October 31, 2018
Electricity, as helpful as it may be in the 21st-century modern world, can also be extremely dangerous. Workplace accidents including high voltage shocks, or electrocution, and third-degree burns are a constant risk for the personnel working in close contact with electric power. In semiconductor industries, or an electrical power line jobs, underground work, and industries manufacturing electronic equipment, electric hazards are innumerable. Other than the high voltage shocks and burns, another standard and dangerous electrical accident are due to an electric arc which occurs when a circuit gets short. This sudden burst of live electric current can cause shock spasms, and in some severe cases stop your breathing and be fatal. Ordinary personal protective gear is not sufficient against such electric hazards. This is why we need dielectric boots.
Dielectric shoes are a type of safety footwear in which a dielectric material like rubber is used to block the flow of electric current and prevent it from reaching the ground through your body. This prevents significant mishaps and protects the workers in such dire situations.
Safety work boots are essential for workers in mines, in electric railway utility work, and even for those digging up power lines. If an accident happens while digging, wherein an axe or a spade inadvertently cuts off a power chord, it could have a disastrous outcome. At such times, dielectric safety shoes could be a lifesaver. Even in wet or damp regions, where a live wire might cause electrocution and endanger lives, dielectric boots are a must.
Many industries manufacturing sensitive electronic equipment make use of antistatic footwear to prevent the damage to the equipment as well as electric sparking due to static discharge. While anti-static shoes are sufficient to dissipate a controlled amount of static voltage, they still conduct the electric charge to the ground. Thus, in areas possessing severe electrical hazards, safety boots with the anti-static material would also be unhelpful.
Best marine has long since been known for its anti-static as well as electric Hazard/Dielectric boots. With state-of-the-art PPE workwear and strict adherence to safety regulation boards, it provides some of the best safety gear in the market.
There are a couple of reasons why regular safety boots don't provide sufficient protection against electric hazards. They are as follows:
- Electric arc – In the event of a short circuit, an electric arc is created which is immensely risky and can cause severe accidents. An electric current of a mere 15 mA is sufficient to stop your heart. Electric arcs are capable of reaching as much as 5000 volts, causing an electric splash which may result in a blast of extreme heat, light, and shrapnel. No regular safety shoes can withstand such an impact.
- Thin soles – In case of regular industrial shoes, the outsoles are very thin which doesn't provide sufficient insulation. Even anti-static shoes barely have a sole of not more than 10 mm thickness which is nowhere near capable of protecting against such a severe electric current.
- Damp surfaces – A common factor in an electrical mishap is the presence of a damp or wet surface. Water or any liquid only worsen the damage caused by an electric current. In the case of leather shoes for example, even if they are waterproof, the thin waterproof layer is prone to injury. As such, even the smallest amount of liquid or wetness in even some of the best safety shoes can cause major disasters.
- Current Leakage – Dielectric work boots provide a substantial barrier and prevent the flow of electric current by making use of the insulating material. Regular leather safety boots are compromised even by a little sweat. The dampness from sweat is also sufficient to make them unsafe according to the safety protocols. Such shoes will be inadequate protection against any electrical hazard and are bound to cause current leakage.
EN 50321, which is the European standard for live electrical protection, clearly specifies that any safety footwear should be of a certain height, and must cover the foot completely. They have a strict set of standards for PPE workwear, insulation boots, and overshoes which any regular safety boots wouldn't be able to meet. Hence, dielectric work shoes are the norm.
These industrial shoes find applications in a variety of areas such as:
- Power generation and distribution – National or state power grids need protective gear for their employees who are constantly in contact with the power lines and transformers.
- Electrified transport systems – Metros or railway utilities need to equip their personnel with dielectric boots for their safety to avoid mishaps during digging or drilling near these power lines.
- Power substations – Here the workers have to be careful as the current is being transmitted, distributed, and transformed from high to low voltage. Any fault in the circuit could cause major electric arc jumps over long distances due to the concentration of electric current.
When it comes to electrical hazards, you can't be too careful. Dielectric boots also are usually coupled with dielectric gloves for an additional layer of protection. To know more about this, you can log on to the Best marine and get your pair of safety shoes online.