PCCA Journal 2nd Quarter 2014 - page 9

PCCA Journal|2
Quarter 2014
he Occupational Safety and Health Administra-
tion (OSHA) announced in April that it would
be issuing a final rule to improve workplace
safety and health for workers performing
electric power generation, transmission, and
distribution work. Following is the agency’s press release on
the rule.
“This long-overdue update will save nearly 20 lives and
prevent 118 serious injuries annually,” said OSHA head Dr.
David Michaels. “Electric utilities, electrical contractors,
and labor organizations have persistently championed these
much-needed measures to better protect the men and women
who work on or near electrical power lines.”
OSHA is revising the 40-year-old construction standard for
electric power line work to make it more consistent with the
corresponding general industry standard and is also mak-
ing 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 construc-
tion standard, which was based on out-of-date information,
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 electri-
cal protective equipment, including new requirements that
equipment made of materials other than rubber provide
adequate protection from electrical hazards.
Significant Changes to the Standards
General Training
• The degree of training must be determined by risk to the
worker for the hazard involved.
• Qualified workers must have training to recognize and con-
trol or avoid electrical hazards present at the worksite.
• Line-clearance tree trimmers must have training to dis-
tinguish exposed live parts and to determine the voltage
on those parts, and they must have training in minimum
approach distances and how to maintain them.
• It is no longer necessary for employers to certify that work-
ers are proficient in safe work practices.
Host Employers and Contractors
• Host and contract employers must share information with
each other on safety-related matters and must coordinate
their work rules and procedures.
Fall Protection
• On and after April 1, 2015, qualified workers must use fall
protection when climbing or changing location on poles,
towers, or similar structures unless climbing or changing
location with fall protection is infeasible or creates a great-
er hazard than climbing or changing location without it.
• Fall arrest equipment must be capable of passing a drop
test after exposure to an electric arc with a heat energy of
40±5 cal/ cm2 if the workers using the fall protection are
exposed to flames or electric arc hazards.
• On and after April 1, 2015, work-positioning equipment
must be rigged so that workers can free fall no more than
2 feet.
• Information on the inspection of work-positioning equip-
ment appears in appendices to the standards.
Minimum Approach Distances and Insulation
• Revised minimum approach distances become effective on
April 1, 2015.
• Information to help employers establish minimum ap-
OSHA Announces Final Rule
Revising Standards for Power Work
Continued on page 10
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