OSHA’s temporary enforcement policy on power line work & electrical protective equipment ends October 31
In June, 2014, OSHA issued a memorandum to its ten regional administrators that established a temporary enforcement policy for: 29 CFR 1910.137(b) and 1910.269; and 29 CFR 1926.97(b) and Subpart V. On April 11, 2014, OSHA promulgated a final rule revising the general industry and construction standards for work on electric power generation, transmission and distribution installations and for electrical protective equipment.
The new standards became effective on July 10, 2014, although some provisions have compliance deadlines in 2015. For enforcement purposes, OSHA determined that it will accept compliance with the prior version of 29 CFR 1910.269 (i.e., the version of that standard that was in effect on April 11, 2014) as compliance with revised 29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR 1926, Subpart V until October 31, 2014. OSHA will also delay enforcement of paragraph (b) of revised 29 CFR 1910.137 and paragraph (b) of 29 CFR 1926.97 until October 31, 2014. OSHA’s new final rule revises the agency’s 40-year-old construction standard for electrical power line work to make it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard. In addition, new general industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment will replace the existing construction standard, which OSHA says was based on out-of-date information, with a set of performance-oriented requirements consistent with the latest revisions of relevant consensus standards.
Since July 10, 2014, and continuing through October 31, 2014, the following policy applies:
- no citations will be issued under 29 CFR 1910.269 or 1926, Subpart V to employers who are in compliance with the version of 29 CFR 1910.269 that was in effect on April 11, 2014, and
- no citations will be issued under 29 CFR 1910.137(b) or 29 CFR 1926.97(b).
Paragraphs (a) and (c) of 29 CFR 1910.137 and 29 CFR 1926.97 became effective and enforceable on July 10, 2014 and are not affected by this policy. Paragraph (a) covers the design, manufacturing, testing, and other requirements for rubber goods such as blankets, gloves, sleeves, etc.; paragraph (c) covers in-service care and use of electrical protective equipment.
If, on or after July 10, 2014, an Area Director determines that an employer is not in compliance with the prior version of 29 CFR 1910.269, citations may be issued, as appropriate, for violations of any effective and applicable provision of revised 29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR 1926, Subpart V.
Any citation proposed to be issued under this temporary enforcement policy shall be forwarded to the Directorate of Enforcement Programs or the Directorate of Construction, as appropriate, through the Regional Office for clearance, which will include review by attorneys in the OSH Division of the Solicitor's Office.
Note that for purposes of this policy, employers engaged in construction work will be deemed in compliance with the prior version of 29 CFR 1910.269 only to the extent they are also in compliance with 29 CFR 1926, Subpart M requirements as they apply to fall protection in aerial lifts.