Don't panic buddy ! It's OK.
Your PPE and insulated tools are important. There are suppliers of insulated hand tools out there. Search the net for insulated hand tools. I'm a little partial to cementex insulated hand tools because they have a double layer of insulation consisting of two different colors. When the inner color begins to show through and becomes visible it's time to replace the tool. There are socket wrenches and all kinds of tools available. There is also a line of tools which are insulating and meet the ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) standard for insulated tools. Just when you thought you were getting a handle on all these standards some new ones show up. The composite tools except for the screwdriver tip for example the rest of the shaft is a nonmetallic composite material. No insulation to wear out. They are super light in weight. About 1/4 the weight of other tools. Imagine carrying a tool belt around that only 1/4 of the weight of your present load. I've actually had electricians in class tell me they don't like those tools at all because they say when they strike the tool with a hammer the tool breaks. I generally tell them that I don't like fluke meters for the same reason. As soon as you hit them with a hammer they break. Certainly a sign of a poor product (LOL). Just be sure that any insulated / insulating tools you acquire meet the ASTM - 1505 standard. BTW all hand tools are rated for 1000 volts. Not like gloves where you can get them at different voltages.
Gloves as well as other insulating PPE or "cover up" can be purchased in 6 different voltage classes from 500 volts (the newest ASTM category) through 40Kv. Don't get way more than you need for your work because the discomfort of wearing extra heavy gloves will limit dexterity and discourage you from wearing them when needed. Also they have to be worn with the leather protectors. If you think, like I do that the class 00 (500 volt gloves) are a little on the flimsy side for 480 work certainly don't go beyond the next class (0) 1Kv glove. BTW gloves can be purchased with a two color construction different inner color than the outer color. That's an option that makes it easier to inspect for damage / wear etc. All the OSHA requirements for insulated PPE are at: http://osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp...S&p_id=9787&p_text_version=FALSE
They have to be "proof tested every 6 months to insure that they will still withstand the voltage they are rated for. There are companies that do this testing for anywhere between about $5 and $20 per pair of gloves and certify that they were tested to the ASTM standards. The glove is then either stamped with the test date on the cuff or the date due for testing (6 months). What is the last test date on your gloves?
Your life rests in the integrity of your gloves so don't loan them, don't abuse them.
They have to be daily inspected before use which includes an air inflation test to be sure there are no pin holes etc. Also the daily inspection must include examining for : (excerpts of the OSHA Standard)
Insulating equipment shall be inspected for damage before each day's use and immediately following any incident that can reasonably be suspected of having caused damage. Insulating gloves shall be given an air test, along with the inspection.
Insulating equipment with any of the following defects may not be used:
A hole, tear, puncture, or cut;
Ozone cutting or ozone checking (the cutting action produced by ozone on rubber under mechanical stress into a series of interlacing cracks);
An embedded foreign object;
Any of the following texture changes: swelling, softening, hardening, or becoming sticky or inelastic.
Any other defect that damages the insulating properties.
Insulating equipment found to have other defects that might affect its insulating properties shall be removed from service and returned for testing under paragraphs (b)(2)(viii) and (b)(2)(ix) of this section.
Insulating equipment shall be cleaned as needed to remove foreign substances.
Insulating equipment shall be stored in such a location and in such a manner as to protect it from light, temperature extremes, excessive humidity, ozone, and other injurious substances and conditions.
It looks like a lot of regulations but its pretty basic. Proof test twice a year and do the daily (when you use the gloves) inflation test and visually inspect for the defects listed in the standard.
As an OSHA investigator, I don't recall having interviewed an electrician yet who is aware of these requirements. As an OSHA Professor / trainer I'm trying to change that.
If you take a deep breath it should be because you are glad that your gloves and tools have protected you so long without having received the TLC that they need.
OSHA Professor - Grizzy