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Electrical Safety Fact Sheet


Electrical safety refers to the control measures and practices implemented to prevent electric
shock, electrocution, and other electrical-related incidents. These incidents can be caused by
exposure to electrical current, electrical arcs or sparks, overheating, or contact with hot
surfaces or materials.

To ensure electrical safety, it is important to follow the guidelines, laws and regulations set
forth by local, state, and national authorities, as well as to implement recommended industry
best practices. Some important electrical safety control measures and practice include:

  1. Avoid contact with electrical sources: Avoid contact with electrical outlets, wires,
    transformers, circuit breakers, and the like with and keep conductive objects away from
    electrical sources.
  2. Proper use of electrical tools and equipment: Use only tools and equipment and tools
    that are properly grounded and in good condition and follow manufacturer instructions
    and safety precautions.
  3. Proper installation and maintenance: Ensure that electrical wiring, outlets, tools, and
    equipment are installed and maintained by qualified professionals, and regularly inspect
    them for damage or wear.
  4. Electrical safety tools and equipment: Wear personal protective equipment, such as
    gloves, goggles, hardhats, suits, and/or safety shoes, when working with electrical
    equipment or in areas where there is a risk of electrical shock.
  5. Education and training: Educate yourself and others on electrical safety practices and
    procedures and seek training from qualified professionals on how to properly work with
    electrical equipment.

By following these guidelines and implementing recommended industry best practices, you can
help prevent electrical incidents and ensure the safety of yourself and others around you.

Electrical safety laws and regulations are established by national, state, and local authorities to
ensure that electrical equipment, installations, and practices meet specific safety standards.
These laws and regulations may vary, but they generally cover the following areas:

  1. Electrical installation standards: Standards for the installation and use of electrical
    equipment, wiring, and appliances. This includes requirements for proper grounding,
    electrical panel protection, and use of electrical conduit and connectors.
  2. Electrical tools and equipment standards: Standards for the design, construction, and
    use of electrical equipment and appliances. These standards may cover grounding,
    electrical insulation, current capacity, and other safety features.
  3. Electrical inspection and testing: Periodic inspections and testing of electrical
    installations and equipment to ensure that they meet safety standards and are in good
    working order.
  4. Electrical work practices: Safe work practices and procedures for those working with or
    around electrical equipment, including requirements for personal protective equipment,
    lockout/tagout procedures, and proper use of tools and equipment.

Some common electrical safety laws and regulations include Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA), the National Electrical Code (NEC), the National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) and state and local electrical codes. These are specified in the sections

The electrical safety laws and regulations require you to implement specific controls. Moreover,
there are recommended industry practices to help prevent electrical incidents and ensure the
safety of those working with or around electrical equipment.

NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, is a key resource for helping UMD
reduce exposure to risks and avoid occupational injuries and fatalities. It was created to provide
a document that meets the needs of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
electrical safety requirements and is entirely consistent with the National Electrical Code (NEC)
and other applicable publications.

You will find opportunities for NFPA 70e Two Day training in this important requirement . You can also contact ESSR OSH at for further information.

Applicable University Policy

VI-14.00(A) UMD Policy on Control of Hazardous Energy During Maintenance of Equipment (Lockout/Tagout Program)

Applicable Regulations

All electrical wiring and equipment must comply with the following:

  • National Electric Code (NEC)
  • NFPA 70E
  • 29 CFR 1910- The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
  • 29 CFR 1910.151- Special Industries (High Voltage Electricity)
  • 29 CFR 1910.331 -Scope
  • 29 CFR 1910.332 -Training
  • 29 CFR 1910.333 -Selection and use of work practices
  • 29 CFR 1910.334 -Use of equipment
  • 29 CFR 1910.335 -Safeguards for personnel protection

Summary of Requirements

  • The requirements of electrical safety are specified by OSHA and specific work practices are detailed in NFPA 70 E as well as University policy.
  • Work performed must be done by a licensed electrician and in accordance with the National Electric Code.
  • The use of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) as a device to protect a person from electric shock when he or she simultaneously contacts a "live" wire or part and a grounded object.
  • OSHA has promulgated specifications which affect high voltage distribution systems within the university that need to be considered in the installation of new equipment.
  • Use of personal protective equipment when employees are working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed.


Scope: The training requirements apply to employees who face a risk of electrical shock that is not reduced to a safe level by the electrical installation requirements of 29 CFR 1910.303 through 1910.308.

Employees in occupations facing a higher than normal risk of electrical accident are required to be trained. Additionally, other employees who may reasonably be expected to face comparable risk of injury due to electric shock or other electrical hazards must also be trained.

Content: Employees shall be trained in, and become familiar with, the safety-related work practices required by 1910.331 through 1910.335 but that pertain to their respective job assignments.


  • All power tools and appliances must be free of cracks, fraying, heat damage and insulation damage.
  • Any electrical control, disconnect switches, and transformers must not be blocked in a manner that will impede access to the devices. The regulations require a minimum of three feet of clearance.
  • All equipment must have grounded three-prong plugs.
  • Live parts to which an employee may be exposed shall be deenergized before the employee works on or near them, unless the employer can demonstrate that deenergizing introduces additional or increased hazards or is infeasible due to equipment design or operational limitations. Live parts that operate at less than 50 volts to ground need not be deenergized if there will be no increased exposure to electrical burns or to explosion due to electric arcs.

University Resources

Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk (301) 405-3960
ESSR Fax No.    (301) 314-9294
ESSR Website:

Written 5/98
Revised 4/05

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