Construction Safety Council
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration 29CFR 1910.137 paragraph
(b)(2)(ii) requires insulating equipment to be visually inspected
before use each day and immediately after any incident which might
be suspected of causing damage.
The ASTM Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Gloves states
that "Gloves shall be free on both inner and outer surface of harmful
irregularities that can be detected through testing and inspection."
Harmful irregularities are defined as any feature that disrupts the
uniform, smooth surface contour and represents a potential hazard
to the user, such as pinholes, cracks, blisters, cuts, conductive
embedded foreign matter, creases, pinch marks, voids (entrapped air),
prominent ripples, and mold marks. In addition, the OSHA Standard
29CFR1910.137 states that rubber gloves must be subjected to an air
test along with the inspection.
In the field, the test can be done by either rolling the cuff towards
the palm so that air is entrapped within the glove or with the use
of a mechanical inflator. The following information outlines a procedure
on how to perform a field air test and inspection by either rolling
the cuff or using a glove inflator.
Rolling the cuff:
Using a glove inflator:
- Grab the glove by the cuff, flip it around several times
to make a seal, and then roll the glove toward the fingers. An air
pocket will form within the glove.
- Hold tightly the rolled portion of the glove and inspect
the inflated exterior of the glove for cracking or any degradation
of the insulating material surface. Forcing air into the glove will
expose any damage to the insulating material that might otherwise
not be seen when performing only a visual inspection. In addition,
you will also want to carefully inspect the glove for any holes in
the insulating material. To inspect for a hole in the glove, hold
the glove close to your ear. If you hear air escaping from the glove
or if the glove will not hold pressure, the glove is damaged and shall
be removed from service.
To release the glove, roll the O-ring down from the bead of the glove.
The glove can then be easily removed from the inflator.
- Place the glove around the top of the inflator. The glove
is in place when the bead of the glove is seated in the groove of
- Roll the o-ring up and over the bead of the glove.
- Inflate the glove by pumping the bellows of the glove inflator
against a hard surface.
- Inspect the glove for air leaks and cracking or degradation
of the insulating material.
Any glove that shows signs of surface degradation, or has a hole in
the insulation, shall be immediately removed from service and either
discarded or returned to a testing facility to be tested in accordance
with the ASTM Standards D120-87 as specified by OSHA.
While the roll up method is still a widely accepted common practice,
the use of a glove inflator inflates the entire glove thus permitting
a much better inspection of the entire surface area of the glove.
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