Earlier this year, OSHA updated its standards for electric-power generation, transmission and distribution work, as well as for electrical protective equipment, covering general industry and construction.
The updated standards mandate improved fall protection for workers on aerial lifts and towers, adopt revised approach-distance requirements to ensure that unprotected workers don’t get too close to energized lines and equipment, and address the safe use and care of electrical protective equipment.
They also include new requirements to protect workers from arc-flash hazards.
The revised standards mandate that employers:
- Assess the workplace to identify employees exposed to hazards from flames or from electric arcs.
- Make reasonable estimates of the incident heat energy of any electric-arc hazard to which an employee would be exposed.
- Ensure that employees exposed to hazards from flames or electric arcs do not wear clothing that could melt onto their skin or that could ignite and continue to burn when exposed to flames or the estimated heat energy.
- Ensure that the outer layer of clothing worn by an employee is flame resistant under certain conditions.
- With certain exceptions, ensure that employees exposed to hazards from electric arcs wear protective clothing and other protective equipment with an arc rating greater than or equal to the estimated heat energy.
This photo gallery provides some quick facts about arc-flash and electrical injuries.