The purpose for the Electrical Safety Work Practices Procedures is to provide working guidelines that incorporate the best work practices developed by NFPA 70E and OSHA Standards.   Following these guidelines when performing maintenance and service on electrical equipment or facility electrical systems will significantly reduce the likelihood of electrical accidents that can result in fires, injuries and fatalities.

Electrical Equipment: Generally, electrical equipment can be disconnected from its power source with a cord and plug at a receptacle or at a disconnect box. Equipment hardwired, such as but not limited to a breaker panel, is considered part of the facility electrical system and requires shutdown by qualified personnel.
 Facility Electrical System: The facilities’ electrical service such as breaker panels, switchgears and transformers and electrical distribution including lighting and branch wiring.

Electrical Arc Flash Hazard Analysis- An electrical arc flash hazard analysis is done to protect personnel from the risk of arc flash burn injuries.  It determines the flash protection boundary to keep personnel away from the arc hazard risk and the level of fire retardant clothing needed to minimize the extent of burn injuries for personnel required to work within the flash protection boundary. 

Electrical Shock Hazard Analysis – A shock hazard assessment must be performed to determine the voltage that affected employees can be exposed to, what the boundary requirements are to prevent an electrical shock and the appropriate electrical personal protective equipment to minimize the potential for electrical shock for affected employees.  Unauthorized personnel must stay 10 feet away from any unprotected electrical equipment.

Energized Electrical Work Permit – The energized electrical work permit is a written description of the electrical work to be done, signatures of qualified personnel who are designated by the department to take responsibility for the work, the results of the electrical hazard analysis, and documentation of all safety equipment and practices that will be used. Methods to restrict unauthorized personnel from the work area and the job debriefing are also included in the permit.

Energized Work- Working on or near exposed electric conductors or circuit parts that are or can become energized because electrical power to the working equipment or system has not been shutdown.

Flash Protection Boundary for Arc Flash- A clearance distance away from exposed energized parts that limits the extent of burn injuries for unprotected personnel to second degree burns in the event of an electrical arc flash.

Job Debriefing- A review by the supervisor of hazards related to the specific electrical work to be done which includes the electrical protective equipment to use, the safe electrical work procedures to follow, and the energy source controls. 
Justification: The process to justify exceptions to shutting down electrical energy sources prior to doing the work. The department designee(s) must document the justification to do the work with equipment or systems still energized.  Energized work on facility electrical systems including equipment permanently connected (hard-wired) to the facilities’ electrical systems will require an Energized Electrical Work Permit.
Non injurious clothing – Clothing made from the following types of fabrics: polyester, acetate, nylon rayon, spandex and polypropylene (either alone or in blends) can exacerbate burn injuries in the event of an electrical arc fire because they will melt into the skin.  These are prohibited unless specifically treated to be flame retardant. 

Non-qualified Personnel- Non-qualified personnel do not have full knowledge of the operation of electrical equipment or system and all of the inherent electrical hazards. They may be required to provide assistance to the qualified electrician who is responsible to provide safety oversight. Even though non-qualified personnel do not work directly on electrical equipment, they can still be potentially exposed to the risks of electrical hazards and must be protected based on the results of the electrical hazard analysis.

Prohibited Approach Boundary for Shock Hazard – The prohibited boundary is determined by the voltage of the electrical equipment.  Work performed within the prohibited boundary should be avoided because the risks are the same as working directly with exposed electrical parts.  Any work to be done in this high risk area must proceed with qualified personnel and an Energized Electrical Work Permit.  {Reference: NFPA 70E Table 130.4(C)(a) page (24) Protective Boundaries and Class rating for insulating equipment}.

Qualified Personnel- Qualified personnel must be knowledgeable of the electrical equipment or systems that they work on, the inherent electrical hazards and how to avoid them. OSHA and NFPA 70E (8) hour training, including refresher training, is required for personnel assigned to facility maintenance and service responsibilities related to electrical equipment and facility electrical systems. Training shall include electrical safety work practices and the protective measures necessary to avoid shock and burn injury hazards.

