I decided to start this new thread to discuss some of the issues brought up in another thread in this forum: https://www.electrical-contractor.net/ubb/Forum16/HTML/000180.html
mxslick, you provided some excellent tips in that previous thread.
1: Always wear PPE when working on anything over 100 volts;
2: NEVER stand directly in front of any breaker/disconnect/fuse pull block when opening or reclosing (and that includes breakers in resi panels!);
3: LOOK AWAY when doing any of the items in #2, so if it arcs you stand lesser chance of eye damage;
4: NEVER pull/install meters without PPE, especially NEVER pull meters to cut power on a faulted system;
5: Most importantly, stay alert and DON'T rush when working live. Despite the pressure to finish/restore power, the extra time it takes to do it safely is a helluva lot less than the time to deal with an injury or equipment damage from rushing.
However, along with captal, I would like to expand on one of your tips and propose the following:
Tip #1. Always use appropriate safe work practices and PPE when you are working on any energized circuit. [ref. NFPA 70E Part II 2-1.1]
All energized circuits present a risk of either direct injuries (electrocution, shock, burns) or indirect injuries (falls). Therefore, you must use appropriate methods to control the hazard.
captal, I agree, everyone should read 70E and develop an electrical safety program. I just wanted to clarify one of your statements...
…wearing gloves above 50 volts is an OSHA requirement. It applies to everyone. OSHA has adopted the new NFPA 70E as a standard and will use it for citing violations.
I assume that you mean that OSHA has adopted 70E-2004. Although I wish it was true, this is unfortunately incorrect.
The current OSHA regulations [29 CFR 1910.301-308] are based on the original version of 70E from 1979, which did not include Part II Safety Related Work Practices. In the early 1990's, OSHA added several sections to its electrical regulations that address a few safety related work practices [1910.331-335], but, they did not incorporate or adopt all of 70E Part II, nor have they included many of the other revisions to 70E that have happened since 1979. Technically, OSHA does not enforce 70E or other "consensus" standards. Compliance officers can use consensus standards as "evidence that a hazard is "recognized" and that there is a feasible means of correcting such a hazard." The OSHA standard that requires the employer to identify electrical hazards and provide PPE is 1910.335(a)(2):
Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed.
OSHA regularly issues "Letters of Interpretation" and "Directives" that clarify or provide additional insight into their enforcement strategy. One of the more current letters addressing the use of 70E is from 2003 and can be viewed on their website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=246 17
Neither the OSHA regulations, nor NFPA 70E specify a particular voltage when PPE must be provided and used by employees. Everything depends on an assessment and whether or not other appropriate means exist to protect employees (e.g., denergizing or guarding).
One of the more frustrating things that I find as a safety and health inspector is the level of electrical safety knowledge in the workplace. There are far too many unqualified people performing electrical work and too many people that do not understand the fundamentals of electrical safety.
OSHA has a standard that I use frequently, to ensure that employers understand their obligation to provide training:
Employees shall be trained in and familiar with the safety-related work practices required by 1910.331 through 1910.335 that pertain to their respective job assignments.
I explain to employers that this requirement applies to both “qualified” people AND “unqualified” people. Every one needs a fundamental understanding of electrical safety and the hazards present in the workplace.
If everyone was more educated, Joe would have fewer pictures to post in the Violation Photo Forum.
That would be (as Martha Stewart might say) a "good thing."
I hope this wasn't too long winded. It's time for me to get off of my soapbox and let everyone else contribute to the discussion.
Edited to correct UBB Code error.
[This message has been edited by safetygem (edited 01-18-2005).]