SAFETY POLICY

Electrical Related Safe Work Practices SP# 1910.301


Quick Reference

1.0 Purpose
2.0 Scope and Applicability
3.0 Reference
4.0 Policy
5.0 General Responsibilities
6.0 Procedure
6.1 Definitions
6.2 General Provisions
6.2.1 Training
6.2.2 Lockout/Tagout Requirements
6.2.3 Safety Related Work Practices
6.2.4 Portable Electric Equipment
6.2.5 Hazardous Locations
6.2.6 Protective Equipment
6.2.7 Labels, Signs Markings
6.3 Specific Responsibilities
6.3.1 Managers
6.3.2 Supervisors
6.3.3 Employees
6.3.4 Safety Risk Management
APPENDIX A: Approach Distances
APPENDIX B: Specific Types of Work Practices
APPENDIX C: Electrical Inspection Checklist
APPENDIX D: Classified Locations
APPENDIX E: Electrical Related Safe Work Practices Program Checklist


1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this safety policy is to establish guidelines and procedures for North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) employees who may be exposed to electrically related hazards. 


2.0 Scope and Applicability

Electrical accidents are generally caused by unsafe conditions, unsafe acts, or combination of the two. Some unsafe electric equipment and installations can be identified by the presence of damaged  insulation, improper grounding, loose connections, defective parts, ground faults in equipment, or energized parts left unguarded.
Environments containing flammable vapors, liquids, or gases; areas containing a corrosive atmosphere and wet and damp locations are environments that can create electrical hazards.
Unsafe acts, such as the failure to de-energize electrical equipment when it is being repaired or inspected, the intentional removal of grounding pins from electrical cords, the use of defective and unsafe electrically powered tools, or the use of tools or equipment to close to energized parts all contribute to electrical hazards.


This safety policy provides guidelines for working safely around electrical hazards. It includes provisions for training, lockout/tagout requirements, and information on required safety related work practices. Guidelines are also presented for specific types of work practices and include required precautionary practices when using portable electric equipment and while working in hazardous locations. Additionally,  examples of labels, signs, and marking requirements are provided.

This document details the areas of responsibility for NCDENR managers, supervisors, employees, and Safety Risk Management within NCDENR.

At a minimum, the following list of job classifications and tasks within NCDENR are among those impacted by this safety policy: 


At a minimum, the following job classifications and tasks may be affected by this safety policy if they are exposed to parts of electrical circuits operating at 50 volts or greater:
Additionally, any employee who, as a result of his or her job duties, is exposed to electrical related hazards is  affected by this safety policy. 
3.0 Reference

This safety policy is established in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry (29 CFR 1910.301-335, 29 CFR 1910.137) and Occupational Safety and Health Standards for Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926.400-417). Additional references and resources include NC OSHA's, A Guide to Electrical Safety.


4.0 Policy

It is the policy of NCDENR to provide a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or physical harm to employees or the public. Therefore, at a minimum, these requirements will be followed in NCDENR:


5.0 General Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of each manager, supervisor, and employee to ensure implementation of NCDENR's safety policy on Electrical Related Safe Work Practices. It is also the responsibility of each NCDENR employee to immediately report any unsafe act or condition to his or her supervisor. Specific responsibilities are found in Section 6.3.


6.0 Procedure

This section provides definitions, establishes general provisions, and identifies specific responsibilities as required by NCDENR's safety policy on Electrical Related Safe Work Practices.


6.1 Definitions

Classified Location
Locations that are classified based on  the presence and properties of  flammable vapors, liquids or gases, combustible dust or fibers which may be present and the likelihood that a combustible or flammable concentration or quantity is present.

Electrical Hazards-
Any risk of electrical shock that is not reduced to a safe level by the electrical installation.

Exposed-
Part of any electrical circuit that is capable of being inadvertently touched or having an unsafe approach distance for an individual.

