OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

December 1, 1991

Mr. G. A. Rodriquez
Safety Specialist
Reynolds Electrical & Engineering Co., Inc.
5301 Tamanar Drive
Las Vegas, Nevada 89130

Dear Mr. Rodriquez:

This is in response to your September 5 facsimile of a letter dated March 25 concerning the use of the Ericson Manufacturing Company's ground continuity monitoring device. Please accept my apology for the delay in this response.

In regard to your question whether ground continuity monitoring devices provide compliance with 29 CFR 1926.404(b)(1)(iii)(D), (E), and (G), please be advised as follows: These provisions require that (1) all cord sets and receptacles that are not a part of permanent wiring, and cord and plug-connected equipment required to be grounded must have all equipment grounding conductors tested for continuity and each receptacle and attachment cap or plug must be tested for correct attachment of equipment grounding conductor; (2) the tests be performed on a periodic basis; and (3) the tests be recorded.

A distinction must be made between a ground continuity monitoring device wired to the plug of a cord set and a ground continuity tester permanently wired to a cord set receptacle. A ground continuity monitoring device wired to the plug of a cord set does not test the continuity of the equipment grounding conductor within the cord set to which it is wired. Therefore, it does not provide compliance with any of the requirements of 1926.404(b)(1)(iii). A ground continuity tester permanently wired to a cord set's receptacle can be used to comply with the requirements to test the cord to which it is wired (1926.404(b)(1)(iii)(D) and (E)). This is based on the assumption that all cord connectors used on the site would incorporate the tester or would otherwise be tested in compliance with the ground-fault protection standard.

The receptacle-type ground continuity monitor can provide partial compliance with 1926.404(b)(1)(iii)(G), which requires the tests to be recorded. The employer would have to ensure that cord sets identified by the device as having a defective grounding conductor are immediately removed from service. If the indicator is not lit (because of a faulty ground or a burned out lamp or because the cord set is not energized), there would be no record of the last test; and the employer would be subject to citation.

If we can be of further assistance please contact Mr. Roy F. Gurnham or Mr. Dale R. Cavanaugh of my staff in the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance at (202) 523-8136.


Patricia K. Clark
Directorate of Compliance Programs