On April 1, OSHA announced it would issue a final rule to revise the 40-year-old construction standard for electric power line work to make it more consistent with the corresponding general industry standard.
"This long-overdue update will save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 serious injuries annually," said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels.
The updated standards for general industry and construction include:
- Improved fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts and on overhead line structures
- Revised approach-distance requirements to better ensure that unprotected workers do not get dangerously close to energized lines and equipment
- New requirements to protect workers from electric arcs
- Revised general industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment
The new standard for electrical protective equipment applies to all construction work and replaces the existing construction standard, which was based on out-of-date information, with a set of performance-oriented requirements consistent with the latest revisions of the relevant consensus standards. The new standards address the safe use and care of electrical protective equipment including new requirements that equipment made of materials other than rubber provide adequate protection from electrical hazards.
The final rule becomes effective 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. OSHA adopted delayed compliance deadlines for certain requirements. Additional information on the final rule is available at the OSHA website.