Osha Electrical Safety Standards

Working in an environment that is safe and healthy is not a privilege but a right of every worker regardless of industry. To ensure this, there are multiple agencies, authorities, and governing bodies throughout the world that enforce worker health and safety laws and regulations. One such organization which we are going to talk about today is OSHA.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States, Under the Department of Labor, and was created by Congress in 1971. OSHA’s job is to protect workers and their health at work. In 1971, after the deaths of 14000+ workers on the job, OSH Act was enforced to provide a secure and healthy working environment by the enforcement of laws and standards and by the provision of training, education, and support.

The OSH Act states:

“To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health.”

MISSION:

The main task for OSHA is to avoid and prevent recognized hazards that might cause injuries, diseases, and deaths related to a working environment. OSHA aims to give opportunities to employers, government agencies, professional groups, medical and educational organizations to collaborate with OSHA to avoid recognized hazards.

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Types of Sub

OSHA STANDARDS:

There are certain safety practices and training requirements by OSHA which are called OSHA Standards. These standards are organized into five major categories:

All these categories have regulations that are referenced in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which is the codification of rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments of the federal government of the United States. Title 29 of the CFR, which includes all the OSHA standards and regulations, is reserved for the U.S Department of Labor.

The regulations in the CFR by category type are as follows:

Regulations in the CFR

OSHA STANDARD FOR ELECTRICAL SAFETY:

Regulations for electrical safety can be found in different standards:

General Industry Standards

Maritime Standards

Personal Protective Equipment:

OSHA makes sure that workers are physically protected by enforcing the usage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE for short). This is to reduce the chances of damage or harm to occur to any person working in a hazardous situation where the hazard cannot be predicted, mitigated, or is ever-present. Employees must be trained on how to use the PPE. They should be told why the use of PPE is necessary before they start the job for which it has been provided.

There are 4 different categories of personal protective equipment required in case of an arc flash hazard. Read about it in our blog An Overview of 4 Different Arc Flash PPE Categories.

Where PPE is provided, it must be used as instructed. Employers should make sure that the PPE they purchase complies with the relevant OSHA standards. PPE must be stored in a clean and working condition and should be easy to find in need. It must be inspected regularly to make sure it is in good working order and defective or damaged PPE must be reported at once. It must be tagged (to prevent its use until it has been repaired) or thrown away and replaced.

Personal protective equipment can include a lot of gear, the most common of which are:

Quick Cards:

OSHA also has “Quick Cards” which can act as general guidance for any situation for example:

Burns, shocks, and electrocution are all results of Electrical hazards.

NFPA STANDARD FOR ELECTRICAL SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE

Other standards and regulation governing bodies also provide guidance related to worker protection, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) which has a detailed Electrical code for Electrical safety.

There are about 300 codes and standards published by NFPA to lower the chances of fire hazards and their effects.

NFPA code 70E aims to provide employers the help to avoid workplace injuries and fatalities due to arc flash, shock, electrocution and helps them to comply with OSHA 1910 Subpart S and OSHA 1926 Subpart K

NFPA 70E suggests safe work practices for workers exposed to electrical hazards as well as provides safe work practices for the following scenarios:

  1. When installing conductors or equipment that connect to the electric supply
  2. Installations used by the electric utility that is not a part of a generating plant, substation, or control center

REQUIREMENTS:

Conducting regular meetings is a basic and strongly encouraged requirement to discuss health and security issues related to the workplace but is not necessary for small businesses. Workplace inspection should be carried out to find possible risks and all training and accidents must be documented. Employees must follow guidelines and standards set by OSHA and must use protective equipment, report injuries, and hazardous circumstances, and take care of their own health and of those around them.

Companies and industries also need to be careful about violating any OSHA regulations. Doing so can inflict heavy fines and penalties upon the company. Check out our blog on OSHA violations.

There are state-level OSHA requirements that allow states to develop programs to suit them better than federal requirements. About 24 states and 2 territories of the US have their own safety programs but are in many ways similar to the federal programs.

INJURIES AND ACCIDENTS:

In workplaces, most of these injuries include:

Unsafe working conditions increase the chances of accidents.

OSHA SAFETY MEASURES TO PROTECT WORKERS:

To read the details of each category click onOsha Electrical Safety Standards.

We hope this article proves to be helpful for our readers. Please feel free to give your valuable suggestions in the comments below. Thank you.

Hiring a professional electrical engineer to conduct an Arc Flash Analysis and Short Circuit Study is a great way to ensure the safety of your facility and workers against unwanted incidents.

AllumiaX, LLC is one of the leading providers of Power System Studies in the northwest. Our matchless services and expertise focus on providing adequate analysis on Arc Flash, Transient Stability, Load Flow, Snubber Circuit, Short Circuit, Coordination, Ground Grid, and Power Quality.

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