Electrical wires pose hazards for people working on or around them. Fortunately, there are numerous safety standards in place. They reduce accidents and ensure that workplaces follow the rules to keep sites free from preventable dangers. 

1. 1910.137(b)(2)

This is a standard from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concerning the protective equipment for people working around wires. It requires regular testing for the gloves and sleeves worn as insulating gear.

The standard requires performing electrical tests on the items as often as monthly during regular use. Furthermore, these formal examinations must occur at least every year for sleeves and every six months for gloves.

Similarly, air tests should occur daily to check for abnormalities like holes, cuts or tears. These checks must also happen immediately after any events that the wearer or an employer believes caused possible damage.

Employers can encourage individual compliance by training users on how to examine their insulating sleeves and gloves. They could also set up a companywide reminder system so all gear of this type gets tested on the same day or during the same week at the specified periods.

2. 1926.431

Statistics indicate that preventive maintenance can stop more than 65% of system-induced outages. Keeping electrical equipment functioning correctly involves scheduling professional checks to identify minor issues that could become major problems. However, all workers play roles in carrying out these actions.

The OSHA standard titled 1926.431 relates to the construction sector. It requires employers to keep all wiring components and utilization equipment in hazardous locations maintained in an explosion-proof condition. It must prevent dust-ignition events from causing dangers in the surrounding environment.

Moreover, this standard requires addressing loose or missing screws, poor seals, threaded connections, or any other abnormalities that prevent the accompanying covers' necessary tightness.

Employers can abide by this standard by setting up a reporting system that workers can use to alert supervisors to any problems they find. Additionally, after supervisors become aware of these issues, they should stop using the affected wiring until resolution occurs.

3. 1926.416(a)(3)

The stipulations in this OSHA standard relate to employers needing to locate all energized power circuits before any work happens that brings a person or object in contact with it. This standard concerns both concealed and exposed circuits.

Employers can find circuits through personal observations, specialized instruments, or through parties that know each one's placement. Next, the company must proactively inform and warn people about circuit locations and how they affect their work.

For example, posting warning signs at each circuit's location is one requirement. However, employers must go further by informing workers of all line locations, the associated hazards and the wire safety measures to follow.

Company leaders can insist that verifying energized circuits' locations becomes a required part of all site inspections occurring before work begins. Such a requirement is likely already in place at many sites where electrical work happens, so abiding by this standard may not require a change in behavior.

However, the people who oversee training at workplaces may need to revisit current educational approaches and ensure they adequately cover the specific electrical hazards associated with different jobs and types of work. Treating safety training as a crucial part of every task keeps accident rates down and helps people uphold a culture of safe work practices.

Understanding the obligations

These OSHA standards are three examples of the requirements that support electrical safety on job sites. Anyone responsible for overseeing safe work practices should not stop at learning them, however.

Specific rules exist for wire safety and almost every other workplace concern imaginable, but they don't pertain to every sector or job type.

Knowing what regulators require helps companies avoid penalties, including substantial fines. Additionally, a commitment to following the standards reduces the likelihood of circumstances that could cause accidents and fatalities.

It's impossible to eliminate the dangers of working with electricity. However, knowing the standards and following them are two things companies can do to keep employees as safe as possible.