Protocols related to the effective inspection of insulating protective equipment (IPE) and insulating personal protective equipment (IPPE).


All IPE (rubber/plastic) and IPPE shall be inspected by a qualified employee prior to each use and immediately following any incident that can reasonably be suspected of causing damage. 

Pre-use inspection must, at minimum, cover the following:

  • All IPE/IPPE shall be inspected for any damage, wear or contamination that would compromise its ability to insulate the linemen from different potentials. If upon inspection; IPE/IPPE is found to be defective the equipment shall be identified and removed from service.
  • Applicable service dates and voltage rating shall be observed.
  • Insulating rubber gloves shall be given an air test along with an inspection completed by the qualified user. 
  • Insulating rubber sleeves shall be inspected by the qualified user. 


  • Ensures insulating protective equipment can be used to protect at the rated voltage. 
  • Provides for uniform inspection guidelines for in-service inspection of insulating protective equipment.


  • Insulating Personal Protective Equipment (IPPE): Insulating rubber Gloves and Sleeves.
  • Insulating Protective Equipment (IPE): Insulating rubber blankets, rubber line hose, rubber hoods, plastic covers, etc.


ASTM F478 Standard Specification for In-Service Care of Insulating Line Hose and Covers
ASTM F479 Standard Specification for In-Service Care of Insulating Blankets
ASTM F496 Standard Specification for In-Service Care of Insulating Gloves and Sleeves
ASTM F1236 Standard Guide for Visual Inspection of Electrical Protective Rubber


OSHA 29 CFR 1910.137 

OSHA 29 CFR 1926.97 

National Electric Safety Code (NESC, ANSI C2 – Part 4)

Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Use Inspection of Insulating Protective Equipment

  1. Why are there two dates on insulating rubber goods?
    • One is the test date, and where applicable there will be an issue date.
  2. Which date should I use?
    • This will depend on the contractor and state that you are working in. If you are not sure you should ask your supervisor.
  3. What observed defects would prohibit the use of an insulated protective device?
    • Any equipment with any of the following defects may not be used:
      • A hole, tear, puncture or cut;
      • Ozone cutting or ozone checking (series of interlacing cracks);
      • An embedded foreign object;
      • Texture changes, such as swelling, softening, hardening, or becoming sticky or inelastic;
      • Any other defect that damages the insulating properties