Does "Subpart V - Electric Power Transmission and Distribution" Apply to You?

Subpart V provides the standards for electric power transmission and distribution. It does not apply to electrical safety-related work practices for unqualified employees. Do your employees conduct construction activities on electric power transmission and distribution lines and equipment?  If yes, then you need to comply with this subpart.

Construction includes the erection of new electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment, and the alteration, conversion, and improvement of existing electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment.

Qualified employee (qualified person) is an employee (person) knowledgeable in the construction and operation of the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution equipment involved, along with the associated hazards.

Note:  An employer that complies with the general industry standard, electric power generation, transmission, and distribution, is considered in compliance with requirements in subpart V that do not reference other subparts of 29 CFR Part 1926 - Construction. Compliance with electric power generation, transmission, and distribution does not excuse an employer from compliance obligations under other subparts of 29 CFR Part 1926.

Applicable 29 CFR part 1910 requirements:

The subpart provides key definitions applicable to the subpart including:

Host employer is an employer that operates, or that controls the operating procedures for, an electric power generation, transmission, or distribution installation on which a contract employer is performing work covered by this subpart. OSHA will treat the electric utility or the owner of the installation as the host employer if it operates or controls operating procedures for the installation. If the electric utility or installation owner neither operates nor controls operating procedures for the installation, OSHA will treat the employer that the utility or owner has contracted with to operate or control the operating procedures for the installation as the host employer. In no case will there be more than one host employer.

Contract employer is an employer, other than a host employer, that performs work covered by this subpart under contract.

The general standard includes requirements for training, supervision, annual inspections, types of training and demonstration of proficiency. It also provides responsibilities for host and contract employers.  The medical services and first aid standard references complying with subpart D - medical services and first aid, and having first aid trained employees for field work and fixed work locations. The subpart also provides standards on job briefing (i.e., before each job, number of briefings, briefing discussions), enclosed spaces (i.e., safe work practices, training, rescue equipment, hazard evaluations, test instrument calibration, ventilation),  personal protective equipment (i.e., complying with subpart E - personal protective and life saving equipment, fall protection requirements), portable ladders and platforms (i.e., load, securing ladders and platforms, complying with subpart X - stairways and ladders), hand and portable power equipment (i.e., electric equipment connected by cord and plug, portable and vehicle-mounted generators used to supply cord- and plug-connected equipment, hydraulic and pneumatic tools), live-line tools (i.e., inspection and testing, defects) and materials handling and storage (i.e., restricted and unrestricted areas). Other requirements included in this subpart include mechanical equipment (i.e., inspections, outrigger use, operation near power lines, complying with subpart N - helicopters, hoists, elevators and conveyors, subpart O - motor vehicles, mechanized equipment and marine operations, and subpart CC - cranes and derricks in construction), working on or neat exposed energized parts, deenergizing lines and equipment for employee protection, grounding for the protection of employees, overhead lines and live-line barehand work, underground electrical installation (i.e., vaults, manholes), and substations. Lastly, it provides requirements for special conditions related to capacitors, current transformer secondaries, series streetlighting, illumination, protection against drowning, excavations, employee protection in public work areas, lasers, hydraulic fluids, communication facilities, and microwave transmission.

Additional related information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics for personal protective equipment, cranes and derricks, stairways and ladders, confined spaces, electrical safety, and medical services and first aid.

Subpart V - Electric Power Transmission and Distribution

Do your employees perform testing at test facilities?

Do your employees perform testing at test facilities?

If yes, then you need to comply with the standard on testing and test facilities. This standard provides for safe work practices for high-voltage and high-power testing performed in laboratories, shops, and substations, and in the field and on electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment. It applies only to testing involving interim measurements using high voltage, high power, or combinations of high voltage and high power, and not to testing involving continuous measurements as in routine metering, relaying, and normal line work.

OSHA considers routine inspection and maintenance measurements made by qualified employees to be routine line work not included in the scope of this section, provided that the hazards related to the use of intrinsic high voltage or high-power sources require only the normal precautions associated with routine work specified in the other paragraphs of this subpart. Two typical examples of such excluded test work procedures are "phasing-out" testing and testing for a "no-voltage" condition.