Insulating Safety Blankets 101

Arc suppression and high-voltage insulating safety blankets play a critical role in safeguarding workers, equipment, and system integrity in environments with energized electrical components. These blanket barriers are available in various styles and sizes to provide optimal protection from electrical arcing and shocks. At Burlington Safety Laboratory Inc., we offer an array of safety blankets and accessories to prevent electrical fires and enhance worker and operational safety.

Safety Blanket Benefits

Safety blankets complement personal protective equipment (PPE). Arc suppression and low-voltage insulating blankets, two main safety blanket varieties, offer multiple advantages.

Arc Suppression Safety Blanket Benefits
These safety blankets are advantageous for:

  • Improving personnel and equipment safety. Arc faults from faulty wiring or overheated devices can cause substantial damage to property and equipment, not to mention worker injury or death. Using arc suppression blankets helps deflect or absorb the energy and heat that escape when arcing occurs for optimal protection of workers and vulnerable equipment.
  • Minimizing downtime. The above safety factors have the added benefit of helping to prevent unscheduled downtime in connected equipment, along with any accompanying productivity and revenue losses. This also supports a longer lifespan in electrical equipment.
  • Reducing fire risk. By limiting the effect of an arc fault or blast event, safety blankets help prevent ignition and combustion, lowering the risk of electrical fires.

Low-Voltage Insulating Safety Blanket Benefits
Low-voltage blankets also provide optimal protection, with their benefits including:

  • Providing shock protection. When workers unintentionally come into contact with electrical machinery, they can receive harmful electric shocks. Safety blankets prevent that direct contact from occurring through their electrically insulative properties.
  • Enabling versatile use. Given their flexible design and varied sizes, low-voltage insulating safety blankets are simple to use in covering or wrapping diverse electrical machinery.
  • Achieving regulatory compliance. Industry safety regulations covering personnel safety and fire prevention often require that companies use safety blankets or related barriers for compliant operations.

Safety Blanket Types

Our blankets are available in various types and styles depending on the necessary functionality. Selecting the appropriate one for your operation is vital for ensuring the blanket performs effectively. Options include:

  • Arc suppression blankets. These blankets are generally made up of layers of flame-resistant (FR) fibers and specialty materials such as aramid fibers like Kevlar®. They are designed to protect against the extreme hazards of arc flash and blast rather than specifically guarding against shocks.
  • Low-voltage insulating blankets. Low-voltage blankets typically consist of Type I natural rubber, Type II synthetic rubber such as neoprene or EPDM, or specialty polymer blends. They offer the flexibility, insulating properties, and strength necessary to protect against unwanted contact with electrical current and prevent shock.
  • Solid blankets. These flexible, tear-resistant blankets can have reinforced eyelets and beaded edging to lend them strength. Per ASTM standards, solid blankets are capable of retaining their dielectric strength and physical characteristics. Utilizing an EPDM blend, these high-quality blankets can also be resistant to ozone.
  • Slotted blankets. Slotted-style insulating blankets are available in Classes 2 and 4 for specialty applications, providing added versatility for improved coverage. They typically come in Type I natural rubber or a Type II polymer with added flexibility and superior weathering and aging resistance.
  • Blankets with and without hook and pile. These types of low-voltage insulating blankets are another option for covering energized machinery. They utilize hook and pile closures to fasten around equipment.
  • Roll blankets. These blankets come uncut in 30-foot-long rolls that are 36 inches wide. At their facility, a client can then easily cut the material into whatever size best suits their needs, thus providing a custom solution on-site.

Applications of Safety Blankets

Common environments for safety blankets include power plants, switchyards, manufacturing operations, telecommunications facilities, railroads, and more. They assist power line contractors, industrial workers, utility companies, and any organization looking for worker and equipment protection or electrical fire prevention.

Arc suppression blankets serve as flame-retardant suppression barriers for electrical devices like cables, circuit breakers, or transformers. Covering overloaded or short-circuiting equipment with them can quickly help limit arc or electrical fire spread. Low-voltage insulating blankets wrap around any electrical components or equipment at risk of arc flashes to protect employees from getting shocked while they work near live electrical machines. As the name suggests, they have insulating characteristics due to their material construction, which is typically rubber or a related insulator.

