OSHA has announced last week that it will be issuing a final rule to improve workplace safety and health for those workers performing electric power generation, transmission and distribution work.
The rule is expected to save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 injuries every year and has been supported by labor organizations and electrical contractors who have stated that these much-need measures will better protect the men and women who work on or near electrical power lines.
OSHA will be revising the 40-year-old construction standard for electric power line work that will make it more consistent with the general industry standard and will also make some revisions to the construction and general industry requirements. The new standards include new or revised provisions for host and contract employers to share safety-related information with each other and with employees. It will also improve fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts and on overhead line structures. In addition, the standards will adopt requirements that will better ensure that unprotected workers do not get dangerously close to energized lines and equipment.
General industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment will also be revised under the rule. It will apply to all construction work and replace the existing standard, which is based on outdated information. The new rule addresses 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.
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