Ground-
A conducting connection, whether intentional or accidental, between an electrical circuit or equipment and the earth, or to some conducting body that serves in place of the earth.

Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter (GFCI)-
A device whose function is to monitor the amount of current flowing from the hot wire to the neutral neutral wire and if there is any imbalance, to trip (interrupt) the electric circuit if the current exceeds some predetermined value that is less than that required to trigger the fuse or circuit breaker.

Qualified Person-
Those persons who are permitted to work on or near exposed energized parts and are trained in electrical safe work practices.

Safety Related Work Practices-
Skills and techniques used to safely perform work activities near or on electrical equipment.

Wet Location-
Installations underground or in concrete slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth, and locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids; such as vehicle washing areas, vehicle service areas, and locations unprotected and exposed to weather.


6.2 General Provisions

This section details the provisions of this safety policy with each area discussed in a separate subsection. The provisions adopted by NCDENR are:


6.2.1 Training

It is the responsibility of each exposed employee's immediate supervisor to ensure that the employee has received the training necessary to safely perform his or her duties. This training will be given via classroom and on-the-job instruction and is to be documented.

Exposed employees shall be trained in and become familiar with the safety related work practices required by 29 CFR 1910 section 331 through 335, and safety related work practices contained within the National Electric Code, as they pertain to their respective job assignments. Additional training requirements for Qualified Persons are also mandated.

Employees will be trained in specific hazards associated with their potential exposure. This training will include isolation of energy, hazard identification, premises wiring, connection to supply, generation, transmission, distribution installations, clearance distances, and emergency procedures.

Qualified Persons shall, at a minimum, be trained in and familiar with:


6.2.2 Lockout/Tagout Requirements

All electrical energy sources must be locked out or tagged out or both when any employee is exposed to direct or indirect contact with parts of fixed electrical equipment or circuits. Refer to SP# 1910.147, Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout), for additional detail.


6.2.3 Safety Related Work Practices

Safety related work practices will be used to prevent electric shock or other injuries resulting from either direct or indirect electrical contacts. Safety related work practices will be consistent with the nature and extent of the associated electrical hazards. Specific types of work practices covered by this safety policy include:

Appendix B details these specific work practices. Appendix C provides an electrical inspection checklist to assess electrical hazards in your workplace.
6.2.4 Portable Electric Equipment

All portable electric equipment will be handled in such a manner that will not damage or reduce service life. Flexible cords connected to equipment may not be used for raising or lowering equipment and will not be used if damage to the outer insulation is present. Additionally, to ensure the safety of employees, periodic and pre-use visual inspections of the cords are required and unauthorized alterations of the grounding protection are not authorized. Prior to each shift, a visual inspection will be performed for external defects and for possible internal damage.
Attachment or adapter (cheater) plugs and receptacles may not be used or altered which would prevent proper continuity of the equipment grounding conductor. In addition, these devices may not be altered to allow the grounding pin of the equipment's plug to be bypassed, thereby removing the grounding pins desired safety function.


6.2.5 Hazardous Locations

Portable electric equipment and flexible cords used in highly conductive work locations, or in job locations where employees are likely to contact water or conductive liquids, shall be approved by the manufacturer for those locations. The hazardous locations that employees shall be made aware of include, wet locations and locations where combustible or flammable atmospheres are present.
For wet locations, employees' hands will not be wet when plugging and unplugging energized equipment. Energized plug and receptacle connections will be handled only with protective equipment if the condition could provide a conductive path to the employee's hand (if, for example, a cord connector is wet from being immersed in water). In addition, ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) protection is required for some equipment/locations and is also recommended for use in all wet or highly conductive locations.
For combustible/flammable atmospheres, all electric equipment and wiring systems in classified locations must meet The National Electric Code requirements for that particular classification. See Appendix D for definitions of Classified Locations.


6.2.6 Protective Equipment

Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards will be provided with and use protective equipment that is appropriate for the work to be performed. ( EXCEPTION: Electrical supply cabinets containing only a properly grounded, low voltage supply source will not be required to wear electrical safety boots or rubber insulating gloves.  However, safe electrical work practices shall be followed.)

Examples of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which might be needed for protection against electric shock include, but are not limited to:


NFPA 70E Table 130.7(C)(11)
Protective Clothing Characteristics
FR clothing

6.2.7 Labels, Signs, and Markings

Barricades, safety signs, safety symbols, or accident prevention tags (see Figure 1) will be used where necessary to warn and protect employees from contact with electrical hazards.

Electric Danger Tag

Figure 1

Electrical equipment may not be used unless the manufacturer's name, trademark, or other descriptive marking is placed on the equipment.

Other markings shall be provided giving voltage, current, or wattage. The marking shall be of sufficient durability to withstand the environmental conditions where the equipment/panel is located.

Covers for electrical panels shall be permanently marked “HIGH VOLTAGE.” The marking shall be on the outside of the box cover and shall be readily visible and legible. See Figure 2a and 2b for examples.


Danger High Voltage sign Danger High Voltage sign 2
Figure 2a Figure 2b



6.3 Specific Responsibilities


6.3.1 Managers

Managers are responsible for ensuring that adequate funding is available to provide proper equipment, supplies, and training for exposed employees. They will also be responsible for identifying the employees affected by this safety policy. Managers will obtain and coordinate the required training for the affected employees. Managers will also ensure compliance with this safety policy through their auditing process.


6.3.2 Supervisors

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that only qualified employees are assigned or permitted to perform work directly on energized parts of equipment. It is the responsibility of supervisor's to ensure that employee's  who report to them, and are exposed to energized equipment, receive the training necessary to safely perform his or her duties. Supervisors are also responsible for ensuring that employees under their direct supervision comply with the requirements and responsibilities of this safety policy.

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that electrical equipment, such as circuit breaker panels, disconnects, and fixed power tools, within their employee's work station area, are kept free from stored items, debris, and any liquids or material that would create slippery floors or obstruct access to the equipment for maintenance or emergencies. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that a list of all energized equipment and machinery used by their employees, including isolation points and procedures for safe operation, are developed for review by employees and regulating agencies.


6.3.3 Employees

Each employee will comply with this safety policy. It is the responsibility of each employee to identify potential hazards when required to work with or near sources of electrical energy. Employees will not perform work involving exposure to potentially hazardous levels of electrical energy without instruction/training specific to the hazards of the tasks. Employees shall practice good housekeeping and observe activities that could cause electrical shock hazards. Good housekeeping will include but is not limited to:


Employees will report suspected hazards to their supervisors immediately.
Employees are also responsible for performing daily visual inspections of all portable electric equipment to be used during that work shift. 


6.3.4 Safety Risk Management

Safety Risk Management will provide prompt assistance to managers, supervisors, or others as applicable on any matter concerning this safety policy. Safety Risk Management will assist in locating resources for any required training.
Division/Office/Program Safety Consultants and Safety Officers shall be responsible to provide consultative, training and audit assistance on Electrical Related Safe Work Practices.


APPENDIX A: Approach Distances for Qualified Employees - Alternating Current
 
Voltage Range
(phase to phase)

Minimum Approach
Distance
300V and less
Avoid Contact
Over 300V, but less than 750V
1 ft. 0 in. (30.5 cm)
Over 750V, but less than 2kV 
1 ft. 6 in. (46 cm)
Over 2kV, but less than 15kV 
2 ft. 0 in. (61 cm)
Over 15kV, but less than 37kV
3 ft. 0 in. (91 cm)
Over 37kV, but less than 87.5kV 
3 ft. 6 in. (107 cm)
Over 87.5kV, but less than 121kV 
4 ft. 0 in. (122 cm)
Over 121kV, but less than 140kV
4 ft. 6 in. (137 cm)


APPENDIX B: Specific Types of Work Practices
 

Conductive Materials and Equipment- Conductive materials and equipment (e.g., hand tools) will be handled to prevent contact with exposed energized conductors or circuit parts. Conductive articles of jewelry and clothing (such as watch bands, bracelets, rings, key chains, necklaces, metallic style aprons, cloth with conductive thread, or metal headgear) will not be worn.

