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OSHA Construction eTool

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Electrical Incidents:
Path to Ground Missing or Discontinuous

Am I In Danger?

If the power supply to the electrical equipment at your site is not grounded or the path has been broken, fault current may travel through a worker's body, causing electrical burns or death [for additional information see, Flexible Cords and Power Tools]. Even when the power system is properly grounded, electrical equipment can instantly change from safe to hazardous because of extreme conditions and rough treatment.

How Do I Avoid Hazards?

  • Ground all power supply systems, electrical circuits, and electrical equipment.
  • Frequently inspect electrical systems to insure that the path to ground is continuous.
  • Visually inspect all electrical equipment before use. Take any defective equipment out of service.
  • Do not remove ground prongs from cord- and plug-connected equipment or extension cords.
  • Use double-insulated tools.
  • Ground all exposed metal parts of equipment.
  • Ground metal parts of the following non-electrical equipment, as specified by the OSHA standard [29 CFR 1926.404(f)(7)(v)]:
    • Frames and tracks of electrically operated cranes.
    • Frames of non-electrically driven elevator cars to which electric conductors are attached.
    • Hand-operated metal shifting ropes or cables of electric elevators.
    • Metal partitions, grill work, and similar metal enclosures around equipment of over 1kV between conductors.
Plug with missing ground pin
Removing the ground pin from a plug to fit an ungrounded outlet not only means your work area is unsafe, but makes the cord unfit for future work where there is grounding.


Safety Bulletin Sign
Missing or Discontinuous
Path to Ground


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