Whether you work in healthcare or skilled trades, the type of gloves you wear can have a significant impact on your health and safety on the job.
We all know that nitrile gloves protect you from biological hazards like diseases and bodily fluids, as well as chemical hazards like corrosive spills and dangerous drugs. But can these gloves protect you from electricity, too? Do nitrile gloves conduct electricity?
Spoiler alert: Nitrile gloves can help protect you from electric shock. But how? In this article, we will talk about why nitrile gloves are the best choice for industries that work around electricity or conductive metals. And to understand why, we will also go over the characteristics of nitrile gloves, explaining what makes them less conductive and how you can stay safe when working with electricity.
Do Nitrile Gloves Conduct Electricity?
Let's get right into the topic at hand today: do nitrile gloves conduct electricity?
Nitrile in and of itself does not conduct electricity. Instead, it acts as an insulator with strong electrical resistance. In other words, electricity cannot easily pass through nitrile rubber, making it a very poor conductor in its pure state.
What Makes Nitrile Gloves Less Conductive?
Ok, so you know now that nitrile gloves do not conduct electricity. But, what makes them less conductive than other types of gloves?
To better understand how nitrile works with electricity, let's explore the three types of materials based on how they transfer electricity:
Conductors have minimal resistance to electric current, meaning electricity easily passes through them. Most metallic materials are conductors, including silver, copper, and aluminum. For this reason, electrical objects that require electricity to pass through in order to operate are made of metal, e.g. plugs in TVs, radios, and lights.
Semi-conductors offer some resistance to electric current, with an electrical conductivity value somewhere between that of a conductor and an insulator. Common examples of semiconductors include germanium, silicon, and gallium arsenide. They are important components of many electrical devices in countless applications, such as healthcare, transportation, and communication.
Finally, we have insulators. Insulators have high resistance to electricity, allowing little to none of it to pass through. Wood, plastic, and rubber are good insulators. Of course, this includes nitrile rubber.
The electrons in nitrile rubber are tightly bound, so much so that they cannot break apart easily. For this reason, nitrile is the ideal choice for PPE and other types of work safety equipment.
When in glove form, nitrile rubber protects the wearer from electric shock. In addition to that, nitrile rubber gloves offer superior resistance against biohazards, chemicals, and tearing. This is why nitrile rubber gloves triumph over latex and vinyl gloves when it comes to the level of protection it provides for skilled trades.
Are All Nitrile Gloves Anti-Static?
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) occurs when two electrically charged objects experience an electrical short or come in contact with each other, resulting in a sudden flow of electricity between them.
ESD can cause damage to electronic products and components, which can be difficult to detect during quality assurance processes. Furthermore, ESD can shock a human. Although static electricity is not fatal, the shock can be enough to cause someone to lose balance or accidentally wound themselves.
All that said, preventing ESD is extremely important to ensure optimum quality control and risk management in workplaces that involve handling electrical materials. One of the best ways to do this is by making nitrile gloves a part of the standard PPE in the workplace.
However, not all nitrile gloves are anti-static. Natural rubber gloves are inherently insulative. There are even insulated rubber electrical gloves that are specifically designed to be used for electrical work. Nevertheless, there is always a risk of ESD, albeit small. So, if you want rubber gloves that protect you from electricity and ESD, choose nitrile gloves that are specifically advertised as anti-static.
Safety Tips When Working With Electricity or Electrical Devices
Any jobs that deals with electricity are considered dangerous. One mistake can lead to major injuries--or in worst cases, death. We say this not to scare you, but rather to make you aware of the reality. But if you're in one of these lines of work, you likely already know what you have gotten yourself into - and are prepared to assume the risks.
That said, taking all the proper safety precautions is a must when working with electricity, conductive metals, and electronic devices:
Wear Gloves at All Times
Gloves can be uncomfortable, but it's a small price to pay for remaining safe. Don't ever take off your insulating rubber gloves when you're actively handling dangerous tools or materials. Keep your work gloves on at all times; you never know when an accident could happen.
Ensure Proper Use of Electrical Equipment
Never proceed with a job that you aren't sure how to handle, especially when it comes to electrical equipment. When in doubt, ask for assistance from an experienced co-worker or a superior.
Be Wary of Live Wires
Always be aware of the electrical wires surrounding you while working. If you encounter a live wire among them, alert a superior right away. Do not try to approach a live wire; only trained personnel should attempt to contain it. The same rule applies to other dangerous electrical equipment, particularly those that require special training to operate safely.
Always Follow Your Workplace's Safety Practices
Aside from the general safety precautions that apply to every workplace, it's also imperative that you follow any specific safety practices that your workplace employs. For instance, some companies use electrical equipment that should be handled with special care. If you don't know the specific rules on operating that piece of equipment, you put yourself at risk of serious electrical injury.
Do Nitrile Gloves Conduct Electricity? Our Final Thoughts
No, nitrile gloves do not conduct electricity. In its pure form, nitrile allows little to no electricity to pass through, making it a good insulator and a very poor conductor. Due to this innate characteristic, nitrile is the most ideal material for insulating rubber gloves, which can be used in all sorts of industries, including automotive, manufacturing, power, and so much more.
If you're looking for the best nitrile gloves on the market, you don't need to look any further than Primo Dental. Our nitrile gloves are made with top-quality nitrile rubber, designed to provide the highest level of protection against all sorts of occupational hazards--all while keeping your hands comfortable!