OSHA Electrical Standards ToolBox Talk – The Shocking Truth Revealed

Electricity is such a part of our everyday life we take it for granted and don’t treat it with the respect it deserves. Like the previous standards we have reviewed, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see and understand the hazards – Just common sense.

We all know that electrical shocks can be extremely painful. They also can be physically disfiguring and deadly. Really senseless when they can be easily prevented.

Statistics show that the most frequent causes of electrical injuries are:


  • Contact with Power Lines
  • Lack of Ground-Fault Protection
  • Path to Ground Missing or Discontinuous
  • Equipment Not Used in Manner Prescribed
  • Improper Use of Extension and Flexible Cords

Common Sense Right?  Then why is it that when I visit jobsites I see:

  • Ladders placed close to overhead power lines or the electrical service entrances
  • Temporary power being pulled directly from the service disconnect or service panel bus with no breaker or GF protection
  • Extension cords with the ground prong cut off or no visible ground at power source
  • Workers standing in water or wet areas running electrical hand tools without GF or insulated hand protection (PPE)
  • Extension Cords with bare wires showing, flimsy splices or severely overloaded

The OSHA Electrical standards we need to pay attention to state:
1926.416(a) (1) No employer shall permit an employee to work in such proximity to any part of an electric power circuit that the employee could contact the electric power circuit in the course of work, unless the employee is protected against electric shock by deenergizing the circuit and grounding it or by guarding it effectively by insulation or other means.
1926.416(a) (2) In work areas where the exact location of underground electric power lines is unknown, employees using jack-hammers, bars, or other hand tools which may contact a line shall be provided with insulated protective gloves.
1926.416(a)(3) Before work is begun the employer shall ascertain by inquiry or direct observation, or by instruments, whether any part of an energized electric power circuit, exposed or concealed, is so located that the performance of the work may bring any person, tool, or machine into physical or electrical contact with the electric power circuit. The employer shall post and maintain proper warning signs where such a circuit exists. The employer shall advise employees of the location of such lines, the hazards involved, and the protective measures to be taken.

In the meantime remember that the Shocking Truth about electrical safety hazard recognition and prevention is Common Sense.

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ToolBoxs Talk OSHA Electrical Standards

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About the author

Kent Leighton, Founder of The Flat Rock Group, has more than 40 years of experience in the Construction and Development Industry. Having owned a successful midsize General Contracting firm he understands the opportunities and trials of running a successful business enterprise. His passion is sharing his victories and his scars with leaders and managers to help them grow and prosper.