Electrician Skills: What is the OSHA Standard for Electrical Safety?
As a kid, did you fall in love with circuit kits and powering a lightbulb with a potato? Electrical work might be for you.
What Are Basic Electrical Skills?
Anyone who works with electrical circuits, electrical wiring, or electronics will need basic electrical knowledge. That includes the principles of electricity, electrical hazards and regulations, and how electrical components work.
You'll also need basic electrical skills like safe work practices, troubleshooting abilities, diagram/blueprint reading, and more.
The specific skills you need depend on your role and specialty. The skills needed to be a maintenance electrician for residential buildings are similar to but different from the skills needed to be an outside lineman.
Who Needs Electrical Skills?
There are many jobs in electrical work, with varying education and experience requirements.
An electrician is a common example. Electricians install, repair, and maintain electrical systems or components in the field.
This definition covers a lot of ground. Electricians range from outside linemen, who work on power lines and other parts of the distribution system, to residential wiremen, who handle the wiring for homes and apartment buildings. There are also specialists for commercial and public buildings, known as inside wiremen and installer technicians.
Electrical technicians look at things from another angle.
While electricians deal with facilities and infrastructure, electrical technicians deal with devices and equipment. Like electricians, this can cover a lot of roles, from design and testing to maintenance and repair. In a design role, technicians may work under electrical engineers. Since devices or equipment are often portable, there's usually less fieldwork than electricians.
What Is Electrical Training?
The first step to becoming an electrician is career research. In other words, you need to find out how to learn electrical work and what electrical certifications or courses you might need.
Electricians' knowledge comes from a combination of technical courses and apprenticeships. It's traditionally hands-on learning, but electrical training requires mastering key physics concepts. That means electrician classes are inevitable.
Electricians don't require electrical certification courses, per se. There are licensing requirements. Once electrical training classes are complete, you take an apprenticeship to gain supervised electrical experience. At the end of the apprenticeship, you apply for a license so you can become a journeyman and work independently. Most states require you to pass a qualifying exam on electric theory, as well as the regulations and codes you'll have to follow as an electrician.
Electrical technicians often require a combination of electrical certificate courses and informal on-the-job training. It's a less hands-on process, and you'll often learn a narrower range of electrical skills than electricians. Jobs may train you only on the products and tasks you'll be handling. There are no licensing requirements for electrical technicians.
Can I Get Electrical Training Online?
360training offers online electrical training classes that can be extremely helpful if you need a foundation or a refresher on electrical concepts and electric theory. You can get our entire electrical training series to get courses on common concepts, components, and competencies. Take the courses you need and skip the ones you don't. We also offer individual courses a la carte.
Electrical Series Package
Covers motors, motor control, VFDs, circuit protection, transformers, and more.
The Industrial Facilities Electrical Series package consists of 16 half-hour courses that make up a complete training solution for the following topics: Motor and Motor Control Variable Frequency Drives Circuit Protection Transformers ...
Since the courses are online, there's no commuting to a classroom. You can study from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace. You also have access to the courses for a year, so you can go back to any areas that give you trouble.
360training can also help with your OSHA/NFPA training needs – more on this below.
What is the OSHA Standard For Electrical Panels?
OSHA lays out the safe design of electrical systems – including requirements for electrical panels – in 29 CFR 1910, Subpart S. Specifically, it's addressed in Parts 1910.302 through 1910.308.
This OSHA electrical standard is there to protect people from faulty wiring in the workplace that could cause shocks, short-circuits, and electrical fires. This standard minimizes the number of workers exposed to electrical hazards.
Where Are OSHA's Electrical Safety Standards?
OSHA has a few standards that addresses the safety precautions for those who perform electrical work or may be exposed to electrical hazards.
Safe work practices are spread over several standards, depending on industry:
- General Industry electrical work (§1910.331-335)
- Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution (§1910.269)
- Construction (§1926, Subpart K)
- Shipyards (§1915.181)
The standards for electrical protective equipment are outlined in §1910.137.
What Are OSHA's Electrical Standards Based On?
OSHA's electrical standards are based on NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 70 and 70E.
NFPA 70 is also known as the National Electric Code (NEC), which sets electricity installation standards. OSHA uses these in their standard for the safe design of electrical systems.
NFPA 70E recommends safe work practices for electrical workers and those that might be exposed to electrical hazards.
NFPA 70E (2021): Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace
Duration Hours: 4
2021 standards on reducing the risks associated with electricity at your jobsite.
Electrical power is an essential element at home and work. It can be a dangerous force if not managed properly and should be dealt with in a safe manner while conducting workplace operations. As an employee or an employer, it is important that you understand the importance of electrical safety. National Fire Protection Association – NFPA 70E covers standards for electrical safety in the workplace. Throughout this course, you will review the relationship between the Occupational Safety...
Does OSHA Require Electrical Safety Training?
According to §1910.332, "employees who face a risk of electric shock that is not reduced to a safe level by the electrical installation requirements of 1910.303 through 1910.308" need training.
This requirement is often satisfied by providing NFPA 70E training. The amount of training required varies based on a worker's duties and whether they must be "qualified" (an electrical worker) or "unqualified" (another potentially exposed worker).
360training offers a few online courses that may help, depending on your needs. Our NFPA 70E courses are fairly in-depth for those who need to understand work practices and maintenance requirements. For those who require less detail, we have a few OSHA courses that include 70E material, addressed to General Industry and Construction. Enroll now!