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Safety Photo of the Day! – Why Electrical Safety Is Vitally Important!

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Electrical Safety


Introduction

Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians, and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.

Electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard. OSHA‘s electrical standards are designed to protect employees exposed to dangers such as electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions. Electrical hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, and marine terminals.

Standards

This section highlights OSHA standards, the Regulatory Agenda (a list of actions being taken with regard to OSHA standards), Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices), directives (instructions for compliance officers), standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards), and national consensus standards related to electrical hazards.

OSHA

Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915)

Marine Terminals (29 CFR 1917)

Regulatory Agenda

Federal Registers

  • Electrical Standard; Final Rule. Final Rules 72:7135-7221, (2007, February 14). Focuses on safety in the design and installation of electric equipment in the workplace. This revision provides the first update of the installation requirements in the general industry electrical installation standard since 1981.
  • Electrical Standard; Proposed Rule. Proposed Rules 69:17773-17842, (2004, April 5). OSHA proposes to revise the general industry electrical installation standard found in 29 CFR 1910, Subpart S.
  • Search all available Federal Registers.

Directives

Standard Interpretations

National Consensus

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

  • 70, National Electric Code, (2008).

Construction

For information related to construction, see OSHA’s Electrical – Construction page.

Hazard Recognition

Many workers are unaware of the potential electrical hazards present in their work environment, which makes them more vulnerable to the danger of electrocution. The following references aid in recognizing hazards associated with electrical work.

  • Working Safely with Electricity [353 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet. Provides safety information on working with generators, power lines, extension cords, and electrical equipment.
  • Using Portable Generators Safely [22 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet. Provides safety information on the hazards associated with generators, shock and electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning, fire hazards, and noise and vibration hazards.
  • Portable Generator Safety [19 KB PDF*, 1 page]. OSHA Quick Card. A 19 KB PDF* (Spanish version) is also available. Includes information on the major causes of injuries and fatalities, safe work practices, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Electrical Safety Hazards of Overloading Cable Trays. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2006, March). Also available as a 22 KB PDF, 2 pages.
  • Small Business Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209-02R, (2005). Also available as a 260 KB PDF, 56 pages.
  • Electrical Safety. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safety and Health Topic. Provides links to information about electrical safety and electrocutions.
  • Electrical Safety: Safety and Health for Electrical Trades Student Manual. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-123, (2002, January). Also available as a 2 MB PDF, 80 pages. As part of a safety and health curriculum for secondary and post-secondary electrical trades courses, this manual is designed to engage the learner in recognizing, evaluating, and controlling hazards associated with electrical work.
  • Fire Fighters Exposed to Electrical Hazards During Wildland Fire Operations. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-112, (2002, January). Also available as a 137 KB PDF, 4 pages. Covers two case studies regarding the electrocution of fire-fighters and recommends preventive methods.
  • Electrocutions Fatality Investigation Reports. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safety and Health Topic. Provides information regarding hundreds of fatal incidents involving electrocutions investigated by NIOSH and state investigators.
  • Worker Deaths by Electrocution: A Summary of Surveillance Findings and Investigative Case Reports. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-131, (1998, May). Also available as a 137 KB PDF, 43 pages. Highlights the magnitude of the problem of occupational electrocutions in the US, identifies potential risk factors for fatal injury, and provides recommendations for developing effective safety programs to reduce the risk of electrocution.
  • Australian Government documents relating to electrical safety in Australia:

Possible Solutions

A variety of possible solutions may be implemented to reduce or eliminate the risk of injury associated with electrical work. Examples of solutions include the use of insulation, guarding, grounding, electrical protective devices, and safe work practices. The following references aid in controlling electrical hazards in the workplace.

Additional Information

Related Safety and Health Topics Pages

Training

  • Small Business Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209-02R, (2005). Also available as a 260 KB PDF, 56 pages.
  • Electrical [4 MB ZIP*]. OSHA, (2001, November 16). Assists trainers conducting OSHA’s 10-hour general industry outreach training for workers. Since workers are the target audience, the material emphasizes hazard identification, avoidance, and control—not standards.
  • OSHA Training Institute Course Catalog Search. OSHA. Searches training and education courses in occupational safety and health for federal and state compliance officers, state consultants, other federal agency personnel, and the private sector.
  • Training. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Other Resources

OSHA eTools

OSHA eTools en Español

OSHA Expert System Advisors

General

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