The Operation and Maintenance of Electric Power Generation, Control, Transformation, Transmission and Distribution Lines and Equipment.
On April 1, 2014, OSHA announced the final rule revising the 1910.269 standards for electric power generation, transmission and distribution. This revised rule implements significant changes to utilities’ requirements for protecting workers from electric arcs and using flame resistant clothing, among other areas. Tyndale has compiled Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) to address key questions on the ruling and how it will impact your company and your workers. The ruling requires companies to complete a hazard assessment by January 1st, 2015 and comply with the requirements of the ruling by April 1st, 2015. Note: as a result of a settlement with EEI, OSHA delayed enforcement of the hazard assessment until March 31, 2015 and arc-flash PPE deadline until August 31, 2015.
Go to our Blog to download the FAQs and for access to the ruling in both .pdf and word versions.
Several key provisions of the new ruling are outlined below:
- The employer shall ensure that each employee exposed to hazards from electric arcs wears protective clothing and other protective equipment with an arc rating greater than or equal to the heat energy estimate whenever that estimate exceeds 2.0 cal/cm2. “This protective equipment shall cover the employee’s entire body,” except for certain exemptions for hands, feet and head protection. Previously, 1910.269 required that “…each employee who is exposed to the hazards of flames or electric arcs does not wear clothing that, when exposed to flames or electric arcs, could increase the extent of the injury that would be sustained by the employee.”
- Pants must now be provided to workers.
- FR clothing is now considered PPE. Previously, FR clothing was not explicitly considered PPE. In the ruling, OSHA makes clear that it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure proper care and maintenance of employees’ protective clothing. OSHA is equally clear the final rule does not require employers to launder protective clothing for employees, but no longer can employers simply tell their workers to “follow washing instructions,” and trust that they will do so. “If employers rely on home laundering of the clothing, they must train their employees in proper laundering procedures and techniques, and employers must inspect the clothing on a regular basis to ensure that it is not in need of repair or replacement (p. 187).” And, employers who choose to utilize an industrial laundry service or other vendor does are not absolved from this responsibility to inspect PPE directly.
- In addition to flame resistant apparel, there are revisions to the requirements for head protection. Face shields with minimum arc rating of 8 cal/cm2 are required (dependent on type of exposure) and arc-rated hood or face shield with balaclava is required at higher exposures. Download the FAQs from our blog for details. Hand and foot protection is also discussed in the ruling; details are available in our on specific requirements.