Because We Care

The History of Electrical Safety

Worker protection against arc flash incidents has a personal history all its own.

By Mark Franks, Avo Training Institute

In 1989, OSHA promulgated a much-needed regulation in the General Industry Regulations; 29 CFR 1910.147, the control of hazardous energy, or lockout/tagout (LOTO). Analysis at the time indicated that more than 14,000 injury incidents were occurring annually in industry as a result of “accidental activation.” This regulation was nicknamed the “machine lockout standard,” because the regulations didn't have specific provisions for the control of electrical energy for electrical work on utilization installations.

Furthermore, the regulation excluded electrical work on power generation, transmission, and distribution installations in utilities. This is typical of utility companies in the United States. There was an immediate response by industry to establish the Energy Control Program as required by the regulation. Equipment assessments, specific machine procedures, training for personnel, and LOTO supplies were some of the action items necessary to meet the comprehensive compliance requirements put into effect by the regulation.

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