Assured Equipment Grounding Conductor Program

The occupational safety and health act (OSHA) gives construction site employers two options for protecting workers from electrical shock while using portable tools and extension cords. In the absences of approved ground fault circuits interruption (GFCI ) systems employers must implement an assured equipment grounding program. Keep in mind that this is a minimum requirement and in this authors humble opinion the assured grounding equipment conductor programs should be implemented regardless of GFCI presence.

The information here is not intended to be a complete instruction for protecting employees from accidental shock or electrocution. Please refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) 1926.404 - Wiring Design and Protection for the entire text.

Essentially the program requires periodic testing and record keeping of the equipment grounding conductor of portable equipment and extension cords. Inspections should be made by a competent person before the equipment first use, following repairs and at least every three months. Workers should be trained to verify that inspections are current and to make their own inspections for damaged insulation, missing or broken grounding pins or other signs of damage.

The program requires records to be kept that identify the equipment and the date of the last inspection. A widely used method is color coding the equipment to indicate the time period for which the successful test was completed. Most contractors use colored vinyl electrical tape on either or both end of the cord to identify the time period. It is also acceptable to keep a written log with the identity of the equipment and the test date.