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- Introduction -
The Electrical Safety Handbook presents the Department of Energy (DOE) safety standards for DOE field offices or facilities involved in the use of electrical energy. It has been prepared to provide a uniform set of electrical safety guidance and information for DOE installations to effect a reduction or elimination of risks associated with the use of electrical energy. The objectives of this handbook are to enhance electrical safety awareness and mitigate electrical hazards to employees, the public, and the environment.
This handbook provides general information to enhance understanding of DOE Orders, national
codes, national standards, and local, state, and federal regulations. This handbook shall not
supersede more stringent requirements in those applicable codes, standards, and regulations.
Each entity should reference its contract documents and determine what legal requirements are
to be followed in the area of electrical safety. These requirements may vary from location to
location. In this document, "shall" refers to requirements from regulatory standards such as
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements and relevant DOE Orders
that may or may not apply to your specific location. "Should " refers to guidance from consensus
standards such as the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70), National Electrical Safety Code
(NESC, ANSI C2), and Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (NFPA 70E) which may
or may not apply to your specific location (depending upon your contractual requirements). No
section or portion of this document is intended to stand alone. Each section or portion interacts
with others that are appropriate to support referenced material.
The design of new facilities shall conform to relevant DOE Orders and should conform to
industry-recognized engineering design standards. Existing facilities should evaluate their
systems and operations in relation to this handbook, applicable DOE Orders, national codes,
national standards, and local, state, and federal regulations to determine if they comply or if a
safety problem exists. If the evaluation determines that a safety risk exists, corrective actions
should be initiated to bring the systems or operations into compliance with current standards. In
the case of a major renovation of an existing facility, the modification shall comply with current
Existing facilities shall conform to relevant DOE Orders and should comply with the National
Electrical Code (NFPA 70), National Electrical Safety Code (NESC, ANSI C2), and Standard for
Electrical Safety in the Workplace (NFPA 70E). The OSHA standards have specific
requirements that shall apply to all electrical installations and utilization equipment regardless of
when they were designed or installed and identify other mandatory provisions and specify
effective dates. Installations in compliance with the code at the time of design or installation
(code of record), do not need to be upgraded to the updated code unless required to correct a
known hazard or a major modification is being performed unless otherwise directed by OSHA.
This handbook is being provided to identify those DOE Orders, national codes, national
standards, and local, state, and federal regulations that will provide employees with guidance on
requirements pertaining to electrical systems. It is the responsibility of each site to evaluate
compliance with the above requirements.
1.3 AUTHORITY HAVING JURISDICTION (AHJ)
In states and municipalities, an official (electrical inspector, engineer, or equivalent qualified
individual) is usually designated as the electrical Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). The AHJ
should possess such executive ability as is required for performance of the position, and should
have thorough knowledge of standard materials and work practices used in the installation,
operation, construction, and maintenance of electrical equipment. The AHJ should, through
experience or education, be knowledgeable of the requirements contained in the OSHA
standards, the National Electrical Code, the National Electrical Safety Code, DOE requirements,
and other appropriate local, state, and national standards. The AHJ should be responsible to
interpret codes, regulations and standards, and approve equipment, assemblies, or materials. If
the AHJ needs to address items outside his or her electrical expertise, such as fire, confined
space, fall protection, or like issues, the AHJ should consult with cognizant experts before a
decision is reached. The AHJ may permit alternate methods where it is assured that equivalent
objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety equal to or
exceeding established codes, regulations, and standards.
In DOE, levels of authority exist that serve the function of the AHJ. The AHJ may be the
contracting officer, such as an area manager. This person may choose to delegate authority to
an individual or organization within his or her control. It is acceptable for DOE sites to delegate
authority to a committee of subject matter experts. The authority may reside with a safety or
facilities department. The field office manager or designated representative may act as a higher
level of authority. The authority may begin with an electrician and proceed through various
levels of supervision to management (as shown in Fig. 1-1).
NOTE: The titles in Fig. 1-1 will vary from site to site.
DOE contractors should establish lines of authority within their organizations. It is important that a line of authority be established, documented, and recognized. The limits of the authority and recognition of higher authority should be delineated.