Why is arc-rated hand protection important for electrical workers?
Arc ratings are determined using a distance of 12 inches from an open air arc. However, the qualified electrical worker’s hands are much closer to the arc while working, and the configuration and positioning can differ. While rubber electrical gloves are typically given voltage ratings, they have not typically been arc-rated due to an exemption in this standard. Leather protector gloves meeting ASTM F696 have also not been typically given arc ratings due to this exemption.
ASTM 2675-19 changes this with pressure from the electric utility industry and most of the best manufacturers.
The standard also introduces “ignition withstand”. This new protocol will allow gloves to be tested above their rating to see if they will melt and/or drip of it added parts like cuffs, cinches or impact protection will catastrophically fail. This is not an issue for most arc-rated gloves. But now, with the new standard, workers can be even more sure.
Don’t forget to clean your gloves properly (or remove from service when badly contaminated)! Contaminants such as gasoline, diesel fuel, transformer oil, hydraulic oil and grease may eliminate or greatly reduce the rating.
Arc ratings do not mean the glove has shock protection.
Use proper shock protection. For tasks that are in an electrically safe work condition, arc-rated gloves provide ease of mind. For tasks which have no shock hazard but may have an arc flash hazard, arc-rated gloves are an excellent protective strategy for your arc-rated PPE.
Update Feb. 18, 2019: New Article
Specifying Arc-Rated and Flame-Resistant Gloves, by Hugh Hoagland and Stacy Klausing