EWT - Special Conditions and Material Handling

Learning objectives

  • Explain the safe work practices to be used when working with special conditions transmission, lighting, and communication equipment
  • Identify practices needed to keep special conditions work areas safe
  • Describe the safe work practices required for storing materials near energized lines or exposed live parts

Course overview

About 560 people are killed each year by electricity. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that each year, an average of 86 deaths and almost 13,000 injuries happen to electric utility employees.

Electrical violations are consistently among the most commonly cited OSHA infractions. In fact OSHA standard 1910.305, relating to wiring methods, components, and equipment for general use, was the 5th most cited violation in 2013. The 9th most cited violation was 1910.303, relating to electrical systems design. These citations are almost always result from improper installations and lack of maintenance.

That is why it is critical to cover the top 10 safe work practices for electrical and utility workers…


Breathing may be a deadly problem in a confined space. Workers must test the atmosphere before entering a confined or enclosed workspace, which of course is where a lot of electrical work is performed, as wiring and other implements are hidden to protect people working I built environments.

A confined space is any space where a restricted means of entry and exit or a space where natural ventilation through openings allows dangerous gasses or vapors to accumulate. Examples include a manhole or a vault.


Have plenty of light. Workers are not to enter any area of exposed energized parts unless there is enough light to work safely—lack of visibility can kill.


Be alert when working with energized parts. If an employee feels ill, fatigued, or otherwise impaired then the safety professional should send them home to seek medical attention. Affected personnel cannot work safely on energized parts unless they can give full attention to the task at hand.

Conductive Materials

Conductive materials and equipment, such as ducts, pipes, tubes, metal tools, chains, and conductive hoses and ropes, held by an employee must be handled in a way that will keep them from coming in contact with exposed or energized parts.

Insulated Equipment

Workers must use insulated tools and equipment when working with energized or exposed parts, and be sure that the voltage present does not exceed the rated voltage of the tool being used.

Confined Spaces with Exposed Energized Parts

The employer must provide, and the employee must use, protective shields and barriers or insulation to avoid inadvertent contact with these parts.

Housekeeping and Janitorial Duties

Workers are not to perform housekeeping duties near live exposed parts, or use solvents around exposed energized equipment; vapors may conduct across the phases or to ground.

Conductive Apparel

Remind workers to keep conductive apparel away from exposed energized parts. Conductive apparel includes jewelry, watches, bracelets, rings, key chains, necklaces, metalized aprons, cloth with conductive thread and metal headgear. Workers need to wear suitable insulating gloves if conductive rings cannot be removed.


Workers are not to touch interlocks unless they have both the experience and authority to change one. Only a qualified person can or should defeat an electrical safety interlock. This work must be performed in accordance with the preceding safe work practices. Disconnecting interlocks is only allowed temporarily while an employee is working on the equipment; an interlock system must be returned to its operable condition when this work is completed.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Encourage workers to use protective shields or the correct insulating materials. They should take additional precautions when there’s a possibility of contact with exposed energized parts. Protective shields, protective barriers, or insulating materials must be used to protect each employee from shocks, burns, or other electrically related injuries while that employee is working near exposed energized parts.

  • 15 minutes
  • Format: Online Interactive
  • English
Course Outline
  • Introduction
  • Special Conditions: Equipment
  • Special Conditions: Work Areas
  • Materials Handling
  • 29 CFR 1910 Subpart R: Special Industries
  • 29 CFR 1910.269 Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution - 1910.269(k) Materials handling and storage; 1910.269(w) Special conditions
  • 29 CFR 1910 Subpart N: Materials Handling and Storage
  • 29 CFR 1926 Subpart V: Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution
  • 1926.958 Materials handling and storage - 1926.958(a) General; 1926.958(b)) Materials storage near energized lines or equipment
  • 1926.967 Special conditions - 1926.967 subsections (a) through (k)
  • 29 CFR 1926 Subpart N: Helicopters, Hoists, Elevators, and Conveyors
Close Menu