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.”


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Types of Sub


  • General Industry
  • Maritime
  • Construction
  • Agriculture
  • Federal Employee Programs

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


General Industry Standards

Maritime Standards

Personal Protective Equipment:

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:

  • overalls and protective aprons
  • protection headgear — safety helmets, wide-brimmed hats to protect against the sun
  • safety boots or shoes
  • safety glasses or goggles
  • gloves
  • respirators and masks
  • earmuffs and earpieces

Quick Cards:

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

  • Overhead powerlines must be assumed to be energized to lethal voltages. Downed lines, even if insulated, must never be touched.
  • Fallen lines must be reported to the electric utility company.
  • Stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from overhead wires during clean-up and other activities. In presence of overhead lines, the work area must first be surveyed to stay clear of the lines while performing work.
  • In case an overhead line falls on your vehicle while you are inside, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the vehicle stalls do not leave it and warn people not to touch either the vehicle or the downed line. Contact the local electric utility company or emergency services.
  • Employees must wear PPE for the face or eyes wherever there is a danger of injury to the face or eyes from electric arcs or flashes or from flying objects resulting from a short circuit or electrical explosion
  • Electrical equipment must never be operated while standing in water.
  • Ask a qualified electrician to inspect electrical equipment that has gotten wet before using it.
  • When working in a location that is damp, electric cords and equipment must be inspected to ensure they are in good condition and free of defects.
  • Always use caution when working near electricity.


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


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.


  • slips, trips, and falls
  • muscle strains
  • hit by falling objects
  • repetitive strain injury
  • crashes and collisions
  • cuts and lacerations
  • inhaling toxic fumes
  • exposure to loud noise
  • getting stuck in or struck by moving machinery
  • transportation and vehicle-related accidents
  • explosions
  • overexertion and repetitive stress injuries

Unsafe working conditions increase the chances of accidents.


  • Duties of employees
  • Employee involvement in safety planning
  • Employee feedback
  • Give clear working instructions
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Machine maintenance
  • Safety meetings
  • Cleanliness at the workplace
  • Preemptive measure
  • Safety guidelines review

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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About The Author

Abdur Rehman is the CEO and co-founder of allumiax.com and creator of GeneralPAC by AllumiaX. He has been actively involved in various roles in the IEEE Seattle Section, IEEE PES Seattle, IEEE Region 6, and IEEE MGA.

Leaders in Industrial & Commercial Power Systems Engineering