Working with electricity can be extremely hazardous if proper safety precautions and standards are not followed. Fortunately, there are numerous organizations that develop codes, regulations, and guidelines for electrical safety. This article provides an introduction to some of the major players involved in establishing and enforcing electrical safety best practices.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency under the United States Department of Labor that oversees workplace safety regulations across the country. When it comes to electrical safety, OSHA has standards for aspects such as:

  • Electrical safety training requirements – OSHA mandates electrical safety training for all workers who may be exposed to electrical hazards. This includes training on hazard awareness, safe work practices, PPE usage, etc.
  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – Regulations detail the types of PPE (like insulated gloves, face shields, arc-rated clothing) required for those working on or near live electrical equipment.
  • Hazard communication – Workplaces must warn employees about electrical hazards and maintain safety signage/labels on electrical equipment.
  • Medical services and first aid – Employers must provide medical personnel and emergency provisions for treating electrical shock victims.

OSHA’s electrical safety standards aim to minimize workplace accidents and fatalities from electrical hazards. Enforcement involves inspections, citations, and fines for non-compliance. Here’s a complete guide on OSHA for electricians.


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is an international nonprofit organization that develops consensus codes and standards focused on fire, electrical, and other hazard safety. The NFPA’s standards are widely utilized by regulators and industry for safe electrical installation and use.

The most comprehensive NFPA standard pertaining to electrical safety is NFPA 70E – Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. This provides detailed guidance on:

  • Establishing an electrical safety program
  • Risk assessments for shock, arc flash, and arc blast
  • Selection of proper PPE for working on energized equipment
  • Requirements for lockout/tagout procedures
  • Maintenance of electrical equipment

Compliance with NFPA 70E is not legally required by federal OSHA, but it is commonly accepted as an industry best practice standard.


The National Electrical Code (NEC) published by the NFPA provides the legal installation requirements for electrical wiring and equipment in the United States. It is adopted across most states and municipalities.

The NEC covers factors like:

  • Wiring and protection techniques
  • Grounding methods
  • Proper wire sizing
  • Minimum safety requirements for electrical components
  • Mandated use of safety devices like GFCIs and AFCIs

Compliance with the latest NEC edition is critical for ensuring safe electrical installations that minimize fire and shock hazards.


The InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA) writes standards focused on electrical maintenance and acceptance testing procedures. These are often referenced for existing building infrastructure to ensure continued safe operation and reliability.

NETA standards cover aspects like:

  • Testing techniques for medium- and low-voltage equipment
  • Recommended maintenance intervals
  • Methods for assessing insulation conditions
  • Guidance for repair or replacement decisions

Utilizing NETA standards allows building owners, facilities managers, and maintenance teams to keep electrical systems optimally safe.


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a large international professional organization that publishes a range of technical standards and recommended practices. For electrical safety, the IEEE has standards covering topics like:

  • Safe work practices for electric power systems
  • Recommended electrical safety training content
  • Guidance for arc flash hazard analysis
  • Methods for calculating short-circuit currents
  • Strategies to reduce electrical hazards for utilities workers

These IEEE standards are frequently referenced by electrical engineers, contractors, and safety managers when developing electrical safety programs.


The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) advocates for the interests of electrical contractors and electricians across the U.S. NECA contributes to electrical safety by providing extensive education, training, and professional development opportunities.

Programs offered by NECA include:

  • Electrical project management training
  • Continuing education for maintaining licenses
  • Safety topics like lockout/tagout, fall protection, and asbestos awareness
  • Information on changes to codes and standards

By promoting competent electrical workforce training, NECA helps improve adherence to safety best practices in the field.


The International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) supports building safety by overseeing the professional development of electrical inspectors. The IAEI offers certifications, training programs, standards, and resources for properly inspecting electrical installations.

Certifications for electrical inspectors cover topics like the NEC code, as well as key safety aspects such as:

  • Grounding and bonding
  • Overcurrent protection
  • Boxes and enclosures
  • Associated hazards

Thorough inspection by certified professionals ensures electrical safety for communities.


Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent, global safety consulting and certification company. UL sets safety standards and certifies that electrical products and components meet those standards.

UL’s testing and certification marks demonstrate compliance with their safety standards for things like:

  • Wiring, cables, and connectors
  • Circuit breakers and fuses
  • Power strips and surge protectors
  • Appliances, tools, and electronics

The widespread presence of the UL mark provides assurance of baseline safety for electrical devices.


Ensuring electrical safety requires the combined efforts of regulators, standards organizations, industry groups, and professionals. The organizations covered in this article develop the codes, standards, training programs, and testing protocols that reduce electrical hazards. While no framework can completely eliminate risk, following the latest safety best practices from these groups provides critical protection for workers, property, and the public. Ongoing vigilance and adherence to safety standards is key to continued improvement.