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.

November 4, 1992

Ernest Breaux, Jr.
Bechtel Environmental
P.O. Box 98 - Hwy 26 E.
Arkadelphia, AR 71923

Dear Mr. Breaux:

This is in response to your August 31 letter requesting an interpretation of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard addressing ground fault circuit interrupters on extension cords as well as on portable tools. I apologize for the delay in our response.

Paragraph 1926.404(b)(1) requires an employer to use either ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) or an assured equipment grounding conductor program to protect employees on construction sites. The GFCI equipped cord set assembly or the GFCI equipped portable tool assembly must, as a complete unit, be approved as required by 1926.403(a) in accordance with the definition given in 1926.449. If all incorporated GFCI cord sets and/or portable tool assemblies at a construction site are approved and used in a manner such that the entire length of all cords are provided with protection, then the employer would be in compliance with this standard without an assured equipment grounding conductor program. A problem may arise, however, if some but not all cord sets are equipped with GFCI's. In this case, an assured equipment grounding conductor program would be required for all cord sets and equipment connected by cord and plug, as established in paragraph 1926.404(b)(1)(iii). In other words, this would require the testing of all cord sets including those cord sets and portable tools which incorporate their own individual approved GFCI's.

If we can be of any further assistance please contact either myself or Dale R. Cavanaugh of my staff at (202) 219-8136.


Roy F. Gurnham, Esq., P.E.
Office of Construction and Maritime
Compliance Assistance

August 31, 1992


TO:  Roy Grunham 
    Office of construction, 
    maritime compliance asst.            
    Department of Labor-OSHA 
    200 Constitution N.W.  
    Washington D.C.  20210

FROM: Ernest Breaux Jr Bechtel Environmental P.O. Box 98 - hwy 26 E. Arkadelphia, AR 71923 tel 501-246-0082 fax 501-246-3548

Mr. Roy Gurnham,

I am writing you to ask for and interpretation of 1926.404, the question is if you use ground fault circuit interrrupters on electrical cords including portable tools do you have to have and assured grounding program in place, your response in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Ernest Breaux Jr.