UPDATE: Where does OSHA Stand on Expanding Protections for Indoor Electricians?

More than 500,000 Americans working on or near energized industrial electrical equipment today do not have protection from deadly arc flash hazards, 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 and has made some exciting recent advancements.

If you recall from our breaking news update in February 2022,  Congress – both the House and the Senate – sent bipartisan letters to OSHA and the Department of Labor in the summer of 2021, urging them to take action to close this gap in protection for industrial electricians. Here’s what came of that letter:

  • OSHA responded to Congress with a letter recognizing the seriousness of the hazards and clarifying OSHA’s expectations around the use of arc-rated clothing and PPE to protect workers.
  • OSHA, Congressional staff, PES, and IBEW met on January 28, 2022, to lay out the issue and get everyone on the same page factually. All parties agreed that 500,000 – 800,000 commercial and industrial electricians work energized on a regular basis without the appropriate PPE.

Since then, additional meetings were held, and we have two updates to share along with an exciting news flash regarding the latest advancements. Watch our video below or read on to learn more:

As Scott Margolin, Tyndale’s Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Technical states in the video:

  1. The Health and Human Services Committee included language directing OSHA to act on arc flash in a bill that passed this past summer (2022).
  2. OSHA agrees with both the principle and the substance of the issue, that far too many commercial and industrial electricians in the US continue to be injured or killed by arc flashes because they are not wearing appropriate PPE – which includes arc-rated clothing – or not wearing it properly.

So, where does OSHA stand now? OSHA is taking action even sooner than expected. In fact, OSHA is actively working on a new document which will provide guidance on arc-rated clothing and PPE to protect workers and possibly enforcement policies to ensure accountability.

Stay tuned for more information on this developing news – we will keep you updated as change progresses and OSHA’s forthcoming document becomes available.

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: https://partnershipforelectricalsafety.org/.

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