Restricted Approach Boundary for Shock Hazard – The restricted boundary is determined by the voltage of the electrical equipment.  Any work to be done within this area must proceed with qualified personnel and an Energized Electrical Work Permit.  {Reference: NFPA 70E Table 130.4(C)(a) page (24) Protective Boundaries and Class rating for insulating equipment}.

Shutdown: The action of cutting off electrical power to electrical facility systems or equipment and securing the electrical energy from accidental startup until the work has been completed.

Procedures for Departments Using Electrical Equipment

1. Provide safety oversight for electrical equipment
When departments have electrical equipment which is installed or brought into University-owned facilities, the department should provide oversight for the safe operation and condition of equipment. 

2.  Provide training in proper operation and maintenance of equipment to prevent electrical contact injuries
Departments are responsible for training personnel and students in the proper operation and maintenance of equipment to avoid electrical contact injuries.  Electrical contact injuries of concern include but are not limited to; operating unsafe or improperly grounded equipment, working with electrical equipment or appliances in wet locations, or coming into direct contact with stored electrical energy sources such as capacitors inside of equipment. Recommended resources for proper operation and maintenance of equipment are the Equipment Manufacturer or Manufacturer’s representative and the Equipment Operation Manual.

3. De-energize electrical equipment prior to performing service or repair work
Service and repairs on electrical equipment introduces electrical hazard risks from coming into contact with energized conductors or live electrical parts if covers and guards are removed that are designed to prevent electrical contact. Designated individuals in the department should do this type of work in the safest manner possible which is to de-energize the equipment following Lock Out Tag Out procedures.  Departments are advised to follow the guidelines in the University’s Lock-out Tag-out for Equipment Policy and Procedures - University Policy ID: SEC- 025, if procedures have not already been established.

4. Exceptions to de-energizing electrical equipment needs to be justified by the department
Exceptions to performing work on electrical equipment that has not been de-energized and locked out following Lock Out Tag Out procedures must be justified by the department.  The department will assume responsibility for the work and document why the equipment must still be energized to perform service or repairs.  Faculty, staff or students designated by the department to perform energized electrical work must be qualified through appropriate training on how to avoid the inherent electrical contact hazards and how to use safe work practices determined by but not limited to; the department’s procedures, manufacturer’s operation instructions or other pertinent and applicable guidelines.  

Procedures for Performing Energized Work
Proposed work activities on energized electrical equipment that is hard wired into the facility’s electrical system or facility electrical systems including altering or relocating electrical service, must be coordinated through Facilities Management-{Related Information: Facilities Management Directive No.562E Building Permits and Project Permits}.  This department has qualified and trained personnel who can authorize energized work and do an electrical hazard analysis (EHA). The EHA determines the safety precautions and electrical protective safety equipment that are required to prevent electrical injuries and fatalities.   The following procedures will be followed:

1. Justify ‘energized work’
Alternatives to working on energized electrical equipment or systems should always be considered to ensure the highest level of safety. If it is determined those alternatives are not feasible then the decision to proceed to work energized must be justified by individuals designated by the department as qualified to make this decision.

2. Use Energized Electrical Work Permits
Work must proceed with an Energized Electrical Work Permit that includes the documentation of the justification, signatures that authorize the work to be done, results of the electrical hazard analysis and all of the safety precautions and electrical protective clothing that will be used.  Energized Electrical Work Permits must be logged and maintained for recordkeeping- See Attachments for procedures:  Energized Electrical Work Permit.

