Ask the Expert: OSHA Requirements for Electrical Equipment Inspection

In our latest issue of Ask the Expert, brought to you by the team of industry experts atEHS Heroes®, we’re looking at a recent subscriber question regarding OSHA’s electrical equipment inspection requirements. See what the experts had to say.

Q: How often should electrical equipment (eg MCCs, circuit breaker panels, etc.), wiring and terminations be inspected and to what standard?

The answer to your question is limited to federal OSHA electrical requirements for worker safety. Private sector workplaces in Colorado are regulated by federal OSHA. Review state and local building, fire, and public safety codes for any additional inspection requirements for electrical systems and equipment.

Federal OHSA electrical safety rules do not specify how often facilities must inspect electrical equipment or wiring. However, OSHA considers industry consensus standards such as the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (NFPA 70E) to be accepted industry practice, and OSHA field inspectors may use a current version of such a standard as a reference when inspecting a workplace for violations. . See OSHA’s interpretation letter regarding an employer’s use of NFPA 70E as evidence of a known hazard to https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2008-02-29.

Here are several industry consensus standards that contain inspection procedures for electrical systems and equipment:

  • The National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) is the nationally recognized reference for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards
  • Guide to Electrical Inspections (NFPA 78) covers the minimum criteria for performing electrical inspections for new electrical installations and modifications to existing installations
  • Workplace Electrical Safety Standard (NFPA 70E) to protect workers from shock, electrocution and arc flash.
  • National Electrical Safety Code (ANSI C2) for the operation and maintenance of electrical power and communication systems

There are OSHA electrical safety inspection requirements for specific activities and types of electrical equipment:

  • OSHA requirements for wiring methods, components, and equipment do not apply to conductors that are integral parts of factory-assembled equipment. See rule at 29 CFR 1910.305(a).
  • Before each use, visually inspect test instruments and equipment and all associated test leads, cables, power cords, probes, and connectors for external defects and damage. See rule at 29 CFR 1910.334(c)(2).