High Voltage Electrical Safety Program
UC Irvine has developed a High Voltage Electrical Safety Program to establish minimum standards to ensure that our employees' health and safety are protected during high voltage electrical work at UC Irvine. UC Irvine is required by California OSHA (Cal/OSHA), as well as other regulatory agencies, to provide protective equipment, training, guidelines, procedures and other protective measures for employees exposed to potential high voltage electrical hazards.
This program applies to all UC Irvine employees, contractors working with UC Irvine employees, vendors, visitors, and temporary employees performing energized electrical work over 600 volts. This includes all maintenance, repair, and diagnostic procedures involving energized electrical equipment.
Authorized Lockout/Tagout Employee - A person who has completed the required hazardous energy control training and is authorized to lockout or tagout a specific machine or equipment to perform service or maintenance. A person must be certified as an Authorized Lockout/Tagout Employee in order to apply a lock or tag to control hazardous energy. All Authorized Lockout/Tagout Employees must be trained in:
Confined space - An enclosed spacewhich has limited egress and access, and has an atmospheric hazard (e.g., explosive atmosphere or asphyxiating hazard) and/or other serious safety hazards (e.g., electrical hazard).
Damp location - Partially protected locations subject to moderate degrees of moisture, such as some basements.
De-energized electrical work - Electrical work that is performed on equipment that has been previously energized and is now free from any electrical connection to a source of potential difference and from electrical charges.
Disconnecting (or Isolating) switch - A device designed to close and/or open an electric circuit.
Dry location - Locations not normally subject to dampness or wetness, as in the case of a building under construction.
Energized electrical work - Repair, maintenance, troubleshooting, or testing on electrical circuits, components, or systems while energized (i.e., live). Only Qualified High Voltage Electrical Workers are permitted to work on energized circuitry of 50 volts/25 amps to ground or greater.
Energy source - Any source of electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other energy.
Exposed electrical parts - Energized parts that can be inadvertently touched or approached nearer than a safe distance by a person. Parts not suitably guarded, isolated, or insulated. Examples include terminal contacts or lugs, and bare wiring.
Ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) - A device whose function is to interrupt the electric circuit to the load when a fault current to ground exceeds a predetermined value that is less than that required to operate the over-current protective device of the supply circuit.
Ground - A conducting connection, whether intentional or accidental, between an electrical circuit or equipment and the earth or to some conducting body that serves in place of the earth.
Hazardous location - An area in which an airborne flammable dust, vapor or gas may be present and would represent a hazard if a source of ignition were present (see National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Class I & II and Division 1 & 2).
High voltage - Circuits with a nominal voltage more than 600 volts.
Interlock - An electrical, mechanical, or key-locked device intended to prevent an undesired sequence of operations.
Isolating switch - A switch intended for isolating an electric circuit from the source of power. It has no interrupting rating, and is intended to operate only after the circuit has been opened by some other means.
Life safety equipment - Equipment that provides critical protection for safety in the event of an emergency or other serious hazard. Life safety equipment, which is electrically energized, should be worked on using Energized Electrical Equipment (EEW) procedures to ensure that the protection provided by the equipment is not lost (e.g., fire alarm and evacuation).
Lockout - The placement of a lock on an energy-isolating device according to procedure, ensuring that the energy isolating device and the equipment being controlled cannot be operated until the lockout device is removed.
Lockout / tagout - A standard that covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected re-energization of the equipment or release of stored energy could cause injury to employees. It establishes performance requirements for the control of such hazardous energy. See UC Irvine's Control of Hazardous Energy and Lockout/Tagout Program .
Low voltage - Circuits with a nominal voltage less than or equal to 600 volts.
Switching devices - Devices designed to close and/or open one or more electric circuits. Included in this category are circuit breakers, cutouts, disconnecting (or isolating) switches, disconnecting means, interrupter switches, and oil (filled) cutouts.
Qualified High Voltage Electrical Worker – A qualified person who by reason of a minimum of two years of electrical training and experience with high voltage circuits and equipment, who has demonstrated by performance familiarity with the work to be performed and the hazards involved, and has successfully completed the following training:
Such training will be provided when the employee is initially assigned to the job and refresher training will be provided every three years (see Section Seven, Training Requirements and Competency Assessment).
Only a Qualified High Voltage Electrical Worker is allowed to work on energized conductors or equipment connected to energized high-voltage systems. With the exception of replacing fuses, operating switches, or other operations that do not require the employee to contact energized high voltage conductors or energized parts of equipment, clearing trouble or emergencies involving hazard to life or property, no such employee shall be assigned to work alone.
Note One: Whether a person is considered to be a “qualified” person will depend upon various circumstances in the workplace. It is possible and, in fact, likely for an individual to be considered “qualified” with regard to certain equipment in the workplace, but “unqualified” as to other equipment.
