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Electric utilities
  • The electric utilities industry involves sub-industries involved in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.
  • Employers in the electric utilities industry must provide their workers with proper training, PPE, fall protection, emergency services, and more.

The electric utilities industry is a large and diverse combination of several sub-industries that are involved in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. The generation sector converts mechanical and heat energy into electrical energy making it available for the next sector, transmission. The transmission industry sends the electrical energy from the generation source to the centers of distribution. The distribution industry then sends the electrical energy to the end users.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) electrical power, transmission, and distribution requirements at 1910.269 generally apply to the operation and maintenance of electric power generation, control, transformation, transmission, and distribution lines and equipment. This includes the generation, transmission, and distribution installations of electric utilities, as well as equivalent installations of industrial establishments, and also line-clearance tree trimming performed for the purpose of clearing space around electric power generation, transmission, or distribution lines or equipment.

The 1910.269 standard is intended to address both utility and equivalent industrial systems that generate power. Supplemental generating equipment used to generate electric power is considered an equivalent industrial system that is covered by 1910.269. However, supplemental generating equipment, such as emergency and standby generators, used to provide temporary power at a workplace are not covered by 1910.269, but they are addressed by Subpart S, electric utilization system requirements.

In addition, construction activities are covered by a separate standard.

Employers covered by 1910.269 must:

  • Ensure only trained employees perform work as specified in the standard. Note that there are various levels of training that are commensurate to allowable duties.
  • Provide necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). Ensure the PPE is maintained and tested properly.
  • Ensure workers observe minimum approach distances.
  • Implement safe procedures for work in enclosed spaces.
  • Provide and ensure proper fall protection is used and appropriate for the various types of surfaces being worked on.
  • Develop procedures for working with contractors.
  • Provide emergency and medical services. For field work involving two or more employees at a work location, at least two trained persons must be available. However, for line-clearance tree trimming operations performed by line-clearance tree trimmers who are not qualified employees, only one trained person need be available if all new employees are trained in first aid within three months of their hiring dates.
  • Protect line-clearance tree trimmers as specified in the standard.
  • Comply with the1926 Construction requirements, if engaged in that work.

Host and contract employers must share information with each other on safety-related matters and must coordinate their work rules and procedures

Multiple crews working together on the same lines or equipment must either: (a) coordinate their activities under a single worker in charge and work as if all of the employees formed a single crew; or (b) independently comply with the standard and, if there is no system operator in charge of the lines or equipment, have separate tags and coordinate deenergizing and reenergizing the lines and equipment with the other crews.