The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently updated its standards for safety work practices in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. The new regulations can be found here. OSHA stated that new standards were needed because the previous ones, promulgated in 1972, were outdated and inconsistent with the current general industry standard.
It is important to note that OSHA is also revising the general industry standard for foot protection. This new standard will apply to employers performing work on electric power generation, transmission, and distribution installations, as well as employers in other industries.
Who is Effected By the New Rule?
All employers that operate or maintain electric power generation, transmission, or distribution lines or equipment must adhere to §1910.269. Subpart V must be followed by employers with employees who perform construction work on electric power transmission or distribution lines or equipment.
When Will it Become Effective?
Section 1910.269 and Subpart V are effective on July 10, 2014, however, the compliance deadline for certain provisions are April 1, 2015. The provisions that are effective April 1, 2015 are fall protection, minimum approach distances, and arc-flash protection.
Are Compliance Assistance Materials Available?
Not yet. OSHA anticipates having material available soon and will post on its website when they are available.
Do These New Rules Affect States That Administer their own OSHA-approved Plans?
States must have health and safety plans that are “at least as effective” as federal OSHA standards. As always, States have the option to have more stringent standards than federal OSHA.
What are the Perceived Benefits of the New Rule?
OSHA estimates that the new rule will prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 118 serious injuries annually and that the cost to comply will be about $47 million to $50 million.