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.

August 29, 1995

Mr. Daryld Ray
Crow Aluminum Company of America
100 Riverview Tower 900 South Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902

Dear Mr. Crow:

This in response to your July 25, 1994 letter, addressed to Mr. Joe Pipkin and Mr. David Wallis in the Directorate of Safety Standards Programs, requesting clarification of the Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Standard, 29 CFR 1910.269. Your letter was forwarded to the Directorate of Compliance Programs for response. Please accept our apology for the delay in responding. In your letter you specifically requested that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) delineate what is covered by the 1910.269 Standard and what is covered by 1910 Subpart S Electrical Standard as they apply to transmission and distribution at the utilization end of the electric power system serving industrial installations.

In some cases, industrial installations will be covered under 1910.269, and in other cases, they will be covered under Subpart S. Industrial installations having generating capability, other than that provided for emergency or standby purposes, will be covered from the generating installation to the service point. If there is no generation, then the installation will be covered if it distributes power to two or more separate utilization systems (for example, premises wiring systems for two separate buildings or other equivalent facilities). Section 1910.269 coverage will extend to the service point for each building or other equivalent facility served.

It should be noted that the employer may choose compliance with subpart S for the installation itself. In such cases, only work practices associated with electric power generation, transmission, and distribution lines and equipment need comply with Section 1910.269.

Employers also may make good faith efforts to determine whether a given installation falls under Section 1910.269 or Subpart S. OSHA will accept these determinations provided employees are being protected to the extent required under the applicable Standard. Appendices A-1 through A-5 of the Electric Power Generation Standard provide guidance for employers who are implementing the requirements of Section 1910.269 in combination with other 1910 General Industry standards, including not only the 1910 Subpart S Electrical Standard, but also the 1910.147 Lockout/Tagout Standard and the 1910.146 Permit-Required Confined Space Standard.

On the other hand, violations of the General Duty clause contained in Section 5 (a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act will exist whenever any employee would be protected under one standard, when the other, normally applicable standard contains no provisions protecting against the hazard involved. For example, if an employee is using a live-line tool, such as a hot stick, on an overhead power line covered by Subpart S and if that tool did not meet paragraph 1910.269(j), a general duty clause violation would exist.

Please be advised that OSHA Instruction CPL 2-1.18, Guidelines for Enforcement of the Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Standard, 29 CFR 1910.269, which is scheduled tentatively for issuance early this spring, will include an appendix which defines terminology used but not defined in 1910.269(x). Clarifications and interpretations of section 1910.269 will not be included in this instruction initially. These clarifications and interpretations are being addressed by OSHA letters and memoranda and will be incorporated as future change(s) to the directive. These OSHA letters and memoranda are available on a CD ROM disk which may be purchased (see the enclosed brochure) from the Government Printing Office.

We appreciate your interest in employee safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please contact Mr. Ronald Davies of my staff, telephone 202-219-8031, extension 110.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs


July 25, 1995

Mr. Joe Pipkin, PE, CSP
Mr. David Wallis
Occupational Safety and Health
US Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Re: Defining Industrial Plant Distribution Systems Covered By 29 CFR 1910.269 Subpart R

Dear Sirs:

On page 4338 of the preamble to the final rule in Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution (29 CFR 1910.269), the following statement is made:

"With respect to the existing requirements of part 1 of subpart S, OSHA considers the "covered" installation to begin where it becomes electrically independent of conductors and equipment used for the generation of electric power....Generally, branch circuits supplying utilization equipment... are covered; feeders supplying only "utilization" branch circuits are covered..." by Subpart S. (59 FR 4338)

We believe that the above information clearly states OSHA's intent that industrial plant distribution feeders that are only used to supply power to "utilization" equipment are not covered under Subpart R and are covered under Subpart S. Alcoa supports this easily applied logic to the distinction of where Subpart S coverage ends and 1910.269 coverage begins. We would encourage OSHA to commit to this position for general industry applications.

If, OSHA cannot accept the position outlined above, we would encourage you to commit to the interpretation that 1910.269 would cover only the primary distribution feeders in an industrial plant. All plant power distribution transformers and all electrical equipment on the secondary side of these transformers would be covered by Subpart S rather than Subpart R (1910.269).

Mr. Van Name has copies of some one line diagrams that illustrate what I have stated. The diagrams were discussed with David Wallis and Joe Van Name at the OSHA training on 29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR 1910.137 held in Charlotte N.C. on July 12, 13, and 14.

I look forward to your reply to my comments. Also, I would appreciate all correspondence on suggestions, recommendations, and definitions as to what is covered by 1910.269 (as it relates to distribution systems) to include copies to the people listed below.

Although Alcoa and many of the other member companies associated with Organization Resources Counselors Inc. will continue to take steps to bring our current practices into compliance with 1910.269 where appropriate, we believe that a clear definition of what is and is not covered by 1910.269 as it relates to distribution systems is required.


Daryld Ray Crow


Daryld Ray
Crow Aluminum Company of America
100 Riverview Tower 900 South Gay Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
Telephone (615) 594-4822 Fax (615) 594-4820

Joanne Linhard
Organization Resources Counselors
1910 Sunderland Place N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Telephone (202)293 2980 Fax (202)293 2915

Ralph Young
Eastman Chemical Company
Building 54D
P.O. Box 511
Kingsport, Tennessee 37662
Telephone (615) 229-6221 Fax (615) 229-6099

Lynn Roach
Eastman Chemical Company
Building 54D
P.O. Box 511
Kingsport, Tennessee 37662
Telephone (615) 229-3376 Fax (615) 229-6099

Ray Jones
EI du Pont de Nemours and Company
P.O. Box 80840
Wilmington, Delaware 19880
Telephone (302) 695-0308 Fax (302) 695-0546

Joseph A. Cannatelli
ARCO Chemical Co.
16 Campus Blvd.
Newtown Square, Pa. 19073
Telephone (215) 359-4722 Fax (215) 359-7786