The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the agency of the U.S. Department of Labor whose mission is to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.”

OSHA requirements don’t just apply to full-time employees – contractors need to be protected as well. As many hazardous tasks (especially those involving electric-power equipment) are performed by contractors, it’s important to ensure they’re provided with the proper safety training and personal protective equipment to avoid and reduce workplace injuries.

Recent OSHA Revisions – Changes affecting both employees and contractors

As of April 1, 2014, OSHA revised regulation 1910.269, and full compliance with the new regulations will become mandatory on August 31, 2015. This maintenance standard applies to electric utilities and industrial co-generation plants when work is performed at existing facilities. Revisions include:

Training – Degree of training is determined by the risk of the hazard involved. Workers must be trained to recognize and either control or avoid worksite electrical hazards.

Communication – Host and contract employers must share safety-related information and coordinate procedures.

Personal Protective Equipment – The employer must assess the workplace for flame and electric-arc hazards, including the heat energy of any electric-arc hazard. Workers must be provided with protective clothing and other PPE with an arc rating at least equal to estimated heat energy.

Protective Grounding – Employers may use insulating equipment other than live-line tools for placing or removing grounds of circuits under 600 volts under certain conditions.

Each of these requirements contributes to the overall safety of workers and must be adhered to when performing maintenance work.

Choosing the Right Protective Clothing for Utility Workers

Workrite is committed to providing FR clothing that fully complies with OSHA requirements for arc ratings. In addition to OSHA, our PPE complies with National Electrical Safety Code, National Fire Protection Association, and ASTM International standards.

Choosing the right clothing for arc flash protection requires the employer to perform a hazard assessment to determine the potential incident energy exposure of the hazard that workers will be exposed to, which determines the garments required arc rating. All FR clothing is labeled with the arc rating to show the level of arc flash protection they provide. From that point, it’s a matter of evaluating the other important garment characteristics like comfort, style, and personal taste. Be sure to ask a professional if you’re not sure what to look for.

FR clothing helps protect workers from flame and electrical arc hazards. When worn properly by trained and equipped professionals, the risk of personal injury is greatly reduced. These are the conditions OSHA enforces to ensure the health and safety of all workers.