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Mar 29, 2022 IST Team

What is the Most Frequent Violation of OSHA Electrical Standards?

Electricity is dangerous. More dangerous is an employee not trained to look for and be aware of hazards on a job site where wires, machinery, and power strips are everywhere.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a list of the most frequently cited violations every year, and electrical violations always make the top ten. OSHA produces guidelines and standards designed to protect employees exposed to the dangers of shocks, fires, and explosions.

What is the most frequent violation of OSHA electrical standards? So that you can uphold safety standards with proper training and onboarding and avoid injuries and fines, we’ll take you through what to look out for to ensure you’re compliant and protect your workforce.

OSHA Electrical Standards: What is the Most Frequent Violation?

In construction, workers are more vulnerable to the dangers of electrocution. Wires are practically everywhere and are relatively fragile. They wear down quickly, and workers overlook them when focusing on their jobs.

According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, electrocutions are the fourth leading cause of death among construction workers.

Many electrical violations are preventable, but the same ones come up repeatedly. Let’s look at the top three and how you can avoid them, allowing your workers to do their jobs safely and feel valued.

#1. Electrical, Wiring Methods

There were 189 citations for wiring methods leading to $301,813 in fines in the last fiscal year, and many violations cited were down to the wrong wire in the wrong outlet.

Flexible cords and temporary wiring aren’t suitable in industrial settings. You can’t run them through walls, ceiling holes, or doorways and windows as they strain, loosen, and tear. In many citations, construction companies didn’t use proper strain relief.

Extension cords in place of permanent wiring are a hazard. Worse, temporary wires around sharp corners and other pinch points can easily be cut and create a hazard.

Another violation to be wary of is wire misplacement. If wires are too close to metal or water, the risk of electrocution increases.

How to Avoid Crisis

#2. Electrical, General Requirements

There are general requirements for electrical equipment that are often overlooked or ignored on some construction sites. Violations include:

  • Some workers bring equipment labeled and listed for home use, but workers shouldn’t have their own tools unless approved.
  • Workers often plug power strips into extension cords rather than the wall.
  • Failure to install and maintain equipment as received by the manufacturer according to instructions.
  • Overhead power lines contacted by ladders, cranes, and aerial lifts are a significant cause of electrocutions due to failure to de-energize them or maintain minimum clearance distances.
  • Touching other metal objects energized through contact with live electrical equipment.
  • Working in cramped areas.
  • Standing in water and extension cords touching water.

With proper training and open communication, many violations wouldn’t occur.

#3. Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)

The most frequently violated standard is the failure to prevent the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities.

Machinery and equipment should be disabled, and an authorized employee should place locks on machines and properly shut them off to protect those who perform routine maintenance. Tags must also be attached to the locks to alert other employees that one of their co-workers is currently engaged.

You must follow a set sequence of procedures to shut down equipment:

  • Power sources disconnected
  • Release any stored energy
  • Tag it
  • Verify it has been de-energized

These are simple procedures, yet violations and preventable burns, injuries, and deaths are commonplace. Avoidable reasons include poor documentation, inadequate employee protection and training, and not performing regular audits.

How to Avoid Crisis

How to Avoid the Most Frequent Electrical Violations

Only qualified people should work on electrical equipment to avoid OSHA electrical violations. They should be familiar with OSHA safety rules and work to ensure compliance with OSHA regulations.

To create a safer work environment and protect employees, adopt a safety-first approach. You must have the proper permits, certifications, and a well-documented safety program ready for inspection by OSHA.

Site audits and continued vigilance across the project will help you avoid hazards, and OSHA provides a safety checklist, including electrical safety, to help maintain high standards. A robust safety-first approach will include:

  • Employees trained on electrical safety
  • Machinery and power tools adequately grounded and double insulated
  • All extension and power cords checked for wear and tear
  • A distance of at least 10 feet from overhead power lines
  • Lockout/Tagout procedures must be in place, and
  • Protective equipment and gear (rubber-soled shoes, non-conductive gloves) should be utilized and maintained.

These are a few simple ways to protect your workforce.

The Real Solution: A Safety Focused Staffing Agency

Suppose you comply with OSHA electrical safety standards and do your best to label electrical rooms, provide properly insulated tools, use the correct wiring, and limit frayed cords; In that case, you need to look at your employees next.

People are your most valuable asset. Read that again.

How complete was your onboarding and training process? How thoroughly have you vetted them? Did you maintain open lines of communication and ensure they can safely work on your project?

The best niche staffing agencies alleviate hiring headaches by thoroughly vetting and screening potential candidates for their ability to perform their role, seamlessly integrate into a team environment, and adhere to stringent safety protocols.

How to Avoid Crisis

Published by IST Team March 29, 2022
IST Team