#9 Electrical, General Requirements-Top OSHA Violations of 2013

#9 Electrical, General Requirements-Top OSHA Violations of 2013

#9 Electrical-Part of the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for Fiscal 2013 Series

General Industry regulation 29 CFR 1910.303, covers OSHA’s general electrical requirements. The Electrical, General requirements accounted for 2,745 citations in 2013 placing it in the ninth most violated regulation. The standard covers the examination, installation and use of electrical equipment, connections, arcing parts, markings, lockout/Tagout/tryout, and the space around electrical equipment.

Electricity has become essential to modern life. Perhaps because it is such a familiar part of our surroundings, it often is not treated with the respect it deserves at home or in the work place. Recognized as a serious workplace hazard, electricity can cause electric shock, electrocution, burns, fires, and explosions. Approximately 350 electrical-related fatalities occur each year. What makes these statistics more tragic is that most of these fatalities could have been easily avoided.

A common sense guide on the examination, installation of electrical equipment and a chart of the minimum working space required around electrical equipment was developed to help eliminate hazards and/or identify possible hazards in the workplace.


Examine electrical equipment to determine it is safe from hazards in regards to:

  • Suitability for installation and use
  • Mechanical strength and durability
  • Wire bending and connection space
  • Electrical insulation
  • Heating effects
  • Arcing effects
  • Classification by type, size, voltage, current capacity, and specific use
  • Practical safeguards for employees likely to contact electrical equipment


Install and use equipment according to the instructions on the label or listing. Completed wiring has to be free from short circuits and grounds.

Interrupting equipment must have an interrupting rating for the nominal circuit voltage and current available at the line terminals. Circuit protective devices must be able to clear a fault without extensive damage to the circuit’s electrical components.

Unless designed to be safe for the working condition, keep conductors and equipment away from “deteriorating agents”, which is simply: damp or wet locations; deteriorating gases, fumes, vapors, liquids or other agents; and excessive temperatures.

Install electric equipment in a neat and workmanlike manner. Close unused box openings, raceways, auxiliary gutters, cabinets, equipment cases and housings. Rack conductors to provide ready and safe access to underground and subsurface for installation and maintenance. Internal electrical components are not contaminated by foreign materials (paint, plaster, cleaners, abrasives, or corrosive residues). There also needs to be no damaged parts that will affect the safe operation or strength of the equipment.

Electrical equipment needs to be firmly secured to the surface it is mounted to. Wooden plugs drilled into material like concrete or plaster is not considered secure.

Air cooled electrical equipment must be installed so walls and adjacent equipment does not prevent the airflow. Do not obstruct ventilated openings. Floor mounted equipment must have clearance between top and adjacent surfaces to dissipate rising warm air.

Working Space

The chart shows the minimum working spaces needed, but there needs to be sufficient space maintained – not used for storage – around electric equipment for safe operation and maintenance. Equipment doors and hinged panels must be able to open at least 90 degrees and the width of the working space must be at least 30 inches, or width of the equipment. The minimum headroom needs to be at least the height of the equipment. Use suitable guarding when exposing enclosed life parts.


Also Covered

1910.303 also include specifics on the following subjects that you may need to be aware of:

  •  Electrical connections
  • Arcing parts
  • Marking
  • Disconnecting means and circuits
  • Guarding live parts
  • Enclosures for electrical installations

For additional information in regards to Electrical Hazard Awareness visit OSHA’s site.

About The Author
Chantal Dale is a writer for Safety Partners, Ltd.

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