Note Two: An employee who is undergoing on-the-job training and who, in the course of such training, has demonstrated an ability to perform duties safely at his or her level of training and who is under the direct supervision of a qualified person is considered to be a qualified person for the performance of those duties.
Remote-control circuit - Any electric circuit that controls any other circuit through a relay or an equivalent device.
Service - The conductors and equipment for delivering energy from the electricity supply system to the wiring system of the premises served.
Service equipment - The necessary equipment, usually consisting of a circuit breaker or switch and fuses, and their accessories, located near the entrance of supply conductors to the building and intended to constitute the main control and means of cutoff of the supply.
Setting up - Any work performed to prepare a machine or equipment to perform its normal production operation.
Tagout - The placement of a tagout device on an energy-isolating device according to procedure to indicate that the equipment may not be operated until the tagout device is removed.
Voltage (of a circuit) - The greatest root-mean-square (effective) difference of potential between any two conductors of the circuit concerned.
Voltage, nominal - An approximate value assigned to a circuit or system for the purpose of conveniently designating its voltage class, e.g., 120/240, 480/277, and 600.
Wet location - Installations subject to saturation with water or other liquids.
Supervisors and Facilities Management (FM) Responsibilities
Supervisors and managers of persons performing electrical work must be knowledgeable about the work to be performed and the hazards involved to determine who is qualified to perform the work.
Supervisors and Facilities Management are responsible for:
Environmental, Health, and Safety (EH&S) Responsibilities
EH&S is responsible for:
Qualified Electrical Worker Responsibilities
Qualified High Voltage Electrical Workers who perform energized electrical work on equipment or systems operating at greater than 600 volts must be able to:
Additionally, all Qualified High Voltage Electrical Workers must also have the skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of electrical equipment and to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts . FM and EH&S will work together to determine who is a designated Qualified High Voltage Electrical Worker.
UC Irvine will develop and implement written High Voltage Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) using the Hazard Assessment and Standard Operating Procedures for High Voltage Activities (Appendix A) form. All activities, performed by either a UC Irvine employee or by a High Voltage Electrical contractor, must have a SOP developed, documented, and reviewed by both the employee's supervisor and EH&S.
Qualified employees must assess the tasks to be performed and note whether the work can be performed with the equipment in the de-energized state, as described below. The equipment manual, as well as personnel who are experienced with the equipment, shall be consulted for assistance in making these determinations. When work on equipment must be performed while energized, qualified employees must follow the procedures for energized electrical work as described in this program.
De-Energized Electrical Work
Electrical systems must be worked on in the de-energized state, whenever feasible, following the work practices described in UC Irvine's Control of Hazardous Energy and Lockout/Tagout Program . Energized electrical work should only be performed in situations where utilizing Control of Hazardous Energy practices increases the hazard(s) to the employee and/or equipment or it is not feasible (e.g., performing metering and testing).
High Voltage Work
Energized Electrical Work
Energized electrical work is acceptable for tasks which can only be performed with the equipment energized or when the use of de-energized electrical work procedures presents a greater hazard. Cal/OSHA has defined such work as repair, maintenance, troubleshooting, or testing on electrical circuits, components, or systems while energized (i.e., live). No other activities shall be performed while energized.
Due to the degree of electrical hazards associated with this type of work, the procedures, equipment, and other controls described in this section must be used when performing energized electrical work. UC Irvine energized electrical work practices and procedure shall incorporate all other applicable provisions of Cal/OSHA regulations covering work in confined or enclosed workspaces, work space illumination, alerting techniques, and personal protective equipment requirements.
Qualified High Voltage Electrical Worker
Energized electrical work on systems shall only be performed by a UC Irvine Qualified High Voltage Electrical Worker. UC Irvine is responsible for determining whether an employee is qualified to perform energized electrical work. This qualification shall be made based on completion of applicable training and experience.
Only Qualified High Voltage Electrical Workers shall work on energized conductors or equipment connected to energized high voltage systems. Except for replacing fuses, operating switches, other operations that do not require the employee to contact energized high voltage conductors or energized parts of equipment or clearing trouble or emergencies involving hazard to life or property, no such employee shall be assigned to work alone.
During the time that work is being performed on any exposed conductors or exposed parts of equipment connected to high voltage systems, a Qualified High Voltage Electrical Worker, or an employee in training, must be in close proximity at each work location to:
All Safe Work Practices (Appendix B) must be followed while performing energized electrical work.Tools and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards must be provided with and use personal protective equipment (PPE) that is appropriate for the specific work to be performed. The electrical tools and protective equipment must be specifically approved, rated, and tested for the levels of voltage of which an employee may be exposed.
