The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, was created by Congress as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) in response to a rising number of on-the-job injuries and employee fatalities.
OSHA’s mission is to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.
The OSH Act covers all employers and employees in the United States and its territories with a few exceptions. Because it is a federal standard, OSHA regulations are enforceable under federal law.
OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor. The administrator for OSHA is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA’s administrator answers to the Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.
OSHA, Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, addresses safety issues for everything from scaffolding to ergonomics, job related disease, and construction. Title 29 also addresses electrical safety.
Electrical safety requirements are divided into four categories and can be found in two separate subparts of the regulation.
The first is Part 1910, Subpart S – General Industry, Electrical. This subpart addresses electrical safety requirements that are necessary for the practical safeguarding of employees in their workplaces and is divided into four major divisions:
The second is Part 1926, Subpart K – Construction Industry, Electrical. This subpart addresses electrical safety requirements that are necessary for the practical safeguarding of employees involved in construction work and is also divided into four major divisions:
Most OSHA regulations provide general requirements and do not provide many specifics. This is the case with the requirements for electrical safety, which is where the NEC and NFPA 70E become important. Each of these standards is directly or indirectly related to one another and to the OSHA regulations. There are a number of places where language is taken verbatim from one standard and used in another regulation.
Additional information about OSHA can be found on their Web site at www.osha.gov