Oregon OSHA Likely to Adopt New Rule For Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Use

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Bureau of National Affairs

Summary Statement

An announcement that Oregon will likely adopt a new rule regarding ground fault circuit interrupters that will increase safety.
Nov. 8, 2001

Reproduced with permission from Occupational Safety & Health reporter, Vol. 31, No. 44, pp. 1026-1027 (Nov. 8, 2001). Copyright 2001 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)

PORTLAND, Ore.--The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division is likely to adopt later this month a new rule to protect construction workers from accidents when working with electrical equipment and tools.

Specifically, the state will require by 2003 that ground fault circuit interrupters be used on all 125 volt 15, 20, and 30 amp receptacles on construction sites that are used by employees to power electrical equipment and tools. The inexpensive devices shut off power when the flow of current to the ground lessens, said Mike Mitchell, an occupational safety specialist in the division.

The division held a number of hearings on the proposed rule and the comment period closed Oct. 30, he said. Contractors and other groups testified at the hearings, but no objections have been forthcoming to the final rule, he said.

The division is likely to adopt the rule later this month.

The new rule will replace a 20-year old rule that allowed for either an assured equipment grounding conductor test program or the use of such ground fault interrupters, Mitchell said. Federal OSHA still allows a testing program in place of ground fault interrupters, he said.

The ground fault interrupters can be used anywhere in the electrical system, Mitchell said. Eventually, contractors will find that using the devices will take less time than had been spent on operating an equipment grounding conductor testing program, he said.

The text of the proposed changes to the Oregon construction standard available on the World Wide Web, http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/osha/pdf/ltrntcgfci2nd.pdf.