Worker injuries resulting from inadequate electrical engineering controls can be debilitating and even fatal. It is the OEHS professional's responsibility to guide employers on their obligations to maintain a safe work environment through engineering electrical hazard controls.

NFPA electrical safety codes including NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code), NFPA 79 (Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery), and NFPA 70B (Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance) provide guidance for engineering controls to electrical hazards and are typically cited by OSHA general industry standard 1910.303 (Electrical-General Requirements) and 1910.305 (Electrical Wiring Methods). All standards provide guidance for electrical installation requirements for engineering control of electrical hazards. Outlined are top 10 OSHA general industry citations for electrical installations and methods for hazard mitigation utilizing NFPA codes as guidance.

Safety & Electrical Hazards

Electrical Design Standards refer to electrical equipment is built and designed for specific types of service. Electrical equipment will operate with maximum efficiency and safety only when used for the purposes and conditions intended. NEC specifies electrical installation or engineering control requirements. OSHA electrical safety standards, particularly those reference in 1910.303 (Electrical-General Requirements) and 1910.305 (Electrical Wiring Methods) use NFPA electrical safety guidance standards. NFPA uses a 3-tiered approach for guidance for worker protection from electrical hazards: build it safely (NFPA 70), work on it safely (NFPA 70E), and maintain it properly (NFPA 70B).

OSHA Top Ten Violations Defined

During OSHA fiscal year 2015, electrical citations ranked number 8 and number 10 in the top 10 cited. Violations in number 8 relate to electrical wiring methods (1910.305) and covers grounding of electrical equipment, wiring and insulation. It includes temporary wiring such as flexible cords and cables. Violations in number 10 relate to general requirements for designing electrical systems (1910.303). All standards use NFPA standards for compliance guidance.

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