- Standard Number:
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.
October 18, 2006
Mr. Michael C. Botts
3645 37th Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Dear Mr. Botts:
Thank you for your November 8, 2004 e-mail to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. You had questions regarding the relationship between OSHA standards and the February, 2000 update of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces. Your paraphrased inquiries and our responses follow.
Question: Has OSHA promulgated or changed any standards to directly incorporate NFPA 70E-2000 at this time?
Response: No. The electrical installation requirements and the electrical safety-related work practices in OSHA's general industry standards in Subpart S--Electrical Work, are based on previous editions of 70E. However, OSHA has proposed to update the installation requirements in Subpart S based on Part I of the 2000 edition of NFPA 70E. See 69 Federal Register 17773 (April 5, 2004). Later stages of this rulemaking project will also be based on other parts of NFPA 70E. Also, it should be noted that the latest edition of the NFPA standard is NFPA 70E-2004.
Because OSHA has not adopted through rulemaking the requirements of a more recent edition of NFPA 70E, those requirements have not become OSHA standards. A national consensus standard, however, can sometimes be relevant to a general duty clause citation in the sense that the consensus standard may be used as evidence of hazard recognition and the availability of feasible means of abatement. The general duty clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, is violated if an employer has failed to furnish a workplace that is free from recognized hazards causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm. The general duty clause is used where there is no standard that applies to the particular hazards involved.
As you may know, the State of Minnesota administers its own occupational safety and health program, with approval and monitoring by federal OSHA. States that administer their own OSH plans must promulgate regulations that are "at least as effective" as the federal regulations, although they may be more stringent. As a result, Minnesota may have safety and health laws that are more restrictive than the federal laws. For more information specific to the State of Minnesota, you may contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry at:
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
443 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-4307
(651) 282-5405 FAX
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 employee 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
cc: Scott Brener, Commissioner