TEMPE, Ariz. (KSAZ)
Monsoon storms can cause big issues for power companies in Arizona.
The men and women who repair downed lines rely on safety equipment to repair these lines, specifically the gloves they wear to be able to hand live wires.
There is a small office inside SRP's compound near Tempe where they test thousands of those gloves to make sure they are in perfect working condition.
This is what 40,000 volts of electricity looks like and sounds like.
"We'll test these gloves we were getting ready to test," said foreman of the glove lab at SRP, Bruce Redford.
Redford is in charge of running tests on the gloves daily. These gloves are worn by SRP workers out in the field.
"We account for all the rubber goods that our electricians, our lines, relay techs, anyone that has the opportunity to get into an electrical system we take care of their rubber goods," said Redford.
The tests on these gloves are performed every six months. A tiny hole or defect in one of these gloves could mean the difference between life or death when an employee is dealing with live wires.
"This is one of the jobs at SRP that has to be one hundred percent. A man's life is sitting right here in our hands. We cannot make a mistake," said Redford.
They test about 300 gloves every month. The gloves are washed and dried, inspected and then filled with air to find any holes or imperfections.
"What we're looking for on here, and this shows it real well, see the alligator here? That's an ozone burn there, so this glove is no longer any good and it'll be trashed."
Ninety-nine percent of the issues are found this test alone.
"If everything passes then we come over and we do an electrical test on them."
This is one of the most important tests to make sure the gloves can withstand 40,000 volts of electricity.
SRP also tests safety blankets. These are used to wrap live lines when crews are working near them. They are also subjected to similar tests.
"There's 40,000 volts of electricity looking for a weak spot in the blanket."
After the tests are complete all the information is logged into a computer and the gloves and blankets are shipped back out to the thousands of workers throughout the company.
The job here, meticulous and time-consuming, each pair of gloves and each blanket takes about an hour and a half to test. Redford and his team take pride in their work.
"I have the lives of about 2,200 employees sitting right here and I know that and I realize that," said Redford.
According to the CDC, electrical hazards cause more than 300 deaths and 4,000 injuries per year in the US.
Utility workers face the greatest risks of being electrocuted.