Will Leather Gloves Prevent Electric Shock?

Almost every type of job that is physically demanding requires you to wear proper safety gloves to avoid severe accidents and injuries.

Electricians are no exception because their work comes with several occupational hazards. Electric shocks are one of the most dangerous hazards, as they can harm your nerves directly.

Therefore, an electrician, or for that matter an individual who prefers doing electrical work around the house on their own, must wear the appropriate type of safety gloves.

Leather gloves are widely used as safety work gloves in several workplaces. But do they also provide protection against electric shocks is a question often asked by many.

Will Leather Gloves Prevent Electric Shock

The right answer is – NO leather gloves do not protect you from electric shocks as they are not good insulators like rubber. However, when you wear and use leather gloves the right way, they are great safety gloves for electricians as they protect you from cuts, scrapes, and punctures that can be caused by tools, equipment, and live wires.

You will often notice electricians wearing a good pair of leather gloves or protectors over a solid pair of rubber insulated gloves.

You will learn more on the subject of leather gloves being good safety work gloves for electricians and anyone doing DIY electrical work at home in this article as you read further on.

We have discussed the various factors that need to be considered when wearing leather gloves, their pros, and cons, and also the features of a good electrical safety glove.

Factors that aid in making leather gloves more protective against electrical hazards

 This section of the article may surprise you a little because when we talk about wearing safety gloves for work, we generally have a straightforward answer a YES or NO. However, for leather safety gloves or leather protectors, the answer is a little more complicated than just a YES or NO.

Leather protectors perform better as insulators when worn for electrical work if we add the factors that I have mentioned below.

1.) Rubber Insulated Gloves:

Rubber as a material is the best insulator of electricity, hence, rubber insulated gloves are your go-to gloves to perform any kind of electrical work without getting those terrible shocks.

Rubber insulated gloves protect from electricity

Leather protectors or gloves provide you with utmost protection and safety against electrical shocks and hazards when you wear them over a pair of rubber gloves.

The leather will not allow any kind of cuts and punctures to take place as it is super strong as a material and the rubber gloves will not allow electricity to pass through to your skin. You can even find leather gloves that already have a rubber lining installed inside and vice versa.

2.) Work environment or setting

The kind of work you do or are about to do, your work setting or environment matters a lot too. For anyone doing simple household or domestic electrical work, the chances of electrical mishaps like shocks caused by high-voltages and short circuits are quite minimal.

In such a scenario wearing just a pair of leather gloves or protectors will be adequate. Since you also have the option of turning off the main power line before doing any work.

On the contrary, if you are working in an industrial job site, you will be working with high-voltages and live wires. This can lead to possible lethal shocks and other forms of accidents.

Wearing both rubber insulated gloves and leather protectors on top of it is the best way to protect yourself from such accidents.

See also: What Voltage is Acceptable to Work in Your Leather Gloves?

3.) Amount of moisture

The amount of moisture in your leather gloves will determine how much protection they can provide you with when working with electricity. Water is a good conductor of electricity, which means wet gloves are a big ‘NO’ when you have to do electrical work.

The leather gloves can give much more protection against electrical hazards when they are dry, as opposed to when they are wet with sweat or water. Hence, you need to make sure that they are dry throughout your working hours.

4.) Fit of the gloves

You will need to wear the right fitting gloves to be safe against electrical hazards. Wearing gloves that are too loose means they can come off from your hands quite easily.

Then comes wearing extremely tight gloves that do not allow your adequate freedom of movement. Hence, you need to wear leather gloves that fit you with just the right amount of snug.

Additionally, you need to make sure your leather gloves are in a good condition without any holes and scratches.

Advantages and disadvantages of wearing leather gloves

There are a few advantages and disadvantages associated with wearing leather gloves when working with electricity which you should be aware of, so let me explain them to you here.

The Advantages –

1.) Leather gloves are highly tough in nature, which makes them excellent protectors against cuts, punctures, and scrapes. Such accidents are quite likely when working with live wires and electricity in general as you will be using various kinds of tools.

2.) Leather as a material is resistant to heat, which is perfect for anyone doing any kind of electrical work because it will provide protection against different levels of heat.

3.) Leather is quite breathable as a fabric, which allows air to flow through hassle-free. This keeps the wearer comfortable when working.

4.) Leather does not tear easily due to its excellent tensile strength.

5.) Leather does not crack quickly even after several uses.

The Disadvantages –

1.) Leather is not the best insulator of electricity because it is made from animal skin.

2.) Moisture is absorbed by leather, which makes for a very dangerous setting when doing any kind of electrical work. 

Features of good electrical gloves

It is very important to be well versed with the features of a good pair of electrical gloves. Wearing the appropriate gloves will keep you safe when working with electricity or live wires.

1.) Material: A good pair of electrical gloves should be constructed from a pure rubber material, as it is a good insulator and a poor conductor of electricity.

Wearing rubber insulated gloves will save you from fatal electrical shocks as it does not allow electricity to pass through to your skin.

Another great thing about rubber is that it is incombustible, which is a vital feature when working with anything that can catch fire.

2.) Weather suitable: One can work in both cold and hot weather conditions. Therefore, it helps if the gloves come with an inner fleece lining that can keep your hands warm in cold temperatures.

Similarly, to work in hot temperatures, the gloves should come with a cotton lining in order for your hands to remain cool and dry.

3.) Breathable: The gloves should be breathable so your hands remain comfortable when working by wicking away moisture, which in turn keeps your hands dry. Wet gloves are highly dangerous when working with electricity.

4.) Protection: The gloves should be able to protect your hands from getting cut, and scraped by wires and other tools while working. There are also chances of your gloves getting punctured.

So, most electricians either wear a leather protector on top of the rubber gloves or wear gloves that already come with a leather protector sewn onto them.

After all, leather is known to be one of the strongest materials that can withstand punctures.

5.) Insulation: Rubber insulated gloves are the preferred choice when working with electricity as they provide the utmost safety and protection.

Whether you are required to work with high or low voltage, such gloves are going to serve the purpose diligently.

They will always be color-coded in their labels that determine the different levels of voltages it can protect you from.

6.) Fit and size: You should always wear gloves that fit your hands well. Avoid wearing gloves that are either loose or tight.

In both cases you will not be comfortable when working, as if the gloves are loose they can easily come off, and if the gloves are tight, they will hamper your blood circulation.

There should be ample freedom of movement in your fingers so your performance is not compromised.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, leather gloves or protectors are also a necessity if you are an electrician or doing any electrical work in and around your house.

They will help you a great deal if you take good care of them by keeping them clean and storing them in a dry, well-ventilated place.

Plus, keep in mind all the other necessary factors to make sure the leather gloves serve you well.

The most essential thing is to remain safe when executing any kind of electrical work, as it can be absolutely lethal otherwise.

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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