Electrical Protective Equipment (Appendix C) must be selected to meet the criteria established by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) and by the America National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Insulating equipment made of materials other than rubber shall provide electrical and mechanical protection at least equal to that of rubber equipment.
PPE must be maintained in a safe, reliable condition and be inspected for damage before each day's use and immediately following any incident that can reasonably be suspected of having caused damage.
UC Irvine employees must use insulated tools and handling equipment that are rated for the voltages to be encountered when working near exposed energized conductors or circuit. Tools and handling equipment should be replaced if the insulating capability is decreased due to damage. Protective gloves must be used when employees are working with exposed electrical parts above fifty (50) volts.
Fuse handling equipment (insulated for circuit voltage) must be used to remove or install fuses when the fuse terminals are energized. Ropes and hand lines used near exposed energized parts must be non-conductive.
Protective shields, barriers or insulating materials must be used to protect each employee from shock, burns, or other electrical injuries while that person is working near exposed energized parts that might be accidentally contacted or where dangerous electric heating or arcing might occur.Precautions about Arcing and Flashes
Employees must wear protective equipment for the eyes or face wherever there is a potential danger of electric arcs, flashes or flying objects resulting from electric explosion. This should include polycarbonate safety glasses with side shields and a full-face shield. The following scenarios are examples of situations with the potential for arcs:
Precautions to prevent arcs or flashes include the following:
Clearances and Access Distances for Energized Electrical Work (Appendix D) must comply with Cal/OSHA regulations.
Tools and Probe
Overhead Voltage Lines
Hazardous LocationsWet or Damp Locations
Working on Life Safety Systems
Protection from Life Safety Systems
Energized Electrical Work for Life Safety Systems
De-Energized Electrical Work for Life Safety Systems
Overriding Safety Interlocks
Overriding safety interlocks are often required when performing metering, in emergency situations, or when troubleshooting equipment with the power on (i.e., energized electrical work). The following safe work practices shall be followed:
Equipment Inspection and Calibration
All electrical test equipment must be inspected for damage before use. The equipment must not be used if it is damaged or if its functionality is questionable. Equipment must be handled in a manner that will not damage the equipment. Prior to each use, electrical test equipment, such as voltmeters, must be verified to be functional. This is accomplished by testing the voltmeter on a known voltage to verify correct readings. After metering or testing is completed, the voltmeter should again be tested on a known voltage to verify functionality of the voltmeter.
Electrical test equipment should be calibrated yearly, at a minimum. If there is any doubt as to the equipment's calibration, the equipment should be recalibrated.
UC Irvine shall make all energized electrical work practices and procedures available to all affected employees and to all Cal/OSHA and Department of Labor officials upon request.
All UC Irvine employees involved with work on or around energized, or potentially energized electrical circuitry of fifty (50) v olts to ground or greater, shall be trained in energized electrical safe work practices and procedures every three years. All UC Irvine employees fall into this category and receive this training every three years.
Qualified High Voltage Electrical Worker
UC Irvine employees must receive training in avoiding the electrical hazards associated with working on or near exposed energized parts prior to performing energized electrical work. Such training will be provided when the employee is initially assigned to the job and refresher training will be provided every three years or when conditions change.
The following items are to be included in the training of Qualified High Voltage Electrical Workers:
Qualified High Voltage Electrical Workers must be also be trained in recognizing signs and symptoms of electric shock, heart fibrillation, electric burns, and proper first aid protocols for these conditions. They must have the following training:
Only Qualified High Voltage Electrical Workers are permitted to perform energized electrical work on equipment or systems operating at greater than 600 volts. Such employees are qualified persons, who by reason of a minimum of two years of training and experience with high-voltage circuits and equipment, have demonstrated by performance familiarity with the work to be performed and the hazards involved.
In case of an emergency, UC Irvine employees must contact their supervisor and dial 911 from an internal or external telephone.
Documentation of Training and Experience
Documentation of the three (3) types of training as described in the table above will occur through the UC Irvine Learning Management Systems (LMS). Experience received by Qualified High Voltage Electrical Workers must be maintained for all personnel as covered by this program. Documentation is necessary to demonstrate that individuals have met the training and experience requirements for the types of work being performed.
Qualified High Voltage Electrical Workers who have obtained the required
two years of experience and training must demonstrate their knowledge
before becoming authorized to perform energized electrical work on high
voltage circuits. This process involves “certification” of the individual
by another Qualified High Voltage Electrical Worker based upon observation
of their safe work practices, knowledge level and familiarity with the
tools and equipment for performing energized electrical work on high
voltage systems, and documentation of the required two years of training
Initiator: Sandra Huang Conrrad