De-energized Parts-
All electrical parts exceeding 50 volts will be de-energized before an employee works on or near equipment unless:


When any employee is exposed to direct or indirect contact with parts of fixed electrical equipment or circuits which have been de-energized, the electrical energy source will be locked out, tagged out or both.
Supervisors refer to SP# 1910.147 Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout), for guidance on these procedures.


Energized Parts-

If work must be performed while equipment is energized, additional safety measures will be taken to ensure the safety of the employee. Protection from energized parts will be suitable for the type of hazard involved. Supervisors should refer to Chapter 15  SP# 1910.137, Electrical Protective Devices, for additional detail. Only Qualified Persons will be allowed to perform work directly on energized parts or equipment. Qualified Persons will be capable of working safely on energized circuits and will be familiar with special precautionary techniques, Personal Protective Equipment, insulating and shielding materials and insulated tools. Qualified Persons must also have received the training required in section 6.2.1 of this safety policy.

Illumination-

Employees will be provided with adequate light to work on energized equipment or equipment will be relocated to ensure adequate light is available. See SP# 1926.56, Illumination, for additional details.

Portable Ladders-

Portable ladders will have nonconductive surfaces if they are used where the employee or the ladder could be exposed to electrical shock hazards. See SP# 1910.25, Ladders, for related information.

Reclosing Circuits-

If circuits are tripped using a protective device such as ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), power will not be restored until the reason for the interruption is determined and corrected. Fuses or breakers will not be replaced or reset until it is determined that the circuit is safe to operate. Fuses will not be replaced with higher rated fuses or with makeshift devices to bypass circuit protection as designed. Problems will be identified and promptly repaired by a qualified person.

Vehicular and Mechanical Equipment Near Overhead Power Lines-

Overhead power lines will be de-energized and grounded before any work is performed by any vehicle or mechanical equipment near the energized overhead power lines. If the overhead lines can not be de-energized, then the vehicle or mechanical equipment will be operated so that a clearance of 10 feet is maintained.
If the voltage of the overhead line exceeds 50 kV, the distance will be increased 4 inches for every 10 kV increase in power. If lines are protected with properly rated insulating devices, the distance may be decreased.
If the equipment is an aerial lift insulated for the voltage involved and if the work is performed by a Qualified Person, the clearance may be reduced to a distance given in Appendix A. See SP# 1910.67, Aerial Truck Operations, and SP # 1910.179, Cranes, for related information.
If protective measures such as guarding or isolation are provided, these measures must protect the employee from direct contact of any body part with such lines with or indirect contact through conductive materials, tools, or equipment.
Employees on the ground or in the vicinity of overhead lines will be instructed to remain clear of the equipment or any other source of energized equipment unless using properly rated Personal Protective Equipment.


APPENDIX C: Electrical Inspection Checklist
Facility____________________________
Inspector___________________________
Date________________________________

Electrical Equipment/Machinery-

Test for proper grounding. All electrical equipment and machinery must be effectively grounded so that there is no potential difference between the metal enclosures. Use a voltage detector to find discrepancies and other test equipment to determine the corrective action required. Disconnects should be easily identified with the specific machinery they shut off. Disconnects should also be accessible near the machinery for use in an emergency. The disconnects should be activated periodically to be sure they are operable. All electrical connections to the equipment must be secure so that no cord or cable tension will be transmitted to the electrical terminals within the equipment. The wiring installation should be such that it is protected from damage at all times.

