|Electrical incidents might not happen as often as some other types of workplace accidents, but when they do, they can be fatal. Make sure your electrical systems meet the requirements for safeguarding employees.|
U.S. OSHA’s electrical safety rules for general industry workplaces (29 CFR 1910, Subpart S) cover electrical safety requirements that are necessary for the practical safeguarding of employees in the workplace.
To achieve that important goal, the regulations include:
- Design safety standards for electric utilization systems (all electric equipment and installations used to provide electric power for workplaces)
- Safety-related work practices for both “qualified” (those who have a specific level of training) and “unqualified” (those who have little or no training) employees.
Today, we’re going to focus on system design issues.
These are among the general requirements of 29 CFR 1910.303:
Examination, installation, and use of equipment. Electrical equipment must be free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. Listed or labeled equipment must be used or installed in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling.
Splices. Conductors must be spliced or joined with splicing devices suitable for the use, or by brazing, welding, or soldering with a fusible metal or alloy.
Arcing parts. Parts of electric equipment which in ordinary operation produce arcs, sparks, flames, or molten metal, must be enclosed or separated and isolated from all combustible material.
Marking. Electrical equipment may not be used unless the manufacturer’s name, trademark, or other descriptive marking by which the organization responsible for the product may be identified is placed on the equipment. Other markings must be provided giving voltage, current, wattage, or other ratings as necessary. The marking must be of sufficient durability to withstand the environment involved.
Marking for series combination ratings. Where circuit breakers or fuses are applied in compliance with the series combination ratings marked on the equipment by the manufacturer, the equipment enclosures must be legibly marked to indicate that the equipment has been applied with a series combination rating.
Identification of disconnecting means and circuits. Each disconnecting means required by Subpart S for motors and appliances must be legibly marked to indicate its purpose, unless it is located and arranged so that the purpose is evident. Disconnecting means must also be capable of being locked in the open position.
Working space about electric equipment (600 Volts, nominal, or less). Sufficient access and working space must be provided and maintained about all electric equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment. Live parts of electric equipment operating at 50 volts or more must be guarded against accidental contact by approved cabinets or other forms of approved enclosures, or by any of the following:
- By location in a room, vault, or similar enclosure that is accessible only to qualified persons
- By permanent, substantial partitions or screens accessible only by qualified persons
- By placement on a suitable balcony, gallery, or platform inaccessible by unqualified persons
- By elevation of 8 feet or more above the floor or other working surface
Working space about electric equipment (over 600 volts, nominal.) There are additional safety requirements for conductors and equipment used on circuits exceeding 600 volts concerning enclosures for electrical installations, workspace distances, and entrance and access to workspaces.
Contact SWMSC today for a low cost, comprehensive safety audit of your facility.