Oregon OSHA Construction Depot Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

March 20, 2017

Construction Q&A:

How does Oregon OSHA's electrical safety-related work practices rule [1926.416] apply to photovoltaics construction projects?

Question:

Oregon OSHA's electrical safety-related work practices rule [1926.416] says that an employee must not work near any part of an electric power circuit unless the circuit is de-energized and grounded or guarded effectively by insulation or other means. How does this rule apply to photovoltaics construction projects, where the modules and connections are energized whenever they are exposed to light?

Answer:

If the photovoltaic project is for a system connected to the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution system (the grid), the work would fall under the requirements of Oregon OSHA's Division 2, Subdivision RR rules (Electrical Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution). Those doing the work must be qualified electrical workers, must meet the rules' requirements, and must know how to isolate energized or potentially energized parts.

If the photovoltaic project is not connected to the grid, then the work would fall under the requirements of Oregon OSHA's electrical safety-related work practices rule: 1926.416(a)(1) (Division 3, Subdivision K).