OSHA Rule on Power Generation and T&D Work

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meby's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-17

OSHA last issued rules for the construction of transmission and distribution installations in 1972. No, that's not a misprint. 1972! Roughly 42 years later, they decided it was finally time to revise the construction standard to make it more consistent with the general industry standard.

The final rules for general industry and construction now include new or revised provisions on host employers and contractors, training, job briefings, fall protection, insulation and working position of employees working on or near live parts, minimum approach distances, protection from electric arcs, deenergizing transmission and distribution lines and equipment, protective grounding, operating mechanical equipment near overhead power lines, and working in manholes and vaults. The final rule also revises the general industry and construction standards for electrical protective equipment.

Why did it take them more than 40 years to revise this standard?

mdshunk's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-14

Perhaps because OSHA or the parties concerned with safety in this particular niche area thought the industry was regulating itself reasonably well for the last 40 years?

rbarnett's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-04

It's a shame the government tends to get so mired in its own red tape that it misses the mission: In this case, helping to 'create a safer work environment.' I think they rely on other codes and standards to provide them the nuts and bolts for how to keep people safe (70E and the NESC for example). We still end up killing around 5,000 or so people every year on the job in this country. Lots better than it used to be before OSHA, but still lots of room for improvement.

mdshunk's picture
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Joined: 2014-03-14

I happen to think that 'adoption by reference' is likely why nothing needed updated for so long. The industry was doing a pretty decent job of keeping up with things. To that end, I don't see it as red tape mired down government. I see it as wise government.

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