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Would RFID Be Unsafe in High-Voltage Environments?

Posted By RFID Journal, 02.21.2012
I work for a major utility company that has posed the question of possibly utilizing RFID to track the rubber gloves and sleeves that we use. These sleeves and gloves are our last line of defense against coming in contact with live electric equipment that can deliver up to 13,000 volts. They are also used in extreme weather and climates, and can have nothing that conducts electricity attached to them. Would RFID violate this, or would it be safe to attach an RFID tag to this protective equipment?

—Name withheld

RFID transponders are typically manufactured with a copper, aluminum or silver ink antenna, so I would say that they would violate the requirement that nothing conductive be attached to gloves and sleeves. I can not say whether encasing a tag in rubber or another insulating material would make them safe for use in this application. Those in charge of safety at your company would need to make that determination—but if the rubber did make the RFID transponder safe for use, it could still be read without a problem.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor,
RFID Journal

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