ASTM F18 Committee Report

Virginia Balitski, Magna IV EngineeringFall 2023 Specifications & Standards, Specifications & Standards

It has been a while since there has been an ASTM F18 report, so let’s start off with a review of some background information. The ASTM F18 Committee on Electrical Protective Equipment for Workers was formed in 1974. It currently has jurisdiction over 38 standards and plays a critical role in the protection of the electrical worker. The F18 committee meets twice a year to review and revise the standards. There are more than 350 members and numerous subcommittees. 


Here is a summary of seven technical subcommittees that have standards under them. 

F18.15 Subcommittee on Worker Personal Equipment. A well-known standard under this subcommittee is F496-20, Specification for In-Service Care of Insulating Gloves and Sleeves. Other standards deal with specifications for rubber-insulating gloves/sleeves, leather protectors, dielectric footwear, insulating aprons, and personal climbing equipment. 

F18.25 Subcommittee on Insulating Cover-Up Equipment. This includes standards on rubber-insulating matting, blankets, covers, line hose, plastic guard equipment, and PVC/rubber-insulating sheeting. 

F18.35 Subcommittee on Tools & Equipment. This one is relevant to all NETA Technicians since it covers the specifications for high-voltage detectors, live line tools, and high-voltage phasing testers. 

F18.45 Subcommittee on Mechanical Apparatus. Another few standards on items that NETA Technicians utilize on a regular basis, including F855-23, Specification for Temporary Protective Grounds.

F18.55 Subcommittee on Inspection and Non-Destructive Test Methods for Aerial Devices. This includes standards on acoustic emissionsandF2973-21, Specification for Insulating Lifting Links for Load Lifting Equipment Working Near Energized Power Lines. 

F18.60 Subcommittee on Terminology. The two standards under this subcommittee are F819-23, Terminology Relating to Electrical Protective Equipment for Workers and F1236-23, Guide for Visual Inspection of Electrical Protective Rubber Products. 

F18.65 on Wearing Apparel. F18.65 is another very relevant group of standards for NETA Technicians. It includes all flame-resistant and arc-rated clothing standards, as well as arc-rated eye/face/hand protection and arc-protective blankets. 


The last ASTM F18 meeting was held April 17–19, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. The F18 main committee and subcommittees held many meetings over that period to discuss updates, recommended actions, and ballots. During the April meeting week, ASTM International also celebrated their 125th anniversary. That’s a lot of years of helping our world work better through the development of standards and certainly something to celebrate!

One of the important items discussed during the April meeting included a balloted revision that attempted to provide clarity on Section 7.1 of ASTM F496-20. This section deals with the retest requirements for rubber-insulating gloves and the intent behind the statement about being issued for service. This ballot was withdrawn and will need some additional revision. 

TheF18.15 Subcommittee discussed the possible need for a new standard on arc rating of rubber-insulating sleeves. A task group has been set up to discuss the first steps. 

The F18.25 Subcommittee had a couple of ballots on rubber-insulating blankets and a new standard for insulating plastic guard equipment. These are going to go back to the committee for additional work and then will be re-balloted. 

TheF18.45 Subcommittee discussed the interchangeability of clamps on temporary protective grounds and the retesting requirements. A task group was formed to work on the requirements and possible verbiage. 

Further work has been done through the F18.60 Subcommittee on a revision of F1236-2019, Guide for Visual Inspection of Electrical Protective Rubber Products. Photos are being added to show the inspection items. There was ongoing discussion about adding a definition for a “protector” that is used with rubber-insulating gloves. 

Many years of work have gone into a revision of F1959, Test Method for Determining the Arc Rating of Materials for Clothing. It is expected that an update to that standard will be published in 2023. Numerous ballots for the different sections were discussed during the April meeting. Additional ballots are coming regarding these items. 

The Long Range Planning Committee discussed the possible need for a revision or a new standard to cover new low-voltage composite-coated rubber-insulated gloves that may be coming onto the market for commercial and industrial use with car batteries. 

The next ASTM F-18 meeting will be held in Washington DC in October 2023. 

Virginia Balitski, CET, Manager — Training and Development has worked for Magna IV Engineering since 2006. Virginia started her career as a Field Service Technologist and achieved NETA Level 4 Senior Technician Certification. She has since dedicated her time to the advancement of training and safety in the electrical industry. She is a Certified Engineering Technologist through ASET – The Association of Science & Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta. Virginia is the current Vice-Chair of CSA Z462, Workplace Electrical Safety and is a member of the NFPA 70E, Electrical Safety in the Workplace Technical Committee. She is a NETA Board member and is involved with many NETA committees, as well as representing NETA on the ASTM F18 committee.