Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution;Electrical Protective Equipment
• Section: 2
• Title: Section 2 - II. Development of Standard

II. Development of Standard

A. Present Standards

OSHA adopted regulations applying to the construction of power transmission and distribution lines and equipment in 1972 (Subpart V of part 1926). The term "construction" is broadly defined in 1926.950(a)(1) to include alteration, conversion, and improvement, as well as the original installation of the lines and equipment. However, subpart V does not apply to the operation or maintenance of transmission or distribution installations.

OSHA found, in reviewing the construction regulations, that the provisions of Subpart V of part 1926 were suitable for use as a base in the development of rules for operation and maintenance work. Important safety considerations for electric utility employees are currently addressed in Subpart V including tools and protective equipment, mechanical equipment, grounding for employee protection, and overhead and underground installations. These are topics that also need to be addressed in a comprehensive standard for the operation and maintenance of electric power transmission and distribution installations.

However, the construction rules do have some disadvantages. During the 15 years subpart V has been in effect, areas of ambiguity have developed, making parts of the standard difficult for employees and employers to understand and for OSHA compliance officers to enforce. Additionally, some subpart V requirements are specifically related to the initial construction of lines and equipment and are not readily adaptable to maintenance operations. Lastly, subpart V contains no provisions specifically addressing power generation work.

The National Electrical Safety Code (American National Standards Institute Standard ANSI C2;(4) also known as the NESC) must also be taken into consideration in the development of rules for the operation and maintenance of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution systems. This national consensus standard contains requirements specifically addressing this type of work. The latest version of ANSI C2 is much more up-to-date than subpart V of the Construction Standards. However, ANSI C2 is primarily directed to the prevention of electric shock, although it does contain a few requirements for the prevention of falls. Other hazards common to the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution work are not discussed.


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  Footnote(4) The 1984 and 1987 editions (ANSI C2-1984 and ANSI C2-1987)
were entered into the rulemaking record as Ex. 2-8.

Another related OSHA standard is 1910.268, pertaining to telecommunications work. Much of the field work covered in this regulation is similar in nature to the type of field work performed by electric utility employees, and the hazards faced in the performance of this type of work are frequently the same in both industries. In any situation in which the hazards are the same and in which there is no clear coverage in the other existing standards, the provisions in the telecommunications standard have been used as a basis for developing requirements to protect employees performing electric-utility-type work.

B. Industry-Union Draft Standard

As previously noted, representatives of EEI and IBEW developed a draft standard, submitted it to OSHA, and represented it as being a negotiated standard that could be used in a rulemaking activity. (EEI and IBEW submitted separate versions of the draft standard. These documents are available for inspection and copying in the Docket Office as Ex. 2-3 and 2-4.) This draft standard was essentially a continuation of the existing requirements of Subpart V of Part 1926 in which the hazards addressed are those found in transmission and distribution installations after the construction phase is completed and the electrical system becomes operational. Additionally, based on existing industry practice, EEI and IBEW added provisions addressing generating plants, substations, confined spaces, and hazardous energy control to supplement the rules on transmission and distribution work.

In the development of this proposal, OSHA evaluated the drafts submitted by EEI and IBEW to determine their suitability as a base document. In areas which overlapped existing OSHA standards, the drafts were reviewed to see if equivalent safety was provided. For example, provisions in the draft standard dealing with ladders were compared to the regulations in Subpart D of part 1910. OSHA also reviewed the drafts to determine if their requirements were as effective as the requirements of national consensus standards addressing the same hazards and to determine if definitions of terms common to several other OSHA standards were identical. For example, the draft provisions on line-clearance tree trimming were checked against the equivalent ANSI standard, ANSI Z133.1-1982 (Ex. 2-29), to be sure that OSHA's regulations would better effectuate safety than the national consensus standard.

