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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.
August 16, 2004
Mr. Daniel J. Hecht
Temp Covers, Inc.
425 NE Hancock
Portland, OR 97212
Dear Mr. Hecht;
Thank you for your May 5, 2004 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements herein, and may not be applicable to any question(s) not delineated within your original correspondence. You had a specific question regarding the use of your "Temporary Panelboard Ingress Barriers" (a.k.a. TempCovers) in general industry. We apologize for the delay in responding to your request.
Scenario: TempCovers has received a "Classified" label under a new category-QEWI, created by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) which is a sub-category of panelboards. These covers were first introduced to the electrical industry in 1996. TempCovers provides a protective barrier from incidental contact when the repeated installation and removal of the permanent panel cover would be labor intensive. TempCovers are to be used by licensed and/or qualified electricians as temporary protection on new or remodeled industrial, commercial electrical construction projects and facility maintenance.
Question: Are our TempCovers -- which are Classified by UL as "Temporary Panelboard Ingress Barriers" - acceptable as defined in 29 CFR 1910, Subpart S -- Electrical?
Reply: Based on the technical information that you have provided and the additional information from UL, we have concluded that the temporary panelboard ingress barrier is "Acceptable" in General Industry when used in accordance with its limitations. It is important to emphasize that this letter only addresses the use of TempCovers in "General Industry" situations -- i.e., those governed by 29 CFR Part 1910. This letter does not apply to the use of TempCovers during construction activities (29 CFR Part 1926) or for work on ships and other vessels (29 CFR Part 1915).
OSHA defines "Acceptable" (in part) as: "An installation or equipment is acceptable to the Assistant Secretary of Labor, and approved within the meaning of this Subpart S: (i) if it is accepted, or certified, or listed, or labeled, or otherwise determined to be safe by a nationally recognized testing laboratory..." See 1910.399, Definitions applicable to... Subpart [S].
UL has stated that: "Products carrying this [Classification] mark have been evaluated for specific properties, a limited range of hazards, or suitability for use under limited or special conditions." Specifically, "[t]his product is Classified for protection against shock hazards only."
Furthermore, UL states: "This category covers polymeric temporary panelboard ingress barriers intended to be field installed over the electrical access opening of an indoor electrical lighting and/or appliance branch and power circuit enclosed panelboard. These barriers are intended for temporary use only, during intermissions in the process of wiring the internal components of the aforementioned devices by qualified persons. These barriers provide protection against inadvertent contact with live parts only. These barriers are not intended for temporary electrical power and lighting installations as covered in Article 527 of the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70 (NEC)."
While the TempCovers are "acceptable" devices for purposes of §1910.303, employers are permitted to use the panelboard barrier only in a manner that conforms with other provisions of 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart S, and employers are responsible for assuring that the panelboards are being used in accordance with all of the Subpart S provisions.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.
Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs