OSHA testing intervals for rubber insulating gloves
Electrical protective equipment – testing intervals for rubber insulating gloves
August 19, 2020
Mark R. Jaminet, SFC
249th Engineer Battalion, USACE
9450 Jackson Loop, Building 1416
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060
Dear Sgt. Jaminet:
Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You requested clarification regarding the testing intervals for rubber insulating gloves as required in Table I-5 of 29 CFR § 1910.137, Electrical protective equipment. Your paraphrased scenario and questions follow.
Scenario: The military Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC)1 provides specifications-derived from the OSHA standard-for testing electrical personal protective equipment. The UFC’s 3-560-01 (12 February 2018) Table 5-2, which is nearly identical to 29 CFR § 1910.137, Table I-5, describes required testing intervals for such equipment, along with examples. One of the examples notes that gloves tested on January 1, 2016 but not issued until October 1, 2016…must be removed from service by January 1, 2017…two months from the issue date but 12 months from the test date.2
Question 1: Is the noted example correct, that rubber insulating gloves must be tested every 12 months when in service, even if they were issued only three months prior?
Response 1: Yes. According to OSHA’s Table I-5, rubber insulating gloves must be tested before first issue and every six months thereafter; and also upon indication that insulating value is suspect, after repair, and after use without protectors. For insulating gloves, the standard clarifies that if the gloves have been electrically tested but not issued for service, they may not be placed into service unless they have been electrically tested within the previous 12 months. However, as explained in OSHA’s Electrical eTool, under regular use, the best practice is to test gloves as frequently as monthly.
As you may know, in addition to the requirements in the UFC, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE’s) Safety and Health Requirements Manual, EM 385 1-1, paragraph 05.I.03, requires periodic electrical testing for rubber protective equipment.3 For rubber insulating gloves EM 385-1-1 requires such inspection and testing before first issue and every 6 months thereafter.
Question 2: What does OSHA consider to be “first issue” for the rubber insulating gloves?
Response 2: OSHA considers “first issue” to be when the new gloves are removed from their original, manufacturer’s packaging. Even if the gloves are simply electrically tested and then returned to storage, OSHA regards the gloves as being issued for use.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of only the documents, standards, and policies discussed above. Please note that our guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules and that from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA’s website at www.osha.gov. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mikki Holmes, Acting Director for OSHA’s Office of Federal Agency Programs, at (202) 693-2122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patrick J. Kapust, Acting Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA’s website at https://www.osha.gov.
DOL-OSHA-DEP-2020-009 – This document does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.
1 The Department of Defense explains that the Unified Facilities Criteria provide planning, design, construction, sustainment, restoration, and modernization criteria that are applicable to the Military Departments, Defense Agencies, and DoD Field Activities.
2 OSHA notes that the correct time span would be three months, if using the UFC guidelines.
3 The USACE’s EM 385 1-1 prescribes the safety and health requirements for all Corps of Engineers activities and operations.
See the HazComReady list of OSHA interpretations.