Ohio OSHA Law Blog

by Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis

OSHA’s Top 10 Hit List: No. 10 — General Electrical Requirements

This week, we start our countdown of the 10 OSHA standards employers violate most frequently.

No. 10: Standard 1910.303 — Electrical, General Requirements

This standard covers electrical use systems of 600 volts or less, and discusses:

  • Examination, installation, and use of electrical equipment
  • Wire splices
  • Arcing parts
  • Markings
  • Identification of disconnecting means and circuits
  • Working space around electric equipment
  • Guarding of live parts
  • Wiring methods

While I am not an electrician (ask my wife), let me highlight a few key components of this standard.

1. Proper examination, installation, and use of electrical equipment. For example:

  • Are only approved conductors and equipment used for electrical installations?
  • Is equipment used and installed in accordance with instructions on the listing or label?
  • Is all electrical equipment free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm?

2. Arching parts. Are all parts of electrical equipment that can produce arcs, sparks, flames, or molten metal either enclosed, or otherwise isolated from combustible material?

3. Markings. Is all electrical equipment marked, in a fashion durable enough to withstand the working environment, with:

  • The identity of the manufacturer?
  • All applicable electrical ratings (e.g., voltage, current, wattage)?

4. Identification of disconnecting means and circuits:

  • Is each disconnecting means for motors, appliances, other motorized equipment legibly marked to indicate its purpose?
  • Is each breaker, service, feeder, and branch circuit legibly marked to indicate its purpose?

5. Working space:

  • Is access and working space around electrical equipment sufficient to provide ready and safe operation and maintenance?
  • Are required working spaces around electrical equipment kept free of stored materials?
  • Is illumination, and a minimum headroom of 6 feet, 3 inches, provided for all working spaces around service equipment, switchboards, panel boards, and motor control centers?

6. Guarding:

  • Are live parts of electrical equipment operating at 50 volts or more guarded against contact by approved cabinets or other forms of approved enclosures?
  • Are the enclosures or guards arranged, and of sufficient strength, to prevent physical damage?
  • Are all entrances to locations containing exposed live parts marked with conspicuous warning signs forbidding unqualified persons to enter?
  • When normally enclosed live parts are exposed for maintenance and repair, are they guarded to protect unqualified persons from contact?
  • Are safety signs, safety symbols, or accident prevention tags used where necessary to warn employees about electrical hazards?

This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a solid overview of the types of electric issues and potential hazards employers should be examining to guard against OSHA citations for violations of the General Electrical Standard.

Next week, No. 9 — Machine Guarding.

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