News / Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A - General Questions.

A-1. Why did OSHA decide to modify its standards for electric power generation, transmission, and distribution work?

OSHA last issued rules for the construction of transmission and distribution installations in 1972. Those provisions were out of date and inconsistent with the more recently promulgated general industry standard covering the operation and maintenance of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution lines and equipment. OSHA revised the construction standard to make it more consistent with the general industry standard and made some revisions to both the construction and general industry requirements to enhance worker safety.

The final rule will prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 118 serious injuries annually in addition to the fatalities and injuries already prevented by the existing construction and general industry standards.

A-2. When will the rule be effective?

Revised §1910.269 and Subpart V will be effective on July 10, 2014. However, as explained in the responses to questions C-4, D-2, D-3, and E-2, the compliance deadline for some provisions on fall protection, minimum approach distances, and arc-flash protection is April 1, 2015.

A-3. Where can I find a copy of the rule?

The rule is available at http://www.dol.gov/find/20140401/2013-29579.pdf*

A-4. When will compliance assistance materials be available to the public?

OSHA posted this FAQ and anticipates having other material available soon. OSHA will post these materials on this Website as they become available.

A-5. How does this new rule affect States that administer their own OSHA-approved safety and health plans?

State-plan States must have job safety and health standards that are “at least as effective as” comparable Federal standards. State-plan States have the option to promulgate more stringent standards or standards covering hazards not addressed by Federal standards.

A-6. Who has to follow the final requirements?

Employers that operate or maintain electric power generation, transmission, or distribution lines or equipment must follow §1910.269. Employers with employees who perform construction work on electric power transmission or distribution lines or equipment must follow Subpart V. Note that “construction work” includes the erection of new electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment, and the alteration, conversion, and improvement of existing transmission and distribution lines and equipment.

A-7. What are the costs and benefits associated with the proposed standard?

OSHA estimates that the final rule will prevent approximately 20 additional fatalities and 118 additional serious injuries annually. OSHA estimates the total annualized cost of compliance with the final rule to be between about $47 million and $50 million. A full description of the costs and benefits of the final rule is available in the Federal Register notice for the final rule at Section VI, Final Economic Analysis and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.

C - Fall Protection Questions

C-1. What are the different types of fall protection equipment the standard requires?

Depending on the circumstances, the standard requires one of three types of fall protection:

Personal fall arrest system. A system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level.
Fall restraint system. A fall protection system that prevents the user from falling any distance.
Work-positioning equipment. A body belt or body harness system rigged to allow an employee to be supported on an elevated vertical surface, such as a utility pole or tower leg, and work with both hands free while leaning.

C-2. What forms of fall protection must employers use to protect employees working from aerial lifts?

The standard requires employers to protect an employee working from an aerial lift using one of the following:

A personal fall arrest system or
A fall restraint system.

C-3. What forms of fall protection must employers use to protect employees working from a pole, tower, or similar structure?

The standard requires employers to protect an employee working at heights of more than 1.2 meters (4 feet) on a pole, tower, or similar structure using one of the following, as appropriate:

A personal fall arrest system,
Work-positioning equipment,
A fall restraint system, or
Other fall protection meeting Subpart D of OSHA’s general industry standards or Subpart M of OSHA’s construction standards, as applicable. A guardrail system meeting one of those standards is an example.

C-4. Must qualified employees climbing or changing location on poles, towers, or similar structures use fall protection?

Generally yes. Starting April 1, 2015, the standards require qualified employees climbing or changing location on poles, towers, or similar structures to use fall protection, unless the employer can demonstrate that climbing or changing location with fall protection is infeasible or would create a greater hazard than climbing or changing location without it. (Note that “climbing” includes going up or down the pole, tower, or other structure.)

 The information above is taken from the United States Department of Labor OSHA website on 10/20/15. See the link below.

https://www.osha.gov/dsg/power_generation/faqs.html