It’s been a long time coming. OSHA first proposed updated standards for electrical power transmission and distribution, and electrical protective equipment in 2005. Final rules were scheduled for release early in 2013. There has still been  no final publication, but electrical safety experts say the release date is approaching, based on conversations with DC regulators and the Office of Management and Budget.

Here is OSHA’s rationale for updated standards:

Electrical hazards are a major cause of occupational death in the United States. The annual fatality rate for power line workers is about 50 deaths per 100,000 employees. The construction industry standard addressing the safety of these workers during the construction of electric power transmission and distribution lines is nearly 40 years old.

OSHA has developed a revision of this standard that will prevent many of these fatalities, add flexibility to the standard, and update and streamline the standard.

OSHA also intends to amend the corresponding standard for general industry so that requirements for work performed during the maintenance of electric power transmission and distribution installations are the same as those for similar work in construction.

In addition, OSHA will be revising a few miscellaneous general industry requirements primarily affecting electric transmission and distribution work, including provisions on electrical protective equipment and foot protection.

This rulemaking also addresses fall protection in aerial lifts for work on power generation, transmission, and distribution installations.

OSHA published an NPRM on June 15, 2005. A public hearing was held from March 6 through March 14, 2006. OSHA reopened the record to gather additional information on minimum approach distances for specific ranges of voltages. The record was reopened a second time to allow more time for comment and to gather information on minimum approach distances for all voltages and on the newly revised Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers consensus standard. Additionally, a public hearing was held on October 28, 2009. 

Here’s the long timeline of getting to a final standard:



FR Cite

SBREFA Report 





70 FR 34821

NPRM Comment Period End 



Comment Period Extended to 01/11/2006 


70 FR 59290

Public Hearing To Be Held 03/06/2006 


70 FR 59290

Posthearing Comment Period End 



Reopen Record 


73 FR 62942

Comment Period End 



Close Record 



Second Reopening Record 


74 FR 46958

Comment Period End 



Public Hearings 



Posthearing Comment Period End 



Final Rule