3. Perform Electrical Hazard Analysis
Electrical hazard analysis (EHA) is required to determine the proper working boundaries, shock protective equipment and precautions necessary to avoid electrical shock, and the hazard level category personal protective equipment and precautions to prevent burn injuries.  If information of the electrical equipment or system is unknown, contact the department safety assistant who will coordinate with the department’s designated electrical engineer.  Resources for EHA include: (1) Electrical equipment NFPA 70E Warning Label posted by the equipment manufacturer or new building(s) contractor; (2) NFPA 70E (2012 ed.) Table 130.4(C)(a) page (24) Protective Boundaries and Class rating for insulating equipment. (3) NFPA 70E (2012 ed.) Table 130.7(C) (15) (a) Hazard Rating and Protective Boundaries for electrical protective clothing, (4) NFPA 70E (2012ed.) Table 130.7(c) (16) Arc-Flash Protective Clothing

NFPA 70E (2012 edition) Electrical Safety Work Practices

OSHA Subpart S 1910.331-.335 Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices

4. Perform required Job debriefings
Job debriefings are required prior to performing any energized work to assure all affected personnel are aware of the hazards and have the necessary equipment that has been determined from the electrical hazard analysis.  Job debriefings can be documented on the Energized Electrical Work Permit.

5. Designate and train Qualified Personnel
Personnel who are designated by the department as qualified such as electrical workers, their supervisors and managers who authorize Energized Electrical Work Permits must be trained in 8 hour NFPA 70E and OSHA Electrical Safety Work Practices at a minimum.  This training is coordinated by the department’s designated safety assistant.   It will cover recognizing exposed live parts, knowing the voltage of electrical equipment, safe approach distances and the hazard level category for arc flash protective equipment and the ratings for shock protection. Refresher training in electrical safety work practices is also required to keep qualified personnel abreast of updates in best work practices. Refresher training should be provided optimally each year but as a minimum, every three years. Electrical workers and their supervisors must also be knowledgeable of the specific electrical equipment or systems they will work on and the inherent electrical hazards. Managers must take caution that the workers’ knowledge on one type or class of electrical system or equipment may not equip them to fully understand other types and classes of electrical systems or equipment.

6. Train Non-Qualified Personnel
Any non-qualified worker such as an electrical apprentice who will assist in any energized electrical work task must participate in the job debriefing and understand all safety precautions determined by the applicable Energized Electrical Work Permit. Non-qualified workers cannot work in prohibited and restricted zones.  The lead designated qualified person will provide safety oversight for any assisting non-qualified worker.

7. Post NFPA Warning Labels
Departments will include specifications for labeling equipment with the results of the electrical arc hazard analysis when installing new and/or upgraded switchboards, panel boards, industrial control panels and motor control centers that are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing or maintenance while energized. Labeling all electrical equipment when the result of an electrical arc hazard analysis has been determined is strongly encouraged. 

8. Provision for electrical protective equipment and testing services
Departments will provide cost centers/divisions with electrical protective equipment for shock and electrical arc burn protection as determined by the electrical hazard analyses and the means to test equipment as required by the equipment manufacturer –See Attachments for Procedures: Electrical Testing ServicesNon-injurious work uniforms will be provided to qualified personnel assigned to work activities that may expose them to electrical contact injuries.


Attachments for Procedures
(1) University Energized Electrical Work Permit
(2) University Energized Electrical Work Permit Summary of Revisions, Oct. 2013
(3) Electrical Testing Services Resources
(4) Insulating Electrical Protective Equipment

Related Information:
University Policy: SEC-025 Lock Out Tag Out for Equipment during Maintenance and Repair
EHS web page resource on: Electrical Safety for Principal Investigators (PIs), Laboratory & Shop Supervisors
Facilities Management Directive No.562E - Building Permits and Project Permits
OSHA 1910.333 Electrical Safety Work Practices
NFPA 70E (2012 edition) Electrical Safety Work Practices
Virginia Administrative Code 16 VAC 25-60-10; Part III Occupational Safety and Health Standards - Section 120 General Industry Standards - September 21st, 2006

Background University of Virginia Electrical Safety Work Practices Policy- ID: SEC-029; approved by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 11/20/07; (Revision History-2/20/2013) (Next Scheduled Review- 2/20/2016)