OK Needs Attention 
by __________ 
(time frame)
Needs Immediate
Attention 
(Dangerous Condition)
Grounding
Wire size
Overcurrent and Disconnects
Installation
Protection

GFCI Protection-
Generally, GFCI protection is not required by the NEC on a retroactive basis. Where there is an employee exposure to potential line to ground shock hazards, GFCI protection shall be provided. This is especially important in work areas where portable electrical equipment, including audio-visual equipment, is being used in wet or damp areas, in contact with earth or grounded conductive surfaces, and in facilities frequented by the public.
Th
ese include DENR Welcome/Visitor Centers, Rest room Areas, Pool Areas, Laboratory Facilities and Work Station/Lab Bench areas, Public Offices, Maintenance Shops, Educational Resource Centers, etc.
Use a GFCI tester to be sure the GFCI is operable. After years of service, GFCI's can become defective and need to be replaced. Receptacles receiving GFCI protection should be labeled as such
.
GFCIs should be inspected and tested monthly.


OK Needs Attention 
by __________ 
(time frame)
Needs Immediate
Attention 
(Dangerous Condition)
Bathrooms
Crawl Spaces
Basements
Wet Locations
Outdoors
Garages
Pools/Tubs
Testing

Lighting-
Metal lamps and fixtures with cord and plug connections should be tested for grounding. Check all cord clamps for secure connections. Frayed or old cords shall be replaced.

OK Needs Attention 
by __________ 
(time frame)
Needs Immediate
Attention 
(Dangerous Condition)
Grounding
Connections
Plugs and Cords
Cord Clamps
Live Parts

Receptacles-
The receptacles should be tested for proper wiring configuration. There should be enough receptacles installed to eliminate the use of extension cords. Covers shall be in place and not broken. Multiple outlet adapters on a single outlet should be discouraged to prevent overloading. Surface mounted receptacle boxes should be protected from damage and recognized as a tripping hazard through the use of commercially available protective devices, cones and/or warning signs.


OK Needs Attention 
by __________ 
(time frame)
Needs Immediate
Attention 
(Dangerous Condition)
Polarity
Adequate Number
Mounting
Covers
Grounding
Tension
Connections
Protection
GFCI label where required

Service Entrance Panel (Circuit Breaker Panel)-
Check the branch circuit identification. It should be up to date and posted on the panel door. Be sure the panel and cable or conduit connectors are secure. Nothing shall be stored within three feet of the panel.  The three foot area shall be kept clear of any items. Where feasible, a three foot "box out" area may be placed on the floor (permanent tape or paint) in front of and either side of the panel to distinguish the 3 foot clear zone. No flammable materials of any kind shall be stored in the same area or room. Look for corrosion and water in or around the area. Missing knockouts, covers, or openings must be properly covered to eliminate exposure to live parts.


OK Needs Attention 
by __________ 
(time frame)
Needs Immediate
Attention 
(Dangerous Condition)
Circuit ID (labels)
Secure Mounting
Knockouts
Connectors
Clearances
Live Parts
Ratings
3 Foot min. clearance
High Voltage warning label
(where applicable)

Small Power Tools-
Plugs should be checked for defective cord clamps and broken or missing blades. Connection of the cord to the power tool should be secure. Where necessary, use an ohmmeter to check for leakage and for an effective equipment grounding conductor. Remove defective tools from service and lock out or tagout.


OK Needs Attention 
by __________ 
(time frame)
Needs Immediate
Attention 
(Dangerous Condition)
Attachment Plugs
Cords
Clamps
Leakage
Grounding
Splices

System Grounding-

Check to ensure connection of the grounding electrode conductor to a driven ground rod. Also check any bonding jumper connections and any supplemental grounding electrode fittings. These items should not be exposed to corrosion and should be accessible for maintenance and visual inspection.

