Author Topic: Do disposable nitrile gloves provide shock protection?  (Read 63705 times)

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Offline calzapTopic starter

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Do disposable nitrile gloves provide shock protection?
« on: February 17, 2016, 06:23:30 am »
For a variety of reasons, I often wear disposable nitrile gloves when working in the shop.  We do far more wood, metal and plastic work than electrical work, so the primary reasons to wear them are to avoid ordinary dirt and grime, and also protection from splinters, adhesives, paint, grease, etc.  However, it has occurred that they may offer some protection from inadvertently touching energized conductors and components of voltages 240 and under.  I would never deliberately touch an energized conductor or component likely to have more than 12 volts, gloves or no. 

So I did a literature search on the subject and found that it's a topic dear to those who use cardiac defibrillators.  Chest compression is a valuable procedure in cardiac resuscitation, but it has to be interrupted when a defibrillator is applied to avoid shock to rescue personnel.  It's the  "Clear!" scene in countless dramas.  So, the question was whether ordinary exam gloves provide sufficient protection to personnel to allow compression to continue during defibrillation.  The answer is no, as the studies cited below illustrate.  Class 1 gloves or an insulating blanket have to be used.  Most ambulances and hospitals don't have these, so "Clear!" is still the common procedure.

However, defibrillators spew out 1000-5000 V, whereas ordinary residential and light commercial mains are 240 V or less.  Do disposable nitrile gloves provide protection for these voltages?   Yes, but with qualifications.  First, the gloves have to remain physically intact, but they are easily punctured.  Put one on and push a tuft of stranded wire against your finger.  You'll probably feel a copper point or two on your skin.  Second, while manufacturers may give a limited guarantee of  lack of holes for new gloves intended for the medical market, there is no guarantee or specification for electrical resistance.  The gloves are intended to prevent transmission of microbes, not electrons.

How is resistance of a glove measured?  For details, read the cited articles.  Briefly, there are two techniques.  One is to put the glove on a metal hand and lay it on a piece of sheet metal.  Then measure resistance.  The other is to fill the glove with saline and put an electrode in it, then place the glove assembly in a saline bath with an electrode.  Then measure resistance between the electrodes.
In study #1 below, which examined nitrile and gloves of other compositions (vinyl, latex, etc.), in no case was the current more than 1 mA at 500 V or less.  Study #1 used the metal hand technique.  In study #2, the worst case was 60 k? using the saline technique.  At 240 V, this would be only 4 mA. 

So, I will continue to wear nitrile gloves when dealing with live electrical circuitry but try to behave as though I have bare hands.  It's important to guard against a psychological effect called risk compensation by actuaries.   It's the tendency of people to engage in riskier behavior when they know a safeguard has been added to a system.

In the US,  the Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule for protective equipment for voltages 300 and less from any distance is "Avoid Contact."  In other words, no gloves or other protective equipment required.  Individual states and localities and other countries may have more stringent rules.

I've watched hundreds of electronics videos on youtube, and it's uncommon to see gloves of any kind worn when the presenter is working with exposed mains or other high voltages.

Citations:

1. Will medical examination gloves protect rescuers from defibrillation voltages during hands-on defibrillation?  Sullivan JL, Chapman FW.  Resuscitation. 2012 Dec;83(12):1467-72

2.  Do clinical examination gloves provide adequate electrical insulation for safe hands-on defibrillation? I: Resistive properties of nitrile gloves.  Deakin CD, Lee-Shrewsbury V, Hogg K, Petley GW.  Resuscitation. 2013 Jul;84(7):895-9.
Two sections of abstract of above article:
Methods:
Clinical examination gloves (Kimberly Clark KC300 Sterling nitrile) worn by members of hospital cardiac arrest teams were collected immediately following termination of resuscitation. To determine the level of protection afforded by visually intact gloves, electrical resistance across the glove was measured by applying a DC voltage across the glove and measuring subsequent resistance.
Results:
Forty new unused gloves (control) were compared with 28 clinical (non-CPR) gloves and 128 clinical (CPR) gloves. One glove in each group had a visible tear and was excluded from analysis. Control gloves had a minimum resistance of 120 k? (median 190 k?) compared with 60 k? in clinical gloves (both CPR (median 140 k?) and non-CPR groups (median 160 k?)).

3.  Do clinical examination gloves provide adequate electrical insulation for safe hands-on defibrillation? II: Material integrity following exposure to defibrillation waveforms.  Petley GW, Deakin CD.  Resuscitation. 2013 Jul;84(7):900-3.

