Training employees to work safely around electrical hazards is a critical requirement for maintaining worker safety. Electricity is a serious workplace hazard that can result in serious injuries and even fatalities if your workers are not properly trained.
OSHA requires organizations to train employees to protect them from electrocution, shocks, arc flash, explosions, and fires.
It is important you know OSHA’s electrical safety training requirements for employees, and what work they are able to perform with this training. You should also consider providing additional training to further mitigate the risks that come with electrical hazards.
As outlined in OSHA’s electrical safety standards, affected workplaces must offer comprehensive safety training on the best work practices when around electrical hazards.
Because of the potential for workplace accidents and injuries, OSHA states that only “qualified” workers can perform maintenance and repairs of electrical equipment. These qualified workers must be fully trained to identify exposed live electrical parts and their voltage, and know exactly what procedures to follow when they work on exposed live parts or are close enough to be at risk. Your employer must document which electrical training employees have received and demonstrated an understanding of the course material.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developed the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace originally at the request of OSHA. As such, following the NFPA 70E standard will assist you in complying with OSHA’s 1910 Subpart S and 1926 Subpart K electrical safety standards. Due to the severity of risk from electrical work, safety training should not stop at meeting OSHA’s requirements. Many organizations in especially high-risk industries provide additional training on top of what is required in OSHA’s standards. In addition to electricians and others in the construction industry, employees in mass transit, utility, industrial goods manufacturing, and mechanic repair positions have historically been at high risk of injury due to exposure to electricity. Recurring training sessions can help mitigate the dangers of electricity in these industries, by keeping workers up-to-date with best practices and information.