BREAKING: What’s the Latest from OSHA and PES on Arc Flash?

More than 500,000 of Americans working on or near energized industrial electrical equipment today do not have protection from the deadly arc flash hazard, despite safety standards that have been in place for over 20 years. The Partnership for Electrical Safety (PES) – a network comprised of Tyndale and 10 other industry leaders, united to educate and advocate for the protection every worker deserves – has set out to help change that.

As a result of PES’s advocacy, Congress – both the House and the Senate – sent bipartisan letters to OSHA and the Department of Labor last summer, urging them to take action to close this gap in protection for industrial electricians. How did OSHA respond, and where do things stand now? Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical, shares an exciting update:

 

 

Since our last update in summer 2021, there have been two very significant developments:

  1. OSHA has responded to Congress with a letter recognizing the seriousness of the hazards and clarifying OSHA’s expectations around the use of AR clothing and PPE to protect workers, citing consensus standards such as NFPA 70E as containing the appropriate guidance for employers.
  2. Congress requested a meeting and OSHA agreed; on January 28, 2022 a virtual meeting was held between three different directorates at OSHA, Congressional staff, PES, and IBEW. The purpose of this meeting was to lay out the issue and get everyone on the same page factually. All parties agreed that at least 500,000 – and possibly as many as 800,000 – commercial and industrial electricians work energized on a regular basis without the appropriate PPE which includes AR clothing. Additional meetings are anticipated this spring and summer.

Stay tuned for more information on this breaking news – we will keep you updated as conversations progress.

We are proud to be a part of the important work PES is doing and hope to drive meaningful, life-saving change for every unprotected worker.

Learn more about PES, monitor our progress, and get involved at https://partnershipforelectricalsafety.org/.

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