OSHA Standard – Electric Shock First Aid Requirements
With the new year came a more comprehensive standard issued by OSHA to cover “Work Hazards and Safety Practices in the Electric Power Industry” (29 CFR 1910.269) was released to help provide more specific guidance for employers and employees regarding safe work practices with workers engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power.
Of primary importance is emphasis of work teams of at least two employees, as one must be available to provide CPR in the case of cardiac arrest of ventricular fibrillation.
The “269″ standard requires employers to comply with the medical services and first aid provisions in 1910.151, which requires that:
- Someone in the workplace is trained in first aid if no medical facilities exist in near proximity.
- First aid supplies are readily available.
- Quick-drenching or flushing facilities are provided for immediate emergency use where the eyes or body of a person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials.
In addition, 1910.269(b)(2) requires that field crews have first aid kits placed in weatherproof containers if the contents of the kits could be exposed to the weather.
Inspection and availability of first aid kits. First aid kits in vehicles or at company facilities must be placed in locations where they will be readily available when needed. 1910.151, Appendix A provides guidance on first aid kit contents and how to assess the needs of the work place, including exposure to Blood Borne Pathogens. Additionally, the contents of first aid kits must be inspected at least annually to ensure that the items are useable and all required items are present in the kits (1910.269(b)(3)).
While the standard does not specifically cover documenting the results of first aid kit inspections, some companies have initiated inspection documentation procedures in which staff inspect the contents of first aid kits at regular intervals and enter the inspection date and the inspector’s initials on an inspection tag inside the kit.
Risk manager should take the time to review which employees have not had CPR training, or if their first aid kits are lacking any supplies given the possiblity they may have been used in the past. Check these things now rather than find out one of your teams was not prepared when an accident occurred. Remember the 4-minute Requirement, which states that first aid supplies or a worker trained in first aid must not be more than 4 minutes away from a shock victim’s location or all workers must be trained. This happens in the case of large facilities, or when workteams are frequently out in the field.
Review the standard and determine what action you need to take to be prepared for an incident, should it occur.