Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Green Job Hazards: Geo-Thermal Energy - Electrical

Geo-Thermal projects can expose workers to a range of electrical hazards.  Systems may require the installation, operation, and maintenance of large electrical pumps, which will move water through miles of underground piping. Grounding is essential for this type of operation.  If this energy is used to heat or cool a building, then the components of the heating and cooling system could also expose workers to electrical hazards.

Geo-Thermal systems that generate electrical power may be covered by the Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution standards and, therefore, may be required to implement the safe work practices and worker training requirements of OSHA's Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution standard, 29 CFR 1910.269.  Typically, Geo-Thermal systems that generate electrical power are covered by OSHA Subpart S standards in part 1910, if they are not connected to distribution systems (i.e., a system that is supplying power to two or more buildings) or if they are only emergency or standby in nature.  However, if they supply power to a distribution system, then the provisions contained in 29 CFR 1910.269, Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution, will apply.

Some resources on electrical hazards and information on the standards and practices that address electrical hazards are provided below:

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