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OSHA Electrical Safety Practices Protect You From Electrical Hazards

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Written by Steve Hudgik

Causes Of Electrical Accidents

OSHA reports that most electrical injuries and fatalities result from one of three factors:

  • unsafe equipment or installation
  • unsafe environment
  • unsafe work practices

What OSHA electrical safety practices are recommended?

OSHA recommends five ways to prevent electrical accidents. These are:

  1. use of safe work practices
  2. use of insulation
  3. use of guarding
  4. use of grounding
  5. use of electrical protective devices

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OSHA Electrical Safety - Work Practices

The best protection against electrical accidents is the use of  safe work practices. Examples of electrical safe work practices include:

The best protection against electrical accidents is the use of safe work practices. Examples of electrical safe work practices include:

  • de-energizing electric equipment before inspection or repair
  • using caution and being aware of your surroundings when working near energized lines
  • keeping electric equipment and tools properly maintained
  • using appropriate protective equipment (PPE)

OSHA Electrical safety work practices requirements are given in OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.331 to 1910.335.  Safe electrical work practices for construction are given in 1926.416 to 1926.417.

OSHA Electrical Safety - Insulation

Materials such as rubber, glass, mica and plastic are insulators. They stop or reduce the flow of electrical current. To be effective the insulation must be suitable for the voltage used and environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture, oil, gasoline, corrosive fumes, or other substances that could cause the insulator to fail.

OSHA Electrical Safety - Guarding

Guarding means to put electrical equipment in a location with limited access, or to enclose electrical equipment to limit access. This allows only authorized and trained people to have access to the electrical equipment. Plainly visible ANSI Z535 compliant signs must be posted at the access points for these areas to alert people to the hazard.

OSHA Electrical Safety - Grounding

Grounding means to create a low-resistance path that connects to the earth. This prevents or reduces the buildup of voltages that could cause an electrical accident. Grounding does not provide complete protection from injuries caused by electrical current. It will, however, substantially reduce the risk to both people and equipment, especially when used in combination with other safety measures.

OSHA Electrical Safety - Circuit Protection Devices

Circuit protection devices limit or stop the flow of current automatically in the event of a ground fault, overload, or short circuit. Examples of circuit protection devices include fuses, circuit breakers, ground-fault circuit interrupters, and arc-fault circuit interrupters. They work by de-energizing a circuit when a fault is detected. Circuit protection devices should not be relied on as the primary protection from electrical injury. The are the backup, if all other protection fails.

OSHA Electrical Safety - Effective Labels and Signs

Labels and signs are an important part of electrical safety. They provide OSHA required safety information at the point where the hazard exists. DuraLabel printers are the recognized leading label printer brand for making OSHA compliant electrical warning labels, including NFPA 70E required arc flash labels. Call 1-888-326-9244 today and ask about special DuraLabel electrical safety labeling kits.

The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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