Everything You Need to Know About OSHA Electrical Safety

Complying with OSHA electricity safety standards is vital to employee safety. Maximizing your compliance will also ensure that your business will be able to satisfactorily meet any inspection requirements and minimize potential penalties

Our experienced team of safety professionals has helped many companies achieve compliance by providing training for various disciplines, holding mock OSHA audits, and creating and implementing appropriate plans, such as the fall protection plan.

Due to the hazardous nature of using electrical equipment in the workplace, we have summarized the most important things to note as a starting point for OSHA electrical safety below.

How Well Do You Know Your Work and Workplace?

As the business owner, you need to know your space like the back of your hand. 

Not being able to name, point out, write out, or draw the circuit and machinery at the job location indicates to the inspector that you don’t know where the workplace hazards lie.

You should additionally be able to detail:

OSHA standards require electrical work to be done only on de-energized parts as far as possible for electrical safety. If it’s absolutely necessary, and lockout or tag out procedures can’t be used, you should be able to prove that you can only work using energized electrical equipment.

osha electrical safety

Have You Conducted an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis?

An arc flash can be a serious workplace hazard. By conducting an arc flash hazard analysis, you can know what measures to put into place if it happens and to prevent it from happening.

Once you have determined the magnitude of an arc blast, you can establish the arc flash boundary. Then use warning and safety signs and barricades for accident protection.

Performing this analysis is also helpful to establish what personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed to protect workers from harm. This should be used in conjunction with the correct electrical protective devices and materials on tools and machinery. 

Are You Keeping OSHA Logs?

When you’ve done the work, keep track of everything that might be requested by an OSHA inspector.

Once you have completed an arc flash hazard analysis, the next step is to record your findings—also, document what has been implemented as a result.

Keep track of PPE hazard assessment, too, and regular tools, equipment and maintenance checks.

Log all occupational illnesses and injuries that occur. By keeping note of what has occurred in the past, you can be sure not to allow it to happen again in the future.

If you want to get fancy, start noting the time of day, day of the week, and holidays of any incidents. Reviewing these at the end of the year might highlight trends or patterns that might not be obvious on the surface. 

Are Your Workers Trained To Use Electrical Equipment Safely?

Giving employees protective tools and machinery is unhelpful if you don’t train them on how to use them safely. 

A very basic example would be that electrical cords cannot be used as permanent wiring. This may cause the extension cord to begin to warp and curl even though it’s an easy way to get power to different locations. This is dangerous because it weakens the efficacy of the extension cord insulation.

Training should include:

osha electrical safety

Are Your Workers Trained To Recognize Electrical Hazards?

OSHA standards require employees to be trained and able to:

The OSHA website provides more detail, but here are some examples.

Power Lines

Buried and overhead lines can be a serious workplace hazard due to their significantly high voltage. 

The correct tools and equipment should be used to decrease risk, including non-conductive wood or fiberglass ladders. Lines should be de-energized or insulated as far as possible.

Ground-Fault Protection

A lack of ground-fault protection can send currents through an employee’s body and result in an explosion or fire.

Visually inspect all electrical equipment before use and make sure there is correct circuit interrupters or equipment grounding conductor program.

Be sure to regularly inspect whether electrical systems have a continuous path to the ground.

Correct Use of Equipment

Indoor equipment should only be used indoors and vice versa. Using tools for things that they weren’t designed to do can be an electrical safety hazard.

Only use tools and machinery as per the manufacturer’s instructions, and don’t try and modify or alter them as this could compromise their safety.

If you would like to outsource training to us to ensure its credibility, we offer:

How Our Safety Gap Model Can Help You

Over the years of assisting businesses to remain compliant with OSHA standards, we have established a specialized Safety Gap Model.

This unique model maintains a holistic view of your safety program, breaking down  gaps in:

Using this, we can identify:

From here, we can offer specialized services and additional resources as we see fit, for example, on OSHA logs or employee training.

What’s more, we offer an underwriter package to help lower your insurance costs. This is done by reducing workers’ compensation, property insurance premiums, and other indirect costs.

Key Takeaways

There are many questions to ask yourself and your employees to determine whether you are OSHA electrical safety compliant. 

The sooner you start asking yourself these questions – the better. Additionally, you should get used to being able to provide the required answers.

Once you have done your part, why not contact us to run a mock OSHA audit? That way, we can identify the safety gaps that need to be addressed and help you maximize compliance.



Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this guide is accurate. You should note, however, that the information is intended as a guide only, providing an overview of general information available to businesses. This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information and should not be seen to constitute legal, safety or business advice. You should, where necessary, seek your own advice for any issues raised in your affairs.

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