Safety Blankets From Burlington Safety Laboratory

Safety blankets protect against arc flashes or blasts and electrical shock, enhancing safety for workers and reducing incendiary risk. Burlington Safety Laboratory has spent over 50 years developing and supplying electrical safety equipment to diverse industries. From arc flash clothing and related PPE to safety blankets, grounding equipment, and line covers, we have the innovative products and inventory to deliver reliable solutions quickly. Contact us today for assistance in identifying the right solution for your electrical safety needs.

Arc Flash Clothing 101

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Arc Flash Clothing

Arc flash occurs when electric current deviates from its intended route, moving through the air instead from conductor to conductor. Workers in hazardous electrical settings need reliable personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe from heat, fire, and arc-related injuries. Burlington Safety Laboratory, Inc. supplies high-performance arc flash clothing for a variety of applications and industries.

What Is Arc Flash Clothing?

Both arc flashes and arc blast explosions can seriously injure or even kill unprotected employees. Protective clothing can insulate workers from harm by acting as a barrier against direct contact with electrical arcs. Arc flashing clothing for electricians mitigates the danger, and it complies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements and the following industry standards to protect wearers from multiple types of heat-related threats:

  •     ASTM F1506. This American Society for Testing and Materials standard covers the required performance for arc flash and flame-resistant clothing for workers potentially exposed to electrical arcs or flame.
  •     NFPA 70E. This standard, set forth by the National Fire Protection Association, regulates workplace electrical safety.

Flame-resistant clothing also helps protect workers by reducing the severity of injuries, but it’s not the same as arc flash clothing.

Arc Flash Clothing vs. Flame-Resistant Clothing

Electrical arc flash clothing and flame-resistant clothing provide two different tiers of protection. All arc flash protection clothing is rated to be flame-resistant. However, not all flame-resistant clothing offers reliable protection against arc flash.

To be considered flame-resistant, clothing must protect wearers from embers, open flame, or flash fires. It should not melt in the presence of heat, but instead act as thermal insulation against it. Flame-resistant fabrics should be able to self-extinguish if they catch fire or resist igniting altogether. To receive the flame-resistant distinction, manufacturers must thoroughly test the clothing to receive a rating based on the level of protection the fabric provides.

Arc flash clothing is an even higher distinction. It must meet all the standards of fire-resistant clothing, while also offering protection against live electricity and second-degree burns. Most electrical occupations require workers to wear arc flash clothing whenever they’re near components carrying 600V of energy or more. Manufacturers measure how much energy from repeated arc flashes the textiles can safeguard against before the wearer would receive second-degree burns to establish the tier or quality of the arc flash clothing.

At Burlington Safety Laboratory, we provide safety gear for extreme work environments that pose a fire and electrical risk to workers. The manufacturers use Nomex® thread and meet ASTM F1506 and NFPA 70E standards. Some of the safety products we provide include:

Applications and Industries

Workers in any environment where arc, flame, and heat hazards are present should wear arc flash safety clothing or flame-resistant shielding. Some of the applications and industries for which we supply protective gear include:

  • Electrical workers. These workers are continually exposed to high-voltage equipment that can arc or cause severe shocks and burns.
  • Construction labor force. In this industry, workers may be exposed to both electrical and open-flame hazards.
  • Miners and petroleum workers. Mining and petroleum facilities such as processing centers have high-heat environments that can pose a risk to workers.
  • Utility company employees. Work in power stations or along utility lines can be extremely dangerous without proper protection.
  • Data center workers. Large-scale data centers house heavy-duty electrical equipment that can present an electrical risk to on-site employees without proper protection.

Arc Flash and Flame-Resistant Clothing at Burlington Safety Laboratory

Burlington Safety Laboratory has specialized in protective gear for electrical and high-heat environments since 1971. We’re a leading distributor of arc flash clothing, flame-resistant equipment, and other items for customers in the utilities, telecommunications, railroad, power generation, and other industrial sectors. 

