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.

June 23, 1997

Mr. Gregory C. Bird
Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc.
32 Bask Road
Glenmont, NY 12077

Dear Mr. Bird:

This is in response to your September 18, 1996 letter requesting a clarification of the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution standard, 29 CFR 1910.269. Please accept our apology for the delay in responding. Specifically, you asked whether paragraph 1910.269(a)(1) (i)(D) applies to hazardous waste cleanup and/or industrial cleanup activities performed by a contractor at electric power generation, transmission and distribution facilities.

Cleanup operations at electric power generation, transmission, and distribution facilities are not covered by 1910.269, unless one of the following conditions is met:


The operation involves a fuel or ash handling installation, a water or steam installation, or a chlorine or hydrogen installation; or


The operation is performed in rooms or spaces that contain exposed energized parts or electric power generation, transmission, or distribution equipment.

Electric power generating stations and transmission and distribution substations typically have areas containing energized electric lines and equipment. Unless the energized lines or equipment are guarded sufficiently, it is unsafe for unqualified persons to enter these spaces.

With exceptions, electric power generating stations and transmission and distribution substations are restricted to entry by qualified persons. Paragraphs 1910.269(u)(4)(i)(A) through (C) and 1910.269(v)(4)(i)(A) through (C) set forth the conditions for spaces within substations and generating stations, respectively, under which unqualified persons may not enter.

Employers may train employees as qualified employees for the purpose of entering and working within restricted areas of generating stations and transmission and distribution substations. While the training for these employees must meet paragraph 1910.269(a)(2)(ii), such training need not be as comprehensive as the training provided normally to a qualified electrical worker. These "qualified" (non-electrical) employees must have the following training:


They must know what is safe to touch and what is not safe to touch in the specific areas they will be entering (paragraph 1910.269(a)(2)(ii)(A));


They must know what the maximum voltage of the area is (paragraph 1910.269(a)(2)(ii)(B));


They must know the minimum approach distances for the maximum voltage within the area (paragraph .269(a)(2)(ii)(c)); and


They must be trained in the recognition and proper use of electrical protective equipment that will be used to provide protection for them and in the work practices necessary for performing their specific work assignments within the area. Only fully qualified electrical employees may install electrical insulating equipment on energized parts. (See the definition of "qualified employee (qualified person)" under paragraph 1910.269(x)).

Until these "qualified employees" have demonstrated proficiency in the work practices involved, they are considered to be employees undergoing on-the-job training and must be under the direct supervision of a qualified employee (qualified person) at all times. According to the definition of "qualified employee (qualified person)," the employee also must have demonstrated an ability to perform the work safely at his or her level of training. It is expected that an orientation familiarizing the employee with the safety fundamentals given here will be conducted before an employee undergoing training is allowed to enter a restricted area.

We appreciate your interest in employee safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please contact the Office of Safety Compliance Assistance, Mr. Ronald J. Davies, telephone (202) 219-8031, extension 110.


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