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OSHA revising 40-year-old standards for electric generation and T&D

April 2, 2014 | By Anthony Capkun

April 2, 2014 – The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) in the States is issuing a FINAL RULE (download below) that aims to improve workplace safety and health for workers performing electric power generation, transmission and distribution work.

“This long-overdue update will save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 serious injuries annually,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labour for occupational safety and health. “Electric utilities, electrical contractors and labour organizations have persistently championed these much-needed measures to better protect the men and women who work on or near electrical powerlines.”

OSHA says it is revising the 40-year-old construction standard for electric powerline work to make it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard, and is also making some revisions to the construction and general industry requirements.

The updated standards for general industry and construction include new or revised provisions for host and contract employers to share safety-related information with each other and with employees, as well as for improved fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts and on overhead line structures.

In addition, the standards adopt revised approach-distance requirements to better ensure that unprotected workers do not get dangerously close to energized lines and equipment. The final rule also adds new requirements to protect workers from electric arcs.

General industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment are also revised under the final rule. The new standard for electrical protective equipment applies to all construction work and replaces the existing construction standard with a set of performance-oriented requirements consistent with the latest revisions of the relevant consensus standards.

The new standards address the safe use and care of electrical protective equipment, including new requirements that equipment made of materials other than rubber provide adequate protection from electrical hazards.

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