Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
| Standard Number:||1926; 1926.404; 1926.404(b)(1); 1926.404(b)(1)(i); 1926.404(b)(1)(ii); 1926.404(b)(1)(iii); 1926.32(f)|
|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.|
(b) Branch circuits -- (1) Ground-fault protectionTherefore, under paragraph 1926.404(b)(1)(i), the employer is required to provide ground fault protection -- either by the use of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) or by the use of an assured equipment grounding conductor program. Note that there is no voltage limit to this requirement.
(i) General. The employer shall use either ground fault circuit interrupters as specified in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section or an assured equipment grounding conductor program ["AEGCP"] as specified in paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section to protect employees on construction sites. [Emphasis added.] These requirements are in addition to any other requirements for equipment conductors.
(ii) Ground-fault circuit interrupters. All 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20- ampere receptacle outlets on construction sites, which are not part of the permanent wiring of the building or structure and which are in use by employees, shall have approved ground-fault circuit interrupters for personnel protection.The other option for meeting the requirement that there be ground fault protection is by the use of an assured equipment grounding conductor program. The requirements for that option are spelled out in paragraph 1926.404(b)(1)(iii). While there are several applicable provisions of paragraph 1926.404(b)(1)(iii), we note two in particular:
* * *
(iii) Assured equipment grounding conductor program. The employer shall establish and implement an assured equipment grounding conductor program on construction sites covering all cord sets, receptacles which are not a part of the building or structure, and equipment connected by cord and plug which are available for use or used by employees.In your letter you focus on the part of paragraph 1926.404(b)(1)(ii) -- the GFCI option -- that refers to 120-volt outlets being protected by GFCIs. That part of paragraph 1926.404(b)(1)(ii) means that the GFCI option, as written, was available only for 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets. Because there is no voltage limit to the requirement in 1926.404(b)(1)(i) to provide ground fault protection by one of the two listed options (GFCI or assured grounding program), as originally written the standard in effect required that outlets over 120 V had to be protected by an assured grounding program.
* * *
(B) The employer shall designate one or more competent persons (as defined in §1926.32(f)) to implement the program. [Emphasis added.]
* * *
(F) The employer shall not make available or permit the use by employees of any equipment which has not met the requirements of this paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section. [Emphasis added.]
* * * the use of assured equipment grounding conductor programs on construction sites can be as effective as ... the use of GFCI's.This reflects an intent that the term "employer," as used in §1926.404(b)(1)(i) of the ground fault provision, when applied in the context of a construction site with multiple employers, refers to each of the employers/subcontractors with employees exposed to the hazard. Thus, each employer/subcontractor on the site that has exposed employees is obligated to ensure that one of the options is in "use."
* * * an employer may choose one method of protection or the other on the basis of several factors. The individual employer may choose on the basis of cost; if his local jurisdiction already requires GFCI's, he may choose GFCI's; if he is one employer of many on a construction site, the availability of alternatives gives him flexibility to coordinate compliance. [Emphasis added.]
|Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|