Protocols related to effective use of insulating rubber gloves and sleeves.


  • When employees are working on energized circuits or equipment, rubber protective-insulating gloves and sleeves rated for the exposure of the highest nominal voltage shall be worn “lock to lock” when employees are working on underground electrical equipment. This includes when the employee manipulates the enclosure’s door.
  • A complete, thorough inspection and hazard assessment must be conducted prior to any action involving manipulation of locking mechanism being performed. This hazard assessment could include the following based on geographical location: Visible damage, hinge condition, foundation (stability and general condition), rust, site conditions (landscaping), noise in the enclosure, oil present in and around enclosure, wildlife concerns (bees, snakes, etc.)
  • If no physical, sensory or environmental condition is present during the hazard assessment that would necessitate the use of gloves and sleeves to unlock the lock, gloves and sleeves may be omitted for unlocking. Gloves and sleeves are required for lock removal without exception.
  • Rubber gloves and sleeves shall be worn when working on or within the extended reach of the conductor or piece of equipment.

  • Electrical class rating of the insulating rubber sleeves shall meet or exceed the electrical class rating of the insulating rubber gloves.


  • Provides specific use requirements that are proven methods for reducing electrical contact injuries and fatalities.
  • Provides for uniform use guidelines that can be applied industry wide.


Lock-to-Lock is used to describe the utilization of rubber gloves and sleeves, when required, prior to the time the pad mounted equipment is unlocked until work is complete and the pad mounted equipment is relocked. 

Extended Reach is used to describe being within five feet of energized conductors and/or equipment or having a conductive object within five feet of energized conductors and/or equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. If I’m walking past the back of an open pad mounted transformer, do I need rubber insulating gloves and sleeves?
    • No, there is no exposure as long as the employee does not touch the cabinet.LocktoLock7.23.21revision
  2. Can insulating rubber gloves and sleeves be removed when terminating primary cable?
    • After secondary bushings and primary terminations have been effectively covered and the cable being terminated has been tested & grounded and the cable has been pulled beyond the face of the transformer, rubber gloves and sleeves may be removed.
  3. Can I pull elbows by hand if I wear insulating rubber gloves and sleeves?
    • No. Live line tools shall be used for pulling elbows and switching in underground primary enclosures.
  4. Does this best practice apply when work will be performed with live line tools?
    • Yes. Insulating rubber gloves and sleeves shall be worn when opening and closing the padmount equipment regardless of the work practice to be conducted. Additionally, if the initial assessment identifies noticeable hazards, gloves and sleeves shall be worn when unlocking the enclosure.