OK Needs Attention 
by __________ 
(time frame)
Needs Immediate
Attention 
(Dangerous Condition)
Secure Connectors
Corrosion
Access
Protection
Wire Size

Wiring-
Temporary wiring that is being used on a permanent basis shall be replaced with fixed wiring. For outdoor site use, conduit and/or cable systems must be protected from damage by vehicles or other mobile equipment. All fittings and connections to junction boxes and other equipment must be secure. No exposed wiring is allowed. Check for and replace missing knockouts and cover plates. Damaged cords should have the plug removed (cut) and the cord removed from service. If repairs are made, they shall only be done on number 12 or higher flexible cords and cables and need to be spliced so that the splice retains the insulation, outer sheath properties, and usage characteristics of the cord being spliced or remove the cord from service. 
Electrical equipment should be installed in a neat and professional manner. Check for damaged insulation on flexible cord and pendant drop cords.


OK Needs Attention 
by __________ 
(time frame)
Needs Immediate
Attention 
(Dangerous Condition)
Temporary
Splices
Protected
Box Covers
Openings
Insulation
Fittings
Workmanship


APPENDIX D: Classified Locations

Class I Locations-
Those locations in which flammable gases or vapors are or may be present in the air in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or ignitable mixtures. Class I locations include the following:
Class I, Division 1-
Those locations in which hazardous concentrations of flammable gases or vapors may exist under normal operating conditions; or in which hazardous concentrations of such gases and vapors may exist frequently because of repair or maintenance operations or because of leakage; or in which breakdown or faulty operation of equipment or processes might release hazardous concentrations of flammable gases or vapors, and might also cause simultaneous failure of electric equipment. Those locations in which volatile flammable liquids or flammable gases are handled, processed, or used, but in which the hazardous liquids, vapors, or gases will normally be confined within closed containers or closed systems from which they can escape only in case of accidental rupture or breakdown of such containers or systems, or in case of abnormal operation of equipment.

Class II Locations
Those locations that are hazardous because of the presence of combustible dusts. Class II locations include the following:
Class II, Division 1-
Those locations in which combustible dust is or may be in suspension in the air under normal operating conditions in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or ignitable mixtures; or where mechanical failure or abnormal operation of machinery or equipment might cause such explosive or ignitable mixtures to be produced, and might also provide a source of ignition through simultaneous failure of electric equipment, operation of protection devices, or from other causes; or in which combustible dusts of an electrically conductive nature may be present.
Class II, Division 2-
Those locations in which combustible dust will not normally be in suspension in the air in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or ignitable mixtures, and dust accumulations are normally insufficient to interfere with the normal operation of electrical equipment or other apparatus.

Class III Locations

Locations that are hazardous because of the presence of easily ignitable fibers or flyings but where such fibers or flyings are not likely to be in suspension in the air in quantities sufficient to produce ignitable mixtures. Class III locations include the following:
Class III, Division 1
Those locations in which easily ignitable fibers or materials producing combustible flyings are handled, manufactured, or used.
Class III, Division 2
Those locations in which easily ignitable fibers are stored or handled, except in the manufacture process.


APPENDIX E: Electrical Related Safe Work Practices Program Checklist

YES NO
Has it been determined what job classifications are affected by this safety policy?
Have employees been characterized into the qualified and non-qualified categories?
Has training and education been established for the affected employees and their respective categories?
Are there lockout/tagout requirements in place for the electrical conductors and equipment in your facility installations?
Has lockout/tagout training been provided and documented to affected and authorized personnel?
Has a list of all energized equipment including isolation points and procedures for safe operation/shutdown been developed?
For portable electric equipment, are handling practices, visual inspections, conductive work locations, attachment plugs and circuits established and operational?
Is there a mechanism in place for reporting hazardous electrical conditions?
Is there a mechanism in place for employees to be rated for their performance in following Electrical Related Safe Work Practices?
Are there mechanisms in place to ensure floor areas and other general areas are kept clear from items and materials that obstruct areas to equipment or that would create slippery conditions?