Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians, and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.
Electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard. OSHA’s electrical standards are designed to protect employees exposed to dangers such as electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions. Electrical hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, and marine terminals.
Electricity has become an essential of modern life, both at home and on the job. Some employees work with electricity directly, as is the case with engineers, electricians, or people who do wiring, such as overhead lines, cable harnesses, or circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and salespeople, work with it indirectly. As a source of power, electricity is accepted without much thought to the hazards encountered. Perhaps because it has become such a familiar part of our surroundings, it often is not treated with the respect it deserves.
OSHA’s electrical standards address the government’s concern that electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard, exposing employees to such dangers as electric shock, electrocution, fires and explosions. The objective of the standards is to minimize such potential hazards by specifying design characteristics of safety in use of electrical equipment and systems.
OSHA’s electrical standards were carefully developed to cover only those parts of any electrical system that an employee would normally use or contact. The exposed and/or operating elements of an electrical installation – lighting equipment, motors, machines, appliances, switches, controls, enclosures, etc. – must be so constructed and installed as to minimize electrical dangers to people in any workplace.