OSHA Publishes Rule to Better Protect Electric Power Line Workers

Published April 9, 2014

Revised April 11, 2014

OSHA has published a new final rule to improve occupational health and safety for workers performing electric power generation, transmission, or distribution work. The 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.

According to OSHA, the final rule updates and revises construction and general industry requirements, including:

  • new or revised provisions for host and contract employers to share safety-related information with each other and employees
  • improved fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts and overhead line structures
  • new requirements to protect workers from electric arcs

In addition, new general industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment replace the existing construction standard, which OSHA says was based on out-of-date information. According to the agency, the new standards include new requirements that equipment made of materials other than rubber provide adequate protection from electrical hazards.

“This long-overdue update will save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 serious injuries annually,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels, PhD.

The final rule will become effective on July 10, 2014. 

The text of the final rule is available for download from the April 11 Federal Register.