4.  Achieving safe hands-on defibrillation using electrical safety gloves – A clinical evaluation.    Charles D. Deakin, Jakob E. Thomsena, Bo Løfgrenb, Graham W. Petleye.  Resuscitation. 2015 May;90:163-7.

Mike in California

 
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Offline sarepairman2

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Re: Do disposable nitrile gloves provide shock protection?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2016, 06:50:11 am »
I would not because if you get a plasma it will melt the gloves to your hands, boil and give you a nasty plastic vapor burn.

Also, your hands will sweat under the gloves. You want clean dry hands when working with electrical. Or proper high voltage gloves. Sweaty hands under gloves = when the gloves get penetrated you are more susceptible to hot electron death.

Defibrillator is current limited so you can get away with it, it won't make a nasty high energy spark. And you are not likely to have any sharp objects that can penetrate a glove when you are working with a defibrillator unless you are trying to resuscitate someone patterned with fragmentation.

I'm sure you will notice that most electronics enclosures have lots of sharp edges etc.

I recently found myself working on my distribution box while wearing nitrile gloves and I had a very strong sense of unease.

Any kind of liquid (oil, water, etc) and most plastics will melt/vaporize in a spark and that hot vapor will do wonders in turning a shock into a nasty burn. If you have damp cotton gloves or such the same can happen.


You should have a separate clean work area for dealing with high energy circuits anyway.


Also keep in mind that proper high voltage gloves, like lineman gloves, are designed to protect the user when they are working on live circuits designed to be used with that protective equipment in mind. It is extremely bulky. The designers of that kind of industrial stuff take into account that the technician will be basically a knight. Using that kind of equipment to repair small stuff would not work well.

I think the most importance thing about working on mains stuff is good goggles or face shield, for small live stuff my biggest concern is some kind of power component exploding and hitting you with fragmentation. Easy to get blind this way.

Wearing some kind of densely woven cloth gloves or leather gloves will help of course, so long you keep them clean and you feel comfortable using them dexterity wise.

Get yourself good probes too, that you can control the amount of exposure you have to prevent an accidental short circuit.
http://www.amazon.com/Pomona-5953A-Retractable-Adjustable-Needle/dp/B005T7NXS0

Also, depending on your mood, you might react with fear/recoil to a electrical explosion that happens in your face, so keeping the immediate area clean of obstructions/trip hazards is a good idea, so you don't recoil in horror and impale yourself on something. If I am expecting an explosion/focused then it can happen in my face and I wont move a muscle. However if I am distracted/upset about something/talking to someone I will react in a jumpy manner. Anyone can get scared by a loud noise/flash/heat when they are in the right mindset, especially when coupled with pain from burns and electricity.

It sounds like you would benefit more from braided electrical cords and electrical safety inspections in your work environment more so then gloves.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 07:13:21 am by sarepairman2 »
 
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Offline Fungus

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Re: Do disposable nitrile gloves provide shock protection?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2016, 09:47:49 am »
I wouldn't think they'll help much. They're too thin to provide real protection and your hands will be much more sweaty underneath.

Try something like gardening gloves instead.

PS: If gloved hands are coming into contact with live wires then you're doing it wrong. Gloves aren't a substitute for method and discipline unless you're a cowboy (or a Romanian electric meter bypasser).

« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 09:50:19 am by Fungus »
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Do disposable nitrile gloves provide shock protection?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2022, 01:38:26 pm »
Unless the gloves are specified for use when handling live conductors, you should definitely not use them for that purpose, especially with mains. They are far too easy to puncture on a sharp edge.


EDIT: I didn't notice - this is a 2016 thread, bumped by a newbie.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2022, 01:44:46 pm by Gyro »
Best Regards, Chris
 

Online magic

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Re: Do disposable nitrile gloves provide shock protection?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2022, 01:46:23 pm »
You are debating a spammer, look at the username and signature ;)
I have reported that post, it will probably disappear soon.
 

Offline Terry Bites

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Re: Do disposable nitrile gloves provide shock protection?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2022, 02:01:43 pm »
Marco Reps looks very sexiful in nitrile but don't get too excited.

Thin gloves dont give much protection and can't be relied upon. A tiny puncure or tear will make them useless.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2022, 05:10:27 pm by Terry Bites »
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Do disposable nitrile gloves provide shock protection?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2022, 02:07:52 pm »
You are debating a spammer, look at the username and signature ;)
I have reported that post, it will probably disappear soon.

Oh yes, I spotted the bump but not the name/sig - I don't think I'm going to be buying safety products from them!  :-DD
Best Regards, Chris
 


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