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 http://www.osha.gov.

March 10, 2000

Mr. Thomas E. Stuart, Jr., Chief
Occupational Safety and Health
Alaska Department of Labor
3301 Eagle Street, Suite 305
P.O. Box 107022
Anchorage, AK 99510-7022

Dear Mr. Stuart:

This is in response to your June 18, 1998 letter and subsequent telephone request of March 7, 2000 asking for clarification on whether employees in supervisory and managerial positions have to meet the training requirements under paragraphs 1910.269(a)(2)(iii) through 1910.269(vii) of the Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Standard, 29 CFR §1910.269. According to your letter, the Seattle Regional Office asked you to contact this office directly for an interpretation relating to the Alaska State plan's enforcement responsibilities. We have coordinated our response with the Directorate of Federal-State Operations. Please accept our apology for the delay in responding. Your scenario and question and our reply follow.

Scenario: First line supervisor, foreman, and lead man positions perform work covered by 1910.269 and are certified annually to meet the training requirement of paragraph (a)(2)(vii). Under normal circumstances, employees in higher managerial positions would not normally perform work or job briefings. The company's labor agreement specifically prohibits this type of work to be performed by higher level managers.

In the rare event of a major natural calamity, a severe storm, major earthquake, etc., it is conceivable that employees in higher managerial positions might be called upon to assist with restoration activities. In this event, prior to their being dispatched to the field, training would be provided in the areas where their proficiency was in question.

Question: Based upon the information provided, is there a need to ensure proficiency in craft-related activities with respect to these types of managers, except under extreme/unusual conditions?

Reply: The local utility company must meet the training requirements in paragraph 1910.269(a)(2) to the extent that employees, including those in upper managerial positions, are involved in either routine or emergency work covered by §1910.269. It is assumed that these managers received previous training and demonstrated proficiency in electrical safety-related work practices required by this standard.

Your letter states that the utility company provides training for managers being dispatched to the field in the areas where their proficiency is in question. You should note, however, that §1910.269(a)(2)(iii)(C) assumes that there is some loss of proficiency whenever work practices are performed less often than once per year. Thus, some degree of additional training or retraining is always required in those situations. The extent of training required will, of course, depend on all of the circumstances, including the employee's retention of prior training.

Section 1910.269(a)(2)(iii) is not a certification requirement as such. Instead, it calls for a determination of employee compliance with required work practices through regular supervision and inspections conducted on at least an annual basis. As a practical matter, managerial employees who perform this work less often than once per year cannot be evaluated on an annual basis, but need only be evaluated on those occasions when they do perform safety-related work practices.

With respect to any employee, it is not the determination of employee compliance under 1910.269(a)(2)(iii) that must be certified, but rather the giving of any required training. Section 1910.269(a)(2)(vii) calls for certification when the employee has received such training and has demonstrated "proficiency in the work practices involved." When a managerial employee receives additional training or retraining in connection with the infrequent performance of work in emergencies, that training must be certified after the employee demonstrates proficiency. The evaluation of the employee compliance, as required by §1910.269(a)(2)(iii), will usually also serve to establish employee proficiency for purposes of the certification requirement in §1910.269(a)(2)(vii).

We hope you find this information helpful. Please be aware that the enforcement guidance contained in this response represents the views of OSHA at the time the letter was written, based on the facts of an individual case, question, or scenario. OSHA's enforcement guidance is subject to periodic review and clarification, amplification, or correction. Such guidance could also be affected by subsequent rulemaking. In the future, should you wish to verify that the guidance provided herein remains current, you may consult OSHA's website at
http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the [Office of General Industry Enforcement at 202-693-1850].

Sincerely,


Richard Fairfax, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[Corrected 6/2/2005]