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Re: Glove Safety in Electrofishing


Tom Kwak <[log in to unmask]>


Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>


Fri, 6 Jul 2001 12:24:33 -0500





text/plain (1 lines)

Alan and others,

    My approach has been to not require gloves rated above the output
of the electrofisher (e.g., linesman's gloves) for practical concerns
(i.e., too heavy, thick, and hot). It seems unreasonable to employ
gloves that must withstand the operator touching both anode and
cathode (or two electrodes of an AC unit). Careful operators should
never encounter that situation. I've approached the glove issue
primarily to ensure a dry, non-conductive barrier between the
operator and the water. This also means keeping your hands
relatively dry from sweat, leaks, or splashes inside the gloves.
I've tried to purchase gloves with some kind of fabric or cotton
inner liners (attached to glove), which absorb minor amounts of
moisture (about $10/pair at a hardware or farm store). So far, so
good, and no one's been shocked -- at least not due to conductive
waders or gloves -- but are we assuming reasonable risk?

    Is the above approach reasonable? Smith-Root (a US manufacturer
of electrofishing gear) suggests that "all personnel should wear
rubber lineman's gloves and a safety helmet." They sell gloves for
$85/pair, rated to 5 kV, which extend up to the elbow. Then you
should periodically test those gloves for leaks at considerable
additional expense. Is it practical to use shorter gloves that are
not rated? What's with the helmet? Can we be practical and safe?
How much assumed risk is reasonable?

   Alan, what do you and Jim Reynolds recommend when teaching the US
Fish and Wildlife Service training course?

Tom Kwak

>Dear Colleagues,
>The responses to Tom Kwak's query on the safety of various wader types for
>electrofishing were very informative and particularly helpful when
>evaluating electrofishing safety policies. Along with insulating footwear,
>insulating gloves are required by many, if not all, safety policies.
>Often, policies require gloves rated at or above the voltage generated by
>the electrofishing unit. This usually means that the crew must wear
>linesman's gloves, which can be expensive and limit dexterity. Although
>requiring rated gloves seems to make good sense, consider that a crew
>member would only be exposed to the high voltage levels of concern if she
>held the electrodes and that waders/boots are not voltage rated. I would
>be very interested in hearing about the types of insulating gloves used by
>electrofishers and their experiences and opinions on the subject.
>Thank you in advance for your input,
>Alan J. Temple
>USFWS-National Conservation Training Center
>Route 1, Box 166
>M.S. 13
>Shepherdstown, WV 25443
>304.876.7225 (fax)
>[log in to unmask]
Tom Kwak ([log in to unmask])
NC Cooperative Research Unit
Box 7617, NC State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7617, USA

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