Appendix R. Subcontractors and Vendors: What You Need to Know About Performing Electrical Work and Lockout/Tagout at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

I. Introduction

At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), safety is our top priority. We comply with numerous federal, state, and industry consensus standards. When you work here, you are required to adhere to all of these standards. In order to help you to work safely and efficiently, we have put together this guide to electrical safety requirements at LBNL. This guide is intended to help you understand the most significant electrical safety and lockout/tagout (LOTO) required practices at LBNL. This guide is NOT intended to include ALL legal, code, and other requirements (see Section II, Regulations). LBNL has many resources available to you to help you work safely and in compliance with the rules. If you need assistance understanding or implementing any safety practices, please contact your LBNL point-of-contact, such as the construction manager, and he or she will arrange for the appropriate people to assist you.

This is ONLY a guide and does not train, nor does it authorize you to perform electrical work at LBNL. For further detail on LBNL requirements for electrical work and LOTO, see LBNL PUB-3000 Chapter 8 (Electrical Safety) and 18 (Lockout/Tagout and Verification).

Subcontractor employers need to ensure their employees comply with all regulations when their work is covered by a federal or state code or standard. All electrical wiring and equipment installations must comply with the National Electrical Code®, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, and other consensus industry standards for electrical safety and engineering.

II. Regulations

The following regulations apply to electrical work and LOTO at LBNL. Where there is a conflict between regulations, the more stringent regulation shall apply:

III. Glossary

When performing work at LBNL, subcontractor employees need to be familiar with the following terms:

arc flash hazard analysisstudy investigating a worker’s potential exposure to arc flash energy, conducted for the purpose of injury prevention and the determination of safe work practices, Arc Flash Protective Boundary, and the appropriate levels of PPE.

Arc Flash Protection Boundary: When an arc flash hazard exists, an approach limit at a distance from a prospective arc source within which a person could receive a second-degree burn if an electrical arc flash were to occur. . Arc flash protective PPE is required for any person who is within the Arc Flash Protection Boundary. A permit is required before a subcontractor employee may enter the Arc Flash Protection Boundary.

de-energized: Free from any electrical connection to a source of potential difference and from electrical charge.

electrically hazardous: A dangerous condition such that contact or equipment failure can result in electric shock, arc flash burn, thermal burn, or blast.

electrically safe: A state in which an electrical conductor or circuit part has been disconnected from energized parts, locked/tagged in accordance with LBNL requirements, tested to ensure the absence of voltage, and grounded if determined necessary.

energized: Electrically connected to, or is, a source of voltage.

Limited Approach Boundary: An approach limit at a distance from an exposed energized electrical conductor or circuit part within which a shock hazard exists. This distance is 42 inches from energized electrical parts with voltages ranging from 50 to 750 volts. Unqualified persons may not enter this area unless escorted by a qualified worker. A permit is required before a subcontractor employee may enter the Limited Approach Boundary (see Section IV (Safe Work Practices), Subsection 1 (Electrical Safety Program) of this appendix).

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RAB imagequalified worker: A qualified electrical worker is one who has the skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations, and has received safety training to recognize and avoid the hazards involved.

Restricted Approach Boundary: The distance (varies by voltage; see NFPA 70E, Table 130.2(C)) from an exposed energized electrical conductor or circuit within which shock protection PPE is always required. Unqualified person(s) may NEVER cross the restricted approach boundary. A permit is required before a subcontractor employee works within the Restricted Approach Boundary.

shock hazard analysis: A method of determining the hazards associated with the possible release of energy caused by contact or approach to energized electrical conductors or circuit parts, and controls to protect qualified workers from electrical shock by defining the boundaries, voltages, and the required PPE.

IV. Safe Work Practices

Following are some of the more important safe work practices enforced at LBNL. These practices were developed to minimize the chance of an electrical injury, and to comply with applicable OSHA and other standards:

  1. Electrical Safety Program: Every subcontractor performing electrical work at LBNL must submit a written electrical safety program to his or her point-of-contact. Your point-of-contact will forward your program to the appropriate reviewer for approval. Permits for work within the Limited Approach Boundary, Restricted Approach Boundary, or Arc Flash Protection Boundary (including LOTO testing/verification) WILL NOT BE ISSUED until the subcontractor employer has an approved electrical safety program. For an example of the elements of an electrical safety program, see Annex E of NFPA 70E.
  2. Training Requirements: Subcontractor employees must be trained to identify and understand the relationship between electrical hazards and possible injury. Training must be appropriate to the technical requirements of the work assignment as well as all applicable safety-related work practices. Each electrician must be a licensed journeyman in the state of California, and must be prepared to display their journeyman card if asked. Electrical apprentices may work at LBNL, but they must be registered with the State of California apprenticeship program, and under the direct supervision of a journeyman at all times. Only one apprentice per journeyman is permitted.
  3. Two-person rule. If the work involves potential exposure to more than 250 volts, then support from a second QUALIFIED WORKER is required (see PUB-3000, Chapter 8, for exemptions to the two-person rule). The second qualified worker must be able to de-energize the equipment, know the location of the nearest telephone and how to alert emergency personnel, be able to free an injured worker from the hazard, be trained in first aid and CPR, and remain in constant visual and audible contact with the workers performing the work.
  4. Establishing an Electrically Safe Work Condition. Work will only be permitted to be performed on or near exposed energized electrical circuits or components when it can be demonstrated that de-energizing introduces additional or increased hazards, or is infeasible due to equipment design or operational limitations. When this is the case, an Energized Electrical Work Permit (EEWP) will be issued. In all other cases, the work will be done under LOTO with an approved LOTO permit.
  5. Permits. No subcontractor employee shall apply a lock or tag to any circuit or equipment, test/troubleshoot, or be within the LIMITED APPROACH BOUNDARY of an energized electrical conductor (minimum 42 inches from an energized electrical part with a voltage greater than 50V) without first obtaining an approved LOTO permit or an EEWP as necessary.
  6. LOTO Permits. LOTO is performed to prevent a worker from being injured by the accidental release of energy. LOTO applies to all energy sources including mechanical, thermal, pressure, chemical, and rotational, not just electrical. Equipment must be de-energized and isolated from all hazardous energy sources before work begins. ALL workers who are working on that equipment are required to have control over the energy with a personal lock and tag. EACH LOTO OF EQUIPMENT, utilities, systems, etc., REQUIRES A LOTO PERMIT. This is true when the subcontractor is working independently, and when LBNL employees are assisting with the LOTO. You can obtain a LOTO permit online at Do not work on de-energized equipment without a LOTO permit.
  7. Performing LOTO
  8. Energized Electrical Work Permits. All conductors are assumed to be energized until they have been de-energized, tested, locked, and tagged. Subcontractor employees are not permitted to be within the Limited Approach Boundary of uninsulated energized electrical parts without an EEWP. This includes testing, troubleshooting, inspecting, and nonelectrical work within the Limited Approach Boundary.
  9. Performing Energized Electrical Work. Specific methods and PPE will be specified in your permit. Following are some of the practices that apply to most energized work:
  10. Contacts.
    1. LBNL Electrical Safety:
      1. Keith Gershon, 510-486-4694
      2. Katherine Johnson, 510-486-4933


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