs under my collar.

What do you guys typically run with? If you have any reasons for wearing a certain type of gear or foregoing another, I'm curious to see where everybody stands on the matter. Any insight into your workplace or employer's requirements would be interesting too.
I recently had an "OSHA" required class. I think it was a number 30. Also, once every 3-years we are required to have NFPA-70e...IIRC. In any case, we and you are required to wear a minimum of "Risk Cat-1" long sleeve shirt and pants. IF I understand these regulations correctly. This is to minimize burn in an Arc Flash event. Also, suppose to have hard hat with face shield and balaclava too. Currently my employer requires us to wear this stupid office shirt and slacks which are "Risk Cat-0". I did have some "Risk Cat-1" shirts that where excepted several years ago. I liked them because they where "summer weight" and worked great inside/outside in humid hot temperatures. Through out the facility the panels all now have various ratings, numbers, distances. In some cases it's obvious such as switching/racking in/out 34.5KV. For the bigger stuff we have a few "Risk Cat-4" blast (moon looking) suits. More recently, my employer bought us some "Risk Cat-2" shirt and pant. These are really nice and the sizes are spot on, which includes long sleeves that are actually LONG sleeves. However, because of cost, they only bought us one shirt and one pant. We are suppose to drive back to the shop and change, if the work area requires it. No-one does that, but I'll wear it for 2-days (cooler non-sweaty weather) then wash, repeat. The rules out there are changing faster than most can keep up. Some of it might be overkill, but then again it's your skin(life) so use as much as you can stand and always turn the power off when possible. Don't let some Manger tell you otherwise, make them do it and see what happens.
 

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My employer requires steel-toe (or composite) work boots. Hi-viz safety vests are optional, though encouraged. When dealing with excessive and/or hazardous dust, appropriate eyewear and masks are also included on the required list...
 

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Indusctrial Constructiona and a fringe of residential and commercial service
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Doing maintenance electrical rated steel toe boots; safety glasses (mine are prescription) and gloves. Add hard hat for construction and usually sites require high vis and long sleeves or HRC ratings.
 

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@Thomas111 please update your profile including and especially your Electrical Trade by clicking your Avatar and selecting Account Settings.
Thanks and be safe.
 

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I never understood how steel toe could be colder than composite toe? Ten degrees is ten degrees. It shouldn’t matter what the material? Does one transfer heat/cold quicker? So your boot will get to ten degrees a minute faster with one compared to the other? Does it mater if your going to be outside for hours. Cold is ****ing cold!
 

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The conductivity of the material will determine whether you perceive warm or cold.
Ceramic tile on your floor is the same temperature as the carpet, but walk from the carpet to tile in bare feet and the tile feels colder.
That's because the tile conducts heat from your feet moreso than the carpet.
 
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