Electrical Safety

Electrical contact occurs when a person, object, or equipment makes contact or comes in close proximity with an energized conductor or equipment that allows the passage of current.

Energized refers to something that is electrically connected to a source of potential difference, or electrically charged so as to have a potential significantly different from that of earth in the vicinity.

Electrical Safety

Tab/Accordion Items

What are the hazards associated with electrical contact and electricity?

Failure to follow basic electrical safety principles can result in equipment and property damage (e.g., due to fire), severe shock and burns, and electrocution.

What can I do to protect myself?

Employees should examine cords used to connect equipment for signs of wear, especially missing insulation or exposed wiring. Extension cords with three-prong plugs that are missing grounding pins should be removed from service until the plug can be replaced or a replacement cord obtained. Employees using extension cords in construction-related activities or in wet locations must ensure they have ground-fault circuit interrupter protection. Report to your supervisor any electrical problems you observe while at the workplace.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Safety and Health Programs

The electrical safety-related work practices policy and lockout/tagout program can be downloaded and customized to fit the individual workplace. An example PPE hazard assessment is available and can be customized to fit workplace conditions. Employers are required to perform a workplace hazard analysis to determine what personal protective equipment is necessary to protect employees from continued exposure to identified hazards. Other example safety and health programs are available for employers to download and adapt to their specific conditions. 

Training and Outreach Services

The lockout/tagout, personal protective equipment, electrical safety (General Industry and Construction) presentations are available to assist employers in training their staff. Other example presentations are available along with pre-recorded webinars which can be accessed at any time. 

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. 

Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

Safety and Health Topics

Related resources can be found on safety and health topic pages for lockout/tagout, big four in construction, illumination and personal protective equipment for more information. 

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.

Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to electrical safety in North Carolina.  This is not all inclusive.

Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry

29 CFR 1910 Subpart S - Electrical

Maritime, Shipyard Employment

Maritime, Marine Terminals


29 CFR 1926 Subpart K - Electrical


Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more?

Hazard Alerts

Fact Sheets

Compliance Documents

Industry Guides

Technical Assistance

Inquiries about workplace safety and health requirements can be submitted to Ask OSH through the online form, by email to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov, or by phone at 919-707-7876.