Construction Utilities

New OSHA electrical rule ‘imminent,’ industry rep says

Washington – The electric power industry “welcomes” a final OSHA rule expected to be issued soon, an industry representative recently told Safety+Health magazine.

Currently under review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the rule would update OSHA’s construction industry electrical standard and revise the agency’s general industry standard so maintenance of electric power transmission and distribution installation have the same requirements as similar work in construction.

On Sept. 24, OIRA and the Office of Management and Budget hosted a meeting with employer representatives to hear concerns about the rule. No new issues were raised during the meeting, and only previously mentioned points were emphasized, according to meeting attendee Mary Miller, chief administrative officer for the Edison Electric Institute, an electric company shareholder-owned association.

Miller said the three main issues industry hopes will be reflected in the rule are fire-retardant clothing, minimum approach distances and host employer issues. Specifically, EEI hopes OSHA will incorporate requirements found in the 2012 edition of the National Electrical Safety Code.

A notice of proposed rulemaking was published in 2005. The final rule was scheduled to be issued this past March, but Miller said she has heard the rule’s issuance is “imminent.”