Compliance Information for Workers
It is projected that there will be over 100 fatal work related electrical injuries in the United States this year. It is everyone’s responsibility to work safely and follow safe work practices. The way you work could impact you and could also impact your co-workers. Participate in training, follow procedures, wear your PPE, discuss safety with your peers and management, share what you know with new co-workers, speak up when you see something that is not right, participate in safety audits, seek out training if you are aware of deficiencies, and help those less knowledgeable than you at work and outside of work.
Know Your Rights
OSHA – The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) written by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to identify and communicate workplace hazards and provide the necessary personal protective equipment (Part 1910.132 (d)).
Note that in general, OSHA isn’t actively seeking to fine employers for electrical safety related items. But if onsite for an audit or investigation or report of any type, OSHA may look into electrical safety related work practices and related details which may result in a penalty/citation/fine.
NFPA 70E – According to Section 130.2(A)(1), energized work is only permitted where the employer can demonstrate that de-energizing introduces additional hazards or increased risk. An employer can’t ask you to work on energized equipment except for these very rare situations. (Note that troubleshooting is not considered energized work.)
Your employer should:
- Communicate hazards via training and safety labels.
- Label hazards of equipment which you may need to interact with while energized.
- Provide a written electrical safety policy.
- Provide job appropriate PPE.
- Maintain a safe work environment. Properly maintain electrical equipment.
Why should you follow safe work practices?
- Following safe work practices reduces the chances that you will be injured or killed. There have been zero reported incidents where appropriate PPE failed and resulted in a death.
- Electrical injures which result in hospitalization last longer than the average work place related injury due to the nature of burn and shock accidents.
- Your employer may have the right to fire you for not following safe work practices if made clear in written policies.
- Your actions may have consequences that affect not only you, but those around you.