Let me begin with your post script. Do you have me confused with oshaman ? Iâ€™m OSHA Professor. You and I have never had any discussion regarding same. Perhaps the book you are referring to is â€śAn Illustrated Guide to Electrical Safetyâ€ť Fourth Edition, published by ASSE and edited by Thomas M. Kovacic.
Youâ€™re question â€śHow does the revised 2002 NEC definition of "Qualified Person" sit with OSHA? â€ś Iâ€™m not sure with what you mean by â€śsit with OSHAâ€ť . Let me say that OSHA has no opinion whatsoever regarding the definition change in the 2002 NEC. Does this change, in any way impact OSHA or affect our enforcement in any way? No! Iâ€™ve seen all the endless discussions regarding this change on some board back when the 2002 NEC was published and I wonâ€™t go into all those pros and cons which you are aware.
From an OSHA perspective it is of no consequence for numerous reasons which I will elaborate on. First of all as a professional who trains electrical inspectors you are aware that AHJâ€™s canâ€™t cite definitions. OSHA canâ€™t cite definitions. We use them to clarify the requirements of standards (regulations). OSHA already defines qualified person in 1910.399 and itâ€™s the same as NFPA 70-1999 (1999 NEC). Our definition has been there since we promulgated the electrical safety related work practices standard and even earlier in our construction standards. Legally we canâ€™t go to a consensus organizations definition if we already defined the term. As a side note we canâ€™t use a consensus organizations standard such as the NEC (using our 5 (a) (1) general duty clause if we (OSHA) already has a specific standard which addresses the hazard. OSHA always has to use / cite the most vertical (specific) standard. This is despite the fact the NEC may be more restrictive.
Now having said all that, does OSHA think training is important ? Absolutely ! So much so that OSHA has specific standards (have had for years) that require training. You are familiar with the OSHA web site at www.osha.gov
Check out 1926.21 (b) (2) in the construction standards. This requires all employees to be trained to recognize and avoid hazards they are likely to encounter on a construction site (Iâ€™m paraphrasing it off the top of my head), 1910.332 is training under the electrical safety related work practice standard in the OSHA general industry standards. This also requires training for both qualified as well as unqualified electrical workers. These specific training requirements for qualified workers goes well beyond the current definition for qualified in the 2002 NEC.
Again, OSHA must use the most vertical standards even when using consensus organization standards. The NEC is not the place we would use to reference electrical work practices, because it isnâ€™t a work practice standard it is more appropriately characterized or categorized as an installation specification standard.
There are four primary types or categories of electrical standards for safety. The first category deals with how do we install electrical equipment, devices, etc so its safe or more specifically the premises wiring system introduces no hazards? We go to the NEC and OSHA installation specification standards 1910.301 - .308 for that information. However is it possible to install a device or equipment according to these installation specification standards and still have an unsafe or hazardous condition ? Yes if someone made the equipment or device in their garage. Enter the second category of standards. Standards that insure that any product is manufactured to do itâ€™s intended function safely such as U.L. standards or product listing. OSHA has an NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) program and requires all electrical equipment in the workplace to be listed or labeled by an OSHA NRTL. OSHA NRTLâ€™s include U.L., FM, CSA, ETL and others. OSHA Standards 1910.303(a) & .303 (b) (1) i & 1926.401(a)& (b,).
Since itâ€™s possible to install safely and have a listed piece of equipment and still introduce hazards such as brewing gasoline through an electric coffee maker or misuse relocatable power taps (LOL) enter the third category of standards. Installation and use OSHA 1910.303(b)(2), 1926.403(b)(2), NEC Article 110.3 These all state that listed and labeled equipment shall be used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing and labeling.
Finally the last category is for when we work on or near electrical installations and equipment, the electrical safety related work practices standards, OSHA 1910.331-.335 and NFPA 70 E. These are the two standards that OSHA would use for qualified worker training requirements and actual work practices including some PPE requirements.
I do recognize that there is some overlap in these standards categories such as Article 110.2 , 110.3b and some other overlap. Remember, Iâ€™m categorizing generally.
The final point Iâ€™d like to make is that the NFPA 70 E â€śStandard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplacesâ€ť contains both safe work practices in itâ€™s part II, and also contains installation specification standards from the NEC in itâ€™s part I. This has been a valuable tool for OSHA because in the past, lawyers have submitted the argument that since the NEC has itâ€™s roots in 1897 hazards considerations which are primarily for property protection it is not directly nor was it intended when adopted to address people protection. Since NFPA 70 E has taken all the installation specification standards that pertain to people protection and included them in 70 E Part I, it solves lots of enforcement issues. Lastly since OSHA construction standards in the 1926 have very little for electrical safety related work practices (found in 1926.416) OSHA has the option to use NFPA 70 E on any electrically related construction activities. Such as qualified person either testing or racking in or out breakers on a 120/240v panel which is a hazard addressed in 70 E. I wonder how many qualified persons de-energize the panel to do that or are wearing insulated gloves, FR clothing, face shield and have insulated (not wrapped with electrical tape but real insulated) tools.
Try not to ask such a lengthy or detailed question next time Joe. Thanks to everyone for allowing me this forum. Thus endith the OSHA lesson.
OSHA Professor - Grizzy