Glove Lab

The linemen who repair the local electrical grid depend on their equipment: the gloves, blankets and hot sticks that stand between them and electrocution.

At Tucson Electric Power, that equipment is rigorously tested and maintained for the workers’ safety. For customers, this means the electrical system remains safe, reliable and efficient, with problems addressed promptly by experienced, well-protected crews.

Protective equipment is used whenever linemen might come into contact with energized equipment during scheduled maintenance and unscheduled repairs to damaged power lines, both overhead and underground.

“Special rubber-insulated gloves are the first line of defense. Linemen wear these gloves when they work on energized conductors,” said Cyndi Gallego-Quihuis, TEP Journeyman Shop Electrician. “Other equipment such as line hoses and blankets are used to cover up energized power lines to prevent accidental contact with high-voltage electricity.”

In a TEP laboratory, protective equipment is tested on a regular schedule in accordance with requirements established by the American Society for Testing and Materials. Standards are set for each specific type of equipment.

The equipment is designed and tested to withstand voltages far greater than linemen would encounter on TEP’s grid.

“If there’s a concern with anything, the equipment is immediately brought in for inspection,” said Brett Burton, TEP Transmission & Distribution Supervisor II, adding that each piece of equipment is labeled with the time frame of its testing.

The level of protective care and safety measures that TEP crew members bring to their jobs should remind customers of the potential danger of electricity, Burton said.

“All electricity is hazardous and, when handled without the proper protective equipment, can be dangerous,” he said. “Just as we protect ourselves against the hazards of electricity, customers should do the same thing by staying away from downed power lines and other electrical hazards.”