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Electrical Safety Training

Written by Graham McConnell

OSHA's 29 CFR 1910.332 requires that "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." But, without regard to OSHA requirements, your employees need Electrical Safety Training so they can be safe.

Both electrical workers and non-electrical workers need electrical safety training. Non-electrical workers work with and near electrical equipment – electricity cannot be avoided – so all workers need electrical safety training.

Common electrical safety training topics* include:

Electrical Safety Training for Electrical Workers

  • Potential Hazards with Neutral Conductors
  • Test Before Touching
  • Electrical Measurement Safety
  • Guidance for Identifying Spurious Voltages in Isolated Electrical Systems

Electrical Safety Training for Non-Electrical Workers

  • General Electrical Safety Awareness
  • Electrical Cord Safety
  • Electrical Safety for Arc Welding and Plasma Cutting
  • Electrical Safety Working Near Overhead Power Lines
  • Electrical Safety During Excavation and Trenching
  • Electrical Safety for Skilled Worker
  • Electrical Safety for Radiological Control Technician
  • Electrical Safety for Subcontractors
  • Battery Safety and Handling
  • Electrical Safety Awareness Study Guide for Instructors and Students

When asked about the need to train non-electrical workers who open restricted equipment just for visual inspections, Richard E. Fairfax, Director of OSHA's Directorate of Compliance Programs stated:

"The employees you identified are assumed to be non-electrically-qualified workers who will open electrical equipment within restricted areas for visual inspection only. Since these visual inspections would require the removal of enclosures or guards, workers could be exposed via proximity to electric equipment that is energized at levels greater than 50 volts. All employees with direct access to the type of equipment or installations covered by 1910.269 must be trained as required by 1910.269(a)(2)(i) and (ii) in order to meet the definition of a qualified person contained in 1910.269(x)."

What this says is that electrical safety training is required for non-electrical employees whose work exposes them to electrical hazards. Therefore, the minimum acceptable electrical safety training would be:

  1. They must know what is and is not safe to touch in the specific areas they will be entering [CFR 1910.269(a)(2)(ii)(A)].
  2. They must know the maximum voltage of the area [CFR 1910.269(a)(2)(ii)(B)].
  3. They must know the minimum approach distances for the maximum voltage within the area [CFR 1910.269(a)(2)(ii)(C)].
  4. They must be trained in the recognition and proper use of protective equipment that will be used to provide protection for them and in the work practices necessary for performing their specific work assignments within the area [CFR (a)(2)(ii)(D)]. (Note: Only fully qualified electrical employees may install insulating equipment on energized parts.)

Lockout/Tagout Training

A critical part of electrical safety training is Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) training. Many electrical injuries result from not following proper LOTO procedures. OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management provides a free Lockout/Tagout Interactive Training Program.

The program has three major components. You can go through these components at your own pace and in any sequence:

OSHA Tutorial: Explains the OSHA Lockout/Tagout standards using a question/answer format.

OSHA Hot LOTO Topics: Contains five abstracts with a detailed discussion of major issues. Relevant highlighted sections of the all-inclusive documents are linked here.

Interactive Case Studies: Seven simulated LOTO inspections are presented. You will be making decisions on the application of the LOTO standard, based on information presented on the screen.

Another resource for electrical safety training is the NIOSH Safety and Health for Electrical Trades Student Manual. This manual is part of a safety and health curriculum for secondary and post-secondary electrical trades courses. The manual is designed to engage the learner in recognizing, evaluating, and controlling hazards associated with electrical work. The manual is available as a PDF document and can be downloaded here: NIOSH Safety and Health for Electrical Trades

* List comes from the EFCOG web site .

DuraLabel Lockout-Tagout Tag Stock labels are available for purchase. Visit our LOTO page for or more information about our this supply.

The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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