Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices

Only qualified workers who have been trained in the avoidance of electrical hazards are permitted to work on or near exposed energized parts. Safety related work practices are employed to prevent electric shock or other injuries resulting from either direct or indirect electrical contact when work is performed near or on equipment or circuits which are or may be energized. The specific safety-related work practices must be consistent with the nature and extent of the associated electrical hazards.

Qualified Personnel vs. Unqualified Personnel

For the purposes of electrical safety related work practices, there are two types of employees in the work place that may come in contact with electrical equipment on a jobsite: qualified and unqualified. A Qualified employee is defined as a worker who

  • Has been trained to avoid electrical hazards when working on or near exposed energized parts.
  • Is familiar with the safety related work practices as required by OSHA standards.
  • Is able to distinguish exposed live parts of electrical equipment.
  • Is knowledgeable of the skills and techniques used to determine the nominal voltages of exposed parts and components.

An Unqualified employee is defined as a worker who has little or no training regarding electrical hazards. Even though unqualified persons should not be exposed to energized parts, they should be provided with information and training necessary to perform their job in a safe manner and understand the following:

  • Be familiar with any electrical hazards in the workplace.
  • Understand procedures to follow and to protect themselves when they work around electricity.
  • Understand which tasks that can only be performed by qualified workers (e.g. maintenance and repairs).
  • Know when and how to report electrical problems.
  • Know what to do in the event of emergency involving electricity.
  • Know how to inspect electrical tools and equipment before use to make sure insulation and wiring are in good condition.

Live parts to which an employee may be exposed must be deenergized before the employee works on or near them unless deenergizing the parts introduces additional or increased hazards or is unfeasible due to equipment design or operational limitations. Examples of increased or additional hazards include interruption of life support equipment, deactivation of emergency alarm systems, shutdown of hazardous location ventilation equipment, or removal of illumination for an area. Live parts that operate at less than 50 volts to ground need not be deenergized if there are no increased exposures to electrical burns or to explosions due to electric arcs