The EEI and IBEW draft standards included a section on electrical protective equipment. This equipment is an integral part of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution work, and its use (or lack of use) directly affects the safety of employees performing this type of work. In fact, many of the accidents mentioned earlier were related to electrical protective equipment. Because 1910.137 already addresses electrical protective equipment, OSHA believes it is appropriate to revise that section rather than include separate protective equipment requirements in 1910.269.

After thoroughly analyzing the EEI/IBEW drafts, OSHA determined that, together with ANSI C2 and Subpart V of part 1926, they could provide a basis from which a proposal could be developed. OSHA met with representatives of EEI and IBEW several times to obtain their advice. OSHA then clarified some of the language involved, revised unenforceable wording, and resolved conflicts with other OSHA regulations and with national consensus standards.

History of the Regulation

On January 31, 1989, OSHA published the proposed standard on electric power generation, transmission, and distribution work and on electrical protective equipment (54 FR 4974). This proposal was intended to supplement the existing electric power transmission and distribution requirements for construction contained in 29 CFR part 1926, subpart V, and to update the provisions of 1910.137 on electrical protective equipment. The proposed rules were based, in part, on the provisions of the EEI/IBEW draft standard, on subpart V, and on the NESC.

Interested parties were originally given until May 1, 1989, to submit written comments on the proposal, to file objections, and to request a hearing. In response to requests from the public, the deadline for receipt of comments was subsequently extended to June 1, 1989 (54 FR 18546).

OSHA received 83 comments on the proposal by June 1, 1989, and one request for a hearing by the earlier May 1 deadline. Five late requests for a hearing were also received. In response to the hearing requests and in accordance with section 6(b)(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA published a notice announcing an informal public hearing and listing the issues to be discussed at the hearing (54 FR 30401, corrected at 54 FR 31970).

The hearing began on November 28, 1989, in Washington, DC. It was adjourned on December 5, 1989, and was reconvened on December 12, 1989, in Los Angeles, CA. The hearing concluded on December 14, 1989.

At the close of the public hearing, Administrative Law Judge Robert Feldman set the deadlines for the submission of additional information and for the filing of briefs by the participants to be March 14 and April 13, 1990, respectively. At the request of some of the hearing participants, Judge Feldman subsequently extended the deadlines to July 1 and August 1, 1990 (Ex. 50).

Section 1910.269 was proposed to apply only to installations under the exclusive control of electric utilities. One of the issues listed in the notice of hearing was whether the scope of the standard should be extended to include work on all electric power generation, transmission, and distribution installations regardless of who owned or operated the installations.

The original regulatory impact analysis for the proposal did not consider the impact of the standard beyond electric utilities and their contractors. Based on its review of the record, the Agency decided to evaluate the economic impact of applying the rule to employers other than electric utilities. Therefore, OSHA contracted for a study (performed by Eastern Research Group, Inc.) of the regulatory impact of applying 1910.269 to companies which generate or distribute their own electric power. This study was placed in the rulemaking record on the proposal (Ex. 6-25), and OSHA published a notice in the Federal Register reopening the record on the proposal for a period of 60 days (November 9, 1990, 55 FR 47074). At the request of several interested parties, the deadline was extended until February 8, 1991 (January 10, 1991, 56 FR 976).

Two of the hearing participants had additional information to be entered into the record and requested a reopening of the hearing record. This information represented the outcome of a relevant consensus standards committee action. During the hearing, the participants had promised to provide these data at the request of the Agency. In response to this request, Administrative Law Judge Robert Feldman reopened the record until March 1, 1991 (Ex. 63).

Judge Feldman issued an order receiving the post-hearing comments and closing the record on July 23, 1992. At that time, he certified the record to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.

The comments received in response to the notices of proposed rulemaking, of public hearing, and of the reopening of the record, the written transcript of the hearing, and the exhibits submitted at the hearing and during the post-hearing period allowed for such submissions constitute the rulemaking record for this proceeding. The entire record was carefully considered in the preparation of this final rule.

[59 FR 4320, Jan. 31, 1994; 59 FR 33658, June 30, 1994]

Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents