The Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that Electrical Safety-Related
Work Practices apply to those who work near exposed electrical circuits
that operate at 50 volts or more. Occupations generally affected by
this regulation include, but are not limited to:
- Electrical and electronic engineers
- Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers
- Electrical and electronic technicians
- Industrial machine operators
- Mechanics and repairers
- Stationary engineers
- Supervisors of the groups listed above
Under this rule, OSHA separates workers into two broad
groups, "qualified persons" and "unqualified persons". Qualified persons
are those who have been trained in avoiding the electrical hazards of
working with exposed energized parts, while unqualified persons have
little such training. Supervisors should be aware that the training
requirements differ for each group, as do the tasks each is allowed
is required for anyone who faces a risk of electric shock while performing
normal job duties. In addition to training in safety-related work
practices, unqualified persons should be trained in the inherent hazards
of electricity. Qualified persons should receive additional training
that allows them to distinguish live parts from other electrical equipment,
measure the voltage of exposed live parts, and determine minimum clearance
Selection and Use of Work Practices
Safety-related work practices should be used to prevent
electric shock or other injuries that may result from contact with
an energized circuit. Live parts should be deenergized before work
begins unless it introduces additional hazards or is unfeasible to
do so. Circuits should not be deenergized if it would cause the interruption
of life support equipment, deactivation of emergency alarm systems,
shutdown of ventilation equipment in hazardous locations, or removal
of illumination for an area.
The Princeton University Program for the Control of
Hazardous Energy, known as Lockout/Tagout, should be used to isolate
deenergized equipment and circuits (see Section B3,
Lockout/Tagout). Only qualified persons may apply lockout
or tagout procedures and test circuits to verify deenergization.
Special procedures should be followed whenever work
is done near energized equipment and circuits, especially overhead
power lines. Consideration should be given to housekeeping procedures,
lighting, and the conductivity of materials and equipment. The hazards
of confined spaces should be considered when work is done in manholes
or underground vaults.
Use of Equipment
Safety-related work practices should be followed when
using cord and plug connected equipment and extension cords. Equipment
should not be raised or lowered by its electrical cords. All electrical
equipment should be inspected before use and, if found defective,
removed from service until repaired.
The environment in which electrical equipment is to
be used should also be considered. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
(GFCI) or low voltage tools should be used in conductive work locations.
Special equipment may also be required in areas that may contain flammable
or ignitable material or vapors.
Safeguards for Personnel Protection
Personal protective equipment, such as nonconductive
head protection, eye and face protection, and insulating gloves, may
be necessary for protection against electrical hazards (see Section
B4, Personal Protective Equipment).
Insulated tools and handling equipment, such as protective
shields, barriers, or insulating materials, should be used when working
near exposed electrical conductors.
Safety signs, tags, or barricades can be used to warn
and protect workers. When these techniques do not provide sufficient
protection, an attendant should be used.