CfA Safety: Electrical Standards


To promote the safe selection and use of electrical equipment and the development of safe work practices; to comply with all applicable governmental and industrial regulations pertaining to electrical safety.


Electrical safety standards have been developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). and the National Electrical Code (NEC). all electrical equipment should be approved by Underwriters' Laboratories Inc.(ULI) or the Canada Standards Association Testing Laboratories.


  • All electrical equipment, fixtures, and wiring systems, including grounding connections, overcurrent protective devices, and other components, shall be installed, maintained, and used in accordance with the NEC and the NFPA and Subpart S of 29CFR Part 1910. When conflicts between standards exist, the more stringent standards shall be followed.
    • Plaster surfaces that are broken or incomplete must be repaired so there are no gaps or open spaces at the edge of the box fitting.
    • Each outlet box must have a cover, face plate, or fixture canopy.
    • Water, oil, chips and excessive dust around electrical equipment and machinery must be removed to prevent deterioration of conductors and equipment.
    • A minimum 36-inch clear space shall be provided and maintained around all electrical equipment and electrical panels to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance.
    • Grounding of cord-and-plug-connected equipment must be by metal enclosure, grounding conductor, or separate flexible wire or strap.
    • All electrical panel boards, boxed, cabinets, and switch enclosures must be covered or isolated to prevent accidental contact with live parts, and to protect electrical switches, relays, and wiring from contamination.
    • All cable, conduit, and raceway connections, joints, and fittings must be tight to assure proper grounding. all enclosures and conduits must be free from rust and corrosion.

  • Extension cords will be used only on a temporary basis when direct wiring is not reasonable. They shall NOT be used:
    • As a substitute for fixed wiring
    • Through a hole in a wall, ceiling, or floor
    • Through a doorway, window, or similar opening
    • Where attached to a building surface
    • Where concealed behind a building wall, ceiling, or floor
    • In tandem
    • With splices or taped repairs
    • Where they create a tripping hazard
    • Where the power demand on the extension "outlet strip" exceeds its maximum rating

  • Extension cords shall:
    • Not have a wire size smaller than No. 14
    • Be of the grounded type regardless of the intended use
    • Be UL listed.

  • All extension cords with multiple outlets should be protected by an internal fuse or circuit breaker.
  • All "outlet strips" should be mounted when possible.
  • Fixtures on lighting equipment (i.e., lampshades) shall be constructed of non-combustible or flameproof materials.
  • Custom designed electrical apparatus should be inspected by a competent electrician before being placed in service.
  • When faulty electrical wiring (e.g., short circuit, overheating, insulation failure, and exposed conductors) is detected, the current must be turned off until the fault has been corrected by authorized maintenance personnel.
  • Electrical fuses must not be bypassed or replaced with hazardous substitutes or with fuses having a higher amperage capacity rating.
  • Telephone wires must not be used for lighting or power circuits.
  • Portable transformers must be de-energized when not in use.
  • Electrical wiring must be fastened securely to walls or ceilings by approved methods.
  • Portable electric tools shall be grounded or labeled as "double insulated". Portable power tools with defective cords or insulation must be removed from service.
  • Electrical wiring must not be looped, fastened, or placed within 12 inches of stovepipes.
  • Fixtures:
    • Lamp fixtures must not be suspended from electrical connections
    • Fluorescent light fixtures having exposed ballasts or transformers must not be installed in contact with combustible material unless the fixtures are specifically designed for such installation
    • Electrical wiring and fixtures must be of an approved explosion-proof or dust-proof type (as required by regulations or NFPA 70) when installed or used in places where dangerous concentrations of explosive vapors, gases, or dusts may be present

  • Electric portable heaters and cooking appliances must be approved in writing by the building superintendent. Approval of use is based on conformance to the following requirements:
    • The appliance is placed on a non combustible surface
    • For cooking appliances, a clearance of at least 18 inches from combustibles is maintained in all directions
    • A clearance of 3 feet from combustibles is maintained around space heaters
    • Appliance and power cord are both UL listed for proper use
    • Broilers, portable water heaters (such as coffee makers), percolators, electric heaters, hot plates, and similar heat producing equipment shall be UL listed
    • Appliance has a visual (lamped) signal indicating that the power is turned on
    • Coffee makers and hot plates shall be unplugged after use
    • Coffee makers and hot plates shall not be placed in rooms that may be locked and cannot be easily checked by a security officer patrolling the area
    • Existing electrical circuits are capable of handling electrical warming/cooking devices
    • Combustibles shall be kept a minimum of 18 inches from boilers, dryers, Bunsen burners, ovens, portable unit heaters, and gas or oil burner flames, furnaces, hot ducts, mufflers for engines, electric lamps, and irons.


The Building Superintendent (60 Garden St.) or building operations office (160 Concord Ave., CDP) should be contacted to design or review the following aspects or electrical safety:

  • General requirements
  • Wiring, design and protection
  • Wiring methods, components and equipment
  • Specific purpose equipment and installations
  • Hazardous locations and special systems

The CfA Safety Office is available to review equipment and work practices, to evaluate electrical safety programs, and ensure compliance with all applicable regulations and prudent safety practices: 5-7478.


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