We keep a vast inventory of electrical safety and rubber protective equipment in stock and ready to ship from our three U.S. locations. Contact us today to learn more about our innovative arc flash clothing and kits, or browse through our online catalog to s

Electrical Safety Gloves 101

Electrical Insulated GlovesElectrical safety gloves are the first line of defense for technicians and electricians who work closely with electrical equipment. Although arc flash suits help to minimize injury, electrical gloves provide critical direct protection. For this reason, a variety of protective glove designs have been developed to ensure that workers can conduct installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical wiring and equipment with minimal risk. 

At Burlington Safety Laboratory, safety comes first. We offer a full selection of electrical safety gloves, including rubber gloves, liners, and leather protectors in a variety of safety ratings.

Electrical Safety Glove Components

Electrical Safety Gloves

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Electrical safety gloves are typically used in conjunction with an outer leather protector to prevent damage to the rubber gloves. Cotton inner liners can be added to provide additional comfort. Each item serves a purpose in protecting workers from electrical current. 

  • Rubber Insulating Gloves: Available in a wide range of colors and cuff styles, rubber electrical gloves are divided into specific categories or classes based on OSHA voltage ratings. 
  • Leather Protector Gloves: Leather protectors are made to be worn over rubber insulating gloves to provide protection against cuts, abrasions and punctures.
  • Cotton Inner Liner: Liner gloves enhance the comfort of wearing rubber gloves and provide warmth in the colder months and absorb perspiration in the warmer months.

OSHA Ratings for Rubber Insulating Gloves

OSHA has established strict guidelines for rubber insulating glove ratings and usage. Based on ASTM D120 Standard Specifications for Rubber Insulating Gloves, OSHA’s ratings are as follows:

  • Class 00: Maximum 500V (AC) and 750V (DC)
  • Class 0: Maximum 1000V (AC) and 1,500 (DC) 
  • Class 1: Maximum 7,500V (AC) and 11,250 (DC)
  • Class 2: Maximum 17,000V (AC) and 25,500V (DC)
  • Class 3: Maximum 26,500V (AC) and 39,750V (DC)
  • Class 4: Maximum 36,000V (AC) and 54,000 (DC)

Types of Electrical Safety Gloves

In addition to OSHA ratings, electrical safety gloves are divided into two categories based on material resistance. Type I gloves are typically manufactured from natural rubber and do not exhibit ozone resistance. Type II gloves are generally made from synthetic rubber and are ozone resistant. Only class 00 and class 0 gloves are available in Type I and Type II.  All other gloves are made with Type I rubber.

Electrical Safety Glove Designs

Rubber insulating gloves can be divided into several categories based on voltage, cuff style and color.

  • Voltage Ratings: Insulated rubber gloves are categorized by the max voltage they can withstand.  They are divided into classes with Class 00 being the lowest and Class 4 being the highest.
  • Cuff Style:  Insulated rubber gloves are available in varying cuff styles including straight cuff, bell cuff and contour cuff.  Classes 00, 0 and 1 are only available in straight cuff.  Classes 2, 3 and 4 are available in all three cuff styles.
  • Glove Color: Insulated rubber gloves are available in a variety of colors with red and black being the most common for the lower classes 00 and 0 and dual color gloves being the most common for all other classes.  There is no difference in integrity between the colors, it’s just a personal preference.

High Voltage vs. Low Voltage Gloves

Typically low voltage gloves refer to class 00 and class 0 gloves and high voltage refers to classes 1 through 4.  Class 00  and class 0 gloves are available in both Type I and Type II rubber while all other classes are only made with Type 1 natural rubber.  The rubber insulating gloves are made with a dipping process to create the necessary thickness (or layers) of rubber to withstand the voltage required for that particular class of glove.  Low voltage gloves are thinner while high voltage gloves get thicker with each voltage rating.

Electrical Safety Glove Accessories

In addition to quality rubber insulating gloves, Burlington Safety Laboratory offers a variety of accessories, including: 

  • Leather Protectors: Leather protectors are made to be worn over rubber insulating gloves to provide protection against cuts, abrasions and punctures.
  • Rubber Insulating Sleeves: These provide added protection from the end of the glove to the shoulder to prevent accidental contact with charged equipment and cables. 
  • Storage Bags: Canvas storage bags provide an added layer of protection for rubber gloves and sleeves protecting them from the elements therefore improving their service life.
  • Additional Accessories: Glove liners, glove dust, sleeve straps, rubber goods cleaner, etc.

