There are two general industry electrical categories in the top ten violations list. This month we focus on the standard that addresses electrical wiring and equipment issues. Later this year, we will cover the other one which addresses General Requirements. The 1910.305 Standard covers many safety issues.
Here is a list of the sections that are covered in the standard
1. Wiring Methods;
2. Cabinets, boxes and fittings;
3. Electrical switches;
4. Enclosures for damp or wet locations;
5. Conductors for general wiring;
6. Flexible cords and cables;
7. Portable cables over 600 volts nominal;
8. Fixture wires;
9. Equipment for general use
The one thing that stands out when reading the section titles is that they are primarily equipment-related. It would seem that compliance would rest primarily with the company electrician or electrical contractor who installed the equipment. That is true.
It is interesting to note that while this standard is number 5 on the list of most violated standards, it does not appear on the list of the 10 top viewed standards on the OSHA website. This is one standard that is often out of mind and out of sight for most employers.
The National Electrical Contractors Association lists the following five specific citations issued by OSHA under this Electrical Safety Standard
• Use of flexible cords and cables (g)(1)
• Conductors entering boxes, cabinets or fittings (b)(1)
• Identification, splices and terminations (g)(2)
• Covers and canopies (b)(2)
• Temporary wiring (a)(2)
The violations generally result from the way the equipment is used and maintained more than installing the wrong equipment or installing the equipment incorrectly.
The most common citation resulting from the use of flexible cords involves the use of flexible cords (including extension cords) where permanent wiring is required. Another common violation occurs when flexible cords are run through walls, windows and doorways or are attached to a building surface
The issue with identification, splices and termination is that often times flexible cords will be spliced for repair instead of being replaced. Oftentimes flexible cords are used without proper strain relief.
Box openings are a common citation source. Many times the opening is an open knockout where a used box is installed and the opening is not properly plugged.
The primary issue with covers and canopies is that junction and pull boxes are often left uncovered.
Citations under the Temporary Wiring section are often due to the misuse of flexible cords for temporary purposes as noted previously.
The best way to control these hazards and to prevent citations is to train all of your employees to recognize these hazards and to make sure the workers who perform electrical work provide enclosures and covers as needed.
Rich Galutia CSP specializes in the areas of employee safety (OSHA), trucking compliance (FMCSA) and animal feed safety (FDA).