SEC-029: Electrical Safety Work Practices

Date: 11/20/2007 Status: Final
Last Revised: 12/03/2013
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Vice President for Research
Applies To: Academic Division and the Medical Center.
Reason for Policy:

The purpose of this policy is to educate all potentially affected University faculty, staff and students to the risks of electrical shock and burn injuries including death as a result of working on electrical equipment or facility electrical systems that are still energized. Following electrical safety work practices for both electrical equipment and facility electrical systems will significantly reduce the likelihood of electrical accidents that can result in fires, injuries and fatalities.

Departments who alter or relocate facility electrical systems can also adversely affect the safety of the facilities or occupants. Facilities Management representatives must assist departments with these requests and facilitate power outages. Their oversight will ensure safety for our University facilities and occupants and ensure that all work complies with the State Building Permit Policy.

Policy Summary:

Faculty, staff and students must follow University safety rules when working on electrical equipment or facility electrical systems.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Electrical Equipment:

    Generally, electrical equipment can be disconnected from its power source with a cord and plug at a receptacle or at a disconnect box. Equipment hardwired, such as but not limited to a breaker panel, is considered part of the facility electrical system and requires shutdown by qualified personnel.

  • Energized Electrical Work Permit:

    The energized electrical work permit is a written description of the electrical work to be done, signatures of qualified personnel designated by the department to take responsibility for the work, the results of the electrical hazard analysis, and documentation of all safety equipment and practices that will be used. Methods to restrict unauthorized personnel from the work area and the job debriefing are also included in the permit.

  • Energized Work:

    Working on or near exposed electric conductors or circuit parts that are or can become energized because electrical power to the working equipment or system has not been shutdown.

  • Facility Electrical System:

    The facilities' electrical service such as breaker panels, switchgears and transformers and electrical distribution including lighting and branch wiring.

  • Justification:

    The process to justify exceptions to shutting down electrical energy sources prior to doing the work. The department designee(s) must document the justification to do the work with equipment or systems still energized. Energized work on facility electrical systems including equipment permanently connected (hard-wired) to the facilities’ electrical systems will require an Energized Electrical Work Permit.

  • Qualified Personnel:

    Qualified personnel must be knowledgeable of the electrical equipment or systems that they work on, the inherent electrical hazards and how to avoid them. OSHA and NFPA 70E (8) hour training, including refresher training, is required for personnel assigned to facility maintenance and service responsibilities related to electrical equipment and facility electrical systems. Training shall include electrical safety work practices and the protective measures necessary to avoid shock and burn injury hazards.

  • Shutdown:

    The action of cutting off electrical power to electrical facility systems or equipment and securing the electrical energy from accidental startup until the work has been completed.

Policy Statement:

University faculty, staff, students and licensed qualified electricians must follow University safety rules when working on: (1) electrical equipment that is not unplugged or disconnected from the power source and the protective enclosures and covers are intentionally bypassed on the equipment to perform the work task; and (2) facility electrical systems. These safety measures include:

  1. Shutdowns:
    The safest manner for performing work on electrical equipment or facility electrical systems to avoid the risks of shock, electrical burns and fires, is to shut down the electrical power from the electrical energy source. Refer to policy SEC-025, Lock-out Tag-out for Equipment during Maintenance and Repair for further guidance. When this action is not feasible the Electrical Safety Work Practices policy is applicable.

  2. General Electrical Equipment Use:
    When departments have electrical equipment which is installed or brought into University-owned facilities, the department should provide oversight for the safe use and condition of this equipment. Departments are responsible for training personnel and students in the proper use and maintenance of the equipment to avoid electrical contact injuries. Oversight and training should incorporate the equipment manufacturer’s operation and maintenance guidelines. Additional guidelines are provided in the Electrical Safety Work Practices Procedures and should be followed whenever protective electrical covers or enclosures are removed from energized equipment.

  3. Coordinating Electrical Alterations, Relocation or Power Outages (Shutdowns):
    Departments are cautioned that alteration, relocation or shutdown of electrical systems can adversely affect the safety of the facility or other occupants. Facilities Management representatives must assist departments with these types of requests. Facilities Management will provide safety oversight for the University facility and occupants to ensure that electrical alteration or relocation work complies with the State Building Permit Policy.

Facilities Management will oversee power outages of electrical services (i.e. breaker panels, switchgears or other) that can affect other occupants in the facility such as but not limited to: patient and research areas or fire safety systems.Power outages are also required for electrical equipment that has permanent electrical connections (hard-wired) to the facility’s electrical system, (i.e. breaker panel). Power outages will not be required for electrical equipment that can be shutdown with a cord and plug or disconnect.

  1. Working on Energized Facility Electrical Systems:
    Due to the dangers of electrical shock, electrical arc burns and fires, working on University facility electrical systems while energized is prohibited unless performed by licensed and qualified electrical technicians. In instances where it is deemed infeasible to shut down electrical sources to the facility electrical systems, the energized work must have justification provided by qualified personnel who will authorize and take responsibility for providing appropriate safety equipment and following safe work practices. Additional guidance is provided in the Electrical Safety Work Practices Procedures.
Procedures:

Electrical Safety Work Practices Procedures. The Energized Electrical Work Permit is part of the procedures.

Related Information:

SEC- 025 Lock Out Tag Out for Equipment during Maintenance and Repair
Facilities Management Directive No.562E Building Permits and Project Permits (http://www.fm.virginia.edu/fpc/links.htm)
OSHA 1910.333 Electrical Safety Work Practices
NFPA 70E (2004 edition) Electrical Safety Work Practices
Virginia Administrative Code 16 VAC 25-60-10; Part III Occupational Safety and Health Standards-Section 120 General Industry Standards – September 21st, 2006

Major Category: Safety, Security and Environmental Quality
Next Scheduled Review: 12/03/2016
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 11/20/2007
Revision History: Updated 12/3/13, 4/12/11.