Electrical Safety Gloves at Burlington Safety Laboratory

For more than 50 years, Burlington Safety Laboratory has been at the forefront of electrical safety testing and electrical PPE distribution. To learn more about our electrical safety gloves and accessories, visit our product page, or contact us today!

Hot Sticks 101

At Burlington Safety Laboratory, we’re committed to safety and thoroughly testing equipment so it offers the best possible degree of protection. Peter Senin, Burlington’s late president, helped lead the charge in creating safety guidelines used by the National Association of Independent Laboratories for Protective Equipment Testing (NAIL for PET), and we’ve been creating testing procedures that uphold the same mission for over 40 years.

Our testing processes meet or exceed the standards of ASTM, ANSI, OSHA, and NIST, and we test a wide range of safety equipment to ensure compliance. Learn more about the role of high-voltage hot sticks in maintaining a safe work environment.

What Is a Hot Stick?

Line technicians use hot sticks while near energized equipment and power lines to avoid making contact with or going too near to live electricity sources. High-voltage electricity sources are extremely hazardous for operators and repair technicians. Not only can direct contact be dangerous or even fatal, but the electricity can cause arc flashes: transfers of electricity through the air toward the ground, endangering people within range.

The sticks themselves are fiberglass rods at least four feet long with fixtures at the end that can press switches and manipulate parts. Technicians hold the handle of the stick to reach and maneuver parts on the other end. Because fiberglass does not conduct electricity, these tools keep workers safe from electricity. The four-foot length also ensures enough clearance to mitigate the risk of arcing and shock by keeping workers and their hands out of the arc zone.

Types of Hot Sticks

Manufacturers produce a wide range of hot sticks of different lengths, materials, and attachments to help line technicians complete repairs and maintenance on high-voltage equipment or systems. They fit into two broad categories: telescoping hot sticks and shotgun hot sticks.

Telescoping Hot Sticks

Telescoping hot sticks are extendable tools. They feature several hollow tubes of successively larger diameters so they fit neatly inside each other and then extend the total length of the hot stick. Technicians can extend one, several, or all of the sections based on the distance between themselves and the surface that needs to be reached. This versatile design allows technicians to reach electrical equipment at different heights without having to use a large collection of separate tools.

Shotgun Hot Sticks

Shotgun hot sticks help line technicians easily reach, remove, and install components. Rather than having separate sections that operators extend manually, shotgun hot sticks have a sliding mechanism to increase the length of the stick. Operators can attach the far end of the stick to a disconnect ring, pull the trigger at the other end, and elongate the stick. Once the stick is the right length, the operator can disengage the trigger and use the stick.

When and How to Use a Hot Stick

Operators and technicians should use a hot stick whenever working on or near live electricity. By using the sticks instead of directly touching the equipment, workers stay isolated against the risk of electrical shocks. Because the hot sticks are long, they also isolate workers by keeping them out of the arc zone. Hot sticks should be used whenever there is a risk of electric shock, blasts, and arcing; specific circumstances include: 

  • Proximity with equipment or lines that have medium or high voltage levels
  • When making repairs and adjustments to medium-voltage energized equipment
  • Operating disconnects or cutouts of any voltage level
  • When applying safety grounds for equipment at any voltage level

Technicians can use these sticks to directly manipulate cables, fuses, and other components. For example, line technicians can use a hot stick to hook terminated cable ends inside a transformer to “unplug” the cable or temporarily disconnect it. Then they can use the tool to reconnect it after completing repairs. Line technicians can also use hot sticks to position a fuse back into place after an outage.

Contact Burlington Safety Laboratory for Your Hot Stick Needs

Safety equipment is crucial for protecting people and surrounding environments. The safety equipment itself must comply with strict product quality standards to perform this duty reliably. At Burlington Safety Laboratory, we provide comprehensive, specialized testing for safety tools. Contact us today to learn more or request a quote. You can reach our team for assistance online or over the phone at 800-220-2120.

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