What Do Electricians Wear? (A Brief Overview)

One of the great things about being an electrician is the fact that we don’t have to wear a suit and tie to work every day. As well as not having to wear a tight-fitting suit, in fact, the clothing that we wear on a daily basis is surprisingly comfortable. This article is a brief look at what electricians wear and the personal protective equipment we are often required to put on.

Different electrician roles will require different standards of clothing, as well as different sites, will require a higher or lesser level of PPE. I’ll try not to get into the weeds too much but instead provide an overview of what electricians wear as a useful guide. Hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

An electrician wearing comfy tradesmen trousers

Electricians usually wear a pair of tradesmen trousers, a polo shirt or t-shirt, and a pair of steel toe cap boots. Tradesman trousers are the loose-fitting type that has lots of pockets and loops for storing items. I can say from personal experience that they are as comfortable as they look!

The image above shows a man in a pair of these tradesmen worker trousers. As well as being super comfortable they even have large pockets in the front to store our kneepads making long hours kneeling down at work much less painful on our poor old knees.

What Do Electricians Wear?

As we can see from above this is the basic kit that many electricians can be found wearing. When the cold weather sets in we often reach for a hoodie as these allow plenty of movement and don’t constantly ride up flashing our midriff to every onlooker in site (not a good look)

Lightweight coats are another popular choice. The same as with the other clothing items it is important that we have a range of movement. Although big puffy coats can be extra warm they have the negative of restricting all movement (picture the classic image of a child in a massive puffy coat unable to lower their arms and you get the picture)

Snickers brand trousers (I’ll link to my favourite ones on Amazon here) are well-loved by electricians and provide the perfect mix of not looking baggy but also allowing movement. In the summertime, some electricians reach for the shorts. I’ve personally never been a fan of shorts at work as kneeling on bare knees takes its toll on me quickly. Also in my experience, many sites do not allow their construction workers to wear shorts.

What Should an Electrician Wear?

An electrician should wear all necessary clothing that is required to keep them safe at work. This usually means long sleeve trousers, long sleeve t-shirt, steel toe cap boots, gloves and glasses. Depending on the environment a hard hat or arc flash suit may also be required.

General gloves are designed to protect our hands from cuts and abrasions. We then switch to rubber gloves if there is the potential to come into contact with live electricity. Glasses are worn to protect our eyes and are becoming mandatory at all times on the majority of construction sites.

As we can see the list of clothing that an electrician should wear is quite long. Personal protective equipment (PPE) extends to the clothes that we wear not just the gloves and glasses. This is why most sites ban electricians from wearing shorts, they do not other any protection to the sparky’s legs.

Should Electricians Wear Long Sleeves?

Many companies will insist that the electricians working for them wear long sleeves. Long sleeves protect the electrician’s arms from cuts and abrasions, especially when working above ceiling voids and in tight underground spaces.

The second advantage of long sleeves is that they offer some protection against burns if an electric flash were to happen. Many companies provide their electricians with arc flash protection clothing. This means the clothes are designed to withstand a certain level of electrical flash (ie electrical fire).

Although the long sleeves are most likely not going to save your arms from getting burnt in the event of a flashover, it’s generally thought of as being better than having bare arms with no protection whatsoever. In my experience, most electricians end up rolling their sleeves up as they get too hot and this battle between the protection the PPE offers and the comfort factoring of having to wear it all day is an ongoing one.

What Do Electricians Wear While Working with Electricity?

When electricians work near to live electricity the rules on what we must wear become a lot stricter. Rubber gloves, helmets with visors and arc flash overalls are all standard PPE requirements in these types of environments.

If working procedures go wrong, what the electrician is wearing can mean the difference between life and death. High voltage electricians will be issued their clothing from their employer and will be required to wear it regardless of the comfort factor.

In my experience when it comes to working near live electricity all electricians understand the dangers and are more than happy to wear the required clothing. Clothing is a last line of defence, but if it all goes wrong the visor and helmet or the arc flash overalls we are wearing may be just enough to be able to walk away.

What Should Workers Not Wear When Working with Electricity?

Electricians should not wear loose-fitting clothing or large amounts of jewellery when working with electricity. If there is a risk of the circuit becoming live then much stricter clothing rules are required like those mentioned above.

Many electricians want to wear their wedding ring at work. I wrote an article on this topic linked here as it is worth looking at in more detail. There are lots of rings that are not made of metal which are designed specifically for electricians to reduce some of the electric shock risks.

Other items such as watches, piercings and necklaces are usually left to personal preference, as long as they are not excessive. Most electricians I have worked with choose to wear a watch but reframe from large amounts of jewellery.

What is an Arc Flash Suit?

An arc flash suit is a pair of overalls that have been specially treated to provide some degree of protection against an electrical flashover or electrical fire as it can be known. The protection level afforded by the suit is given a rating and it is a vital part of a high voltage electrician’s PPE

Arc flash suits are not often seen being worn by low voltage electricians. However, high voltage electricians (such as overhead linesmen and cable jointers) will wear an arc flash suit on a daily basis. The voltages that they are working with mean that flashovers are far more likely.

When an SAP (senior authorised person) is turning off a high voltage transformer there is always a risk of a flashover. The SAP does not have to do anything wrong it can simply be a case of bad luck (like the circuit breaker failing). Arc flash suits are worn to help provide at least some protection if this were to happen. They are considered a last line of defence but the wearer is still likely to get seriously injured or worse.


The answer to the question, What do electricians wear? depends heavily on the type of electrical role they are carrying out and the voltages they are working with. Domestic electricians that typically work dead and with around 230 volts can get away with being a bit more relaxed with their clothing favouring electrician trousers, t-shirts and moderate PPE such as general gloves and glasses.

On the other hand, high voltage electricians such as overhead linesmen dealing with voltages such as 33KV (that’s 33,000 volts) have much stricter requirements on the clothing and PPE they need to wear as the risks are so much greater.

Dave Nicholas

I have worked as a professional electrician for many years and like to use my experience to help others in any little way I can.

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