When I first started my professional life as an engineer, I was a co-operative at Delphi Chassis, working on refurbishing the substation breakers. I never really understood before taking that job what it meant to wear certain clothes, hair, safety accessories, etc.
The outfit for electrical engineers depends on the risks to which they are exposed, everything will depend on whether you work without tension or if you are forced to work with live lines. Since I worked in Substations, it was statutory to use Arc Flash Clothing which, fortunately, the plant was in charge of providing, since this type of clothing had to be washed following a certain product protocol (which you cannot get in a conventional store). The main reason is that then the clothing would lose its ability to protect you, also because it was such a high electrical area. Furthermore, it was not allowed to wear jewelry because it could form an arc due to the high voltage and since there were many automation areas in the plant it was necessary to be careful that your clothes were not loose because they could get snagged in the conveyor.
There is also the possibility that your hair could get caught in the machine if you are not paying attention, which is especially important for women. That’s the reason I recommend that women wear their hair up to avoid a snag. In addition, it is also important to consider the use of dielectric gloves, protective glasses, an insulating helmet, safety shoes with rubber soles, and other preventive accessories according to the operations to be carried out.
Overall, there is a lot to think about before entering a Plant or Substation. With that early knowledge, I taught myself to always remain on the “Safe Side” of things. Also, many of the safety training videos are a good foundation to ensure your safety, for example: Make sure you lock out, check the voltage with your multimeter and try to start the machine with the power off. This sounds basic but if you don’t make this into a habit, there is an opportunity to put yourself in a bad position.
In essence, when I think about an “engineering outfit”, I really look at what I had to wear in that job and I realize what can and cannot be done based on an outfit. For the most part, since I’m doing technical consulting instead of swapping out Substation Breakers, I don’t need to worry much about clothes snagging, but not everyone has my knowledge, understanding, and awareness. So, I would like to emphasize the importance of being cautious and careful when working, making sure you are aware of the potential dangers you may be exposed to, and taking into account the jewelry/clothing you wear and what could happen. You don’t want to go home with a missing finger, hair, or not go home.
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