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Environmental Health & Safety

Electrical Safety Program

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Electrical Safety Program

      1. Employees must perform all electrical work within the guidelines for their training at all times.
      2. The level of electrical safety training provided is dependent on whether the employee is classified as a "qualified person" or an "unqualified person".
      3. A “qualified person” shall receive technical training upon initial assignment and at least every three years thereafter. Program refresher training shall be conducted annually. They shall be trained and knowledgeable in all of the following topics:
        1. Construction and operation of equipment on which work is assigned.
        2. Emergency Procedures.  Employees exposed to shock hazards shall be trained in methods of release of victims from contact with exposed energized electrical conductors or circuit parts.  Employees shall be trained and certified in first aid, AED, CPR in accordance with the American Heart Association recommended frequency.
        3. Proper use of insulating tools and test equipment, including selecting an appropriate voltage-detector and demonstration on how to use the device to verify absence of voltage, including interpretation of indications provided by the device.  The training shall include device limitations. 
        4. Proper use of PPE, including arc flash, insulation, and shielding materials.
        5. Ability to distinguish exposed energized conductors and circuits from other parts of equipment, by demonstrating the proper use of a meter.
        6. Ability to determine nominal voltage of exposed live parts.
        7. Understanding of the required approach distances, of both arc flash and shock.
      4. A person can be considered qualified with respect to certain equipment and methods but still be considered unqualified for others.  The supervisor shall maintain appropriate documentation of the employee's qualifications.
      5. Although not qualified in this program, an “unqualified person” shall be trained in the inherent hazards of electricity and any related work practices that are necessary for their safety. Affected personnel shall receive annual awareness training.  Awareness training does not qualify these people to do any electrical work of any type.
      6. Occupational Safety will assist the work unit supervisor in coordinating training for qualified and unqualified persons. Training for employees, whether experienced or new to the job, must be provided before duties are assigned that involve work near or on electrical systems.
      7. Each employee shall receive additional training (or retraining) under any of the following conditions:
        1. If supervision or annual inspections indicate that the employee is not complying with the proper safety related work practices.
        2. If new technology, equipment, or changes in procedure necessitate changes in safety-related work practices.
        3. If work practices not normally used during regular job duties must be employed.
        4. For tasks that are performed less often than once a year.
      8. Each University work unit shall maintain a record of all electrical training provided to their employees along with a listing of all employees classified as qualified persons.
      1. Live/Energized Electrical Work Permit
        1. When live parts are not placed and verified to be in an electrically safe condition, work to be performed on them shall be considered energized electrical work and will be performed by written permit only, unless the work is authorized by that person’s Limited Long Term Energized Electrical Work Permit
        2. A copy of the University's “Energized Electrical Work Permit” can be found in Appendix A of this document.  The intent of this permit is to ensure that all appropriate safety precautions are taken prior to starting energized electrical work.
        3. The permit is to be originated by the supervisor requesting that the energized work be completed. The requestor is responsible for completing Section I of the permit.
        4. The qualified persons completing the task are responsible for completing Section II of the permit.
        5. All Energized Work Permits should be initiated and reviewed by the Trades Supervisor, who then reviews it with the operations/area manager followed by a cross departmental review. The supervisor then reviews the permit with the individual(s) doing the work before work commences.
        6. In the event of an emergency condition requiring an Energized Work Permit, and the review requirements above cannot be met, the on-call supervisor and the on-call manager will then notify the director and with approval initiate the permit, review the work plan, and discuss it with another member of the Electrical Safety Committee who will provide verbal authority to conduct work and sign off on the permit the next business day. The manager and supervisor will sign the permit as will the individual(s) performing the work.
        7. The permit must be posted in the area where the energized work is taking place for the duration of the task. Copies of all energized electrical work permits must be kept on file in the individual's department.
        8. Work related to testing, troubleshooting, and voltage measuring may be completed without a permit provided appropriate safe work practices and PPE are used.  The individual performing such work must have a Limited Long Term Energized Electrical Work Permit on file (see next section).
      2. Limited Long Term Energized Electrical Work Permit (see Appendix H)
        1. Allows specified live work to be performed by a qualified individual.
        2. It includes the performance of routine tasks including testing, troubleshooting, voltage measuring and repair provided appropriate safe work practices and PPE are used, as specified on the individual's long term permit.
        3. Copies of all limite long term energized electrical work permits must be kept on file in the individual's department.
        4. The permit is good for up to one year.
      3. Approach Boundaries to Live Parts
        1. Observing a safe approach distance from exposed energized parts is an effective means of maintaining electrical safety.  As the distance between an individual and live parts increases, the potential for an electrical injury decreases.
        2. Before setup, safe approach distances will be determined by the qualified person for all tasks in which approaching personnel are exposed to live parts. See Appendix B, "Approach Boundaries to Live Parts for Shock Protection".
        3. Unqualified 3rd party persons are not allowed to cross the restricted approach boundary.
        4. Qualified persons may not cross or take any conductive object closer than the Restricted Approach Boundary unless one of the following condition apply:
          1. The qualified person is insulated or guarded from the live parts and no uninsulated part of the qualified person’s body crosses the Prohibited Approach Boundary.
          2. The live parts are insulated from the qualified person and from any other conductive object at a different potential.
        5. Crossing the Prohibited Approach Boundary is considered the same as making contact with energized parts.  Qualified persons may only cross this boundary when all of the following precautions have been taken:
          1. The qualified person has specific training to work on energized parts.
          2. The qualified person has obtained an approved Energized Electrical Work Permit.
          3. The qualified person uses PPE appropriate for working on energized parts that are rated for the voltage and energy level involved.
      4. Other Precautions for Personnel Activities:
        1. Lockout/Tagout shall be implemented at all times.
        2. Employees shall not reach blindly into areas that might contain exposed live parts - i.e. switch gears, panels, etc.
        3. Employees shall not enter spaces containing live parts unless illumination is provided and permits to perform live work have been issued that allow the work to be performed safely.
        4. Conductive articles of PPE, jewelry and clothing (such as watchbands, bracelets, rings, key chains, necklaces, metalized aprons, cloth with conductive thread, metal headgear, or metal frame glasses, etc.) shall not be worn whenever and wherever work is performed on electrical equipment or circuits.
        5. Conductive materials, tools, and equipment that are in contact with any part of an employee’s body shall be handled in a manner that prevents accidental contact with live parts.  Such materials and equipment include, but are not limited to, long conductive objects such as ducts, pipes, tubes, conductive hose and rope, metal-lined rules and scales, steel tapes, pulling lines, metal scaffold parts, structural members, and chains.
        6. When an employee works in a confined space or enclosed space (such as a manhole or vault) that contains exposed live parts, the employee shall use protective shields, barriers, or insulating materials as necessary to avoid contact with these parts.  Doors, hinged panels, and the like shall be secured to prevent them from swinging into employees.
        7. When working in a confined space, the University Confined Space Program shall be adhered to. 
        8. Only properly rated and approved tools shall be used.  Non-rated tools, including 4-in-1 screwdrivers, are prohibited.  See Appendix J for approved tools.

Contact EH&S at (585) 275-3241 or e-mail EH&S Questions.

This page last updated 6/18/2020. Disclaimer.