From the September/October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®
By Jeffrey Sargent
When we talk about personal protective equipment, we typically picture arc-rated clothing, face shields, insulated gloves, and balaclavas. Insulated tools, non-conductive ladders, rubber insulating mats, and protective temporary grounding equipment also fit into the broader category of equipment designed to protect employees against electrical hazards.
The use of such equipment is determined through a shock hazard and/or arc flash hazard analysis. But how many workers conduct a shock hazard analysis before plugging in a portable electric tool or some other piece of equipment?
Unfortunately, the answer suggests that the awareness of the shock hazard for this type of work environment does not match that for a task such as working on an energized piece of electrical equipment. Many workers who will never be exposed to a shock hazard while working on energized electrical equipment will, in fact, be exposed to a shock hazard by using a faulty portable tool, appliance, cord, or other item in a wet, damp, or similarly conductive environment.