TITLE 8: Chapter 4, Subchapter 5, Article 3,
Sections 2320.1 and 2320.4 of the Low Voltage Safety Orders
Working in Proximity to Energized/De-Energized Equipment or Systems


Board staff has identified a need to amend Section 2320.1 of the LVESO to eliminate vague and ambiguous terminology in subsection (b) which uses the expression "...suitably guarded against...".

A second problem exists with respect to Section 2320.4. Board staff notes this section contains requirements for the control of hazardous electrical energy via requirements for notification of personnel, lockout/tagout, power disconnection, and blackout/energy dissipation. The requirements complement those contained in Section 3314 of the General Industry Safety Orders (GISO) which apply to equipment/machinery powered by various types of energy sources including electrical energy. Despite this relationship between Section 3314 and Section 2320.4, Section 2320.4 contains nothing to clearly indicate to the employer that the two sections relate to each other in terms of their requirements, and that these sections must be viewed in total in order to effectively protect employees from the hazards of contact with energized equipment and systems. Without the proposed amendments to Section 2320.4, this regulation appears inconsistent and confusing to the employer who may be unaware that Section 3314 also pertains to equipment/machinery which is electrically powered. To correct these consistency and clarity problems, Board staff proposes amendments to Sections 2320.1 and 2320.4, which includes an informative "Note" referring the employer to Section 3314 of the GISO, deletion of the ambiguous terms "suitable" and "suitably guarded", and including a reference to Section 3314 with regard to tagout specifications and procedures.

The proposed revisions, while not constituting a new or added regulatory effect upon the employer, will make it clear to the employer, which employees are allowed to work on energized conductors and what must be done to provide the necessary safeguards against electric shock. The proposed revisions are as follows:

Section 2320.1 General
This section consists of subsections (a) and (b) which establish that only qualified persons are permitted to work on electrical equipment or systems. Subsection (b) specifies that only qualified persons can work in proximity to energized overhead conductors unless accidental contact has been suitably guarded against. Revisions are proposed to delete the phrase "suitably guarded against". Furthermore, the proposal will specify that qualified persons will be permitted to work in proximity to overhead conductors, provided means to prevent accidental contact have been taken in accordance with Articles 3 and 4 of the LVESO.

The proposed revisions are necessary to clearly indicate what means must be taken to prevent accidental contact with energized systems/equipment, including overhead conductors.

Section 2320.4 De-Energized Equipment or Systems
Subsection (a) consists of four subparagraphs which contain regulations addressing the designation of an authorized person to be responsible for the requirements; notification of personnel; lockout procedures except for when tagging procedures are used and where the disconnection means is accessible to the person performing the tagout; accident prevention tag specifications; and use of effective lockout/energy dissipation procedures.

A revision is proposed to add a clarifying, informative "Note" after Section 2320.4(a)(2), which informs the employee that he/she should refer to Section 3314 of the General Industry Safety Orders for additional lockout requirements pertaining to the cleaning, repairing, servicing and adjusting of prime movers, machinery and equipment. Further revisions are proposed to delete the ambiguous adjective "suitable" in Exception No. 1, and add a reference to the tagging procedures discussed in subsection (a)(3) to GISO Section 3314(c) (tagout specifications).

The proposed revisions are necessary to clarify to the employee that the requirements contained in Section 3314 also addresses lockout of equipment, machinery, etc., which use electrical energy as a power source. The employee will need to refer to the GISO and Section 3314 to ensure that he/she complies with all of the applicable Title 8 requirements for the control of hazardous energy (i.e., lockout and tagout) when working in proximity to de-energized equipment/systems. The proposed revisions are also necessary to ensure that by complying with all the applicable Title 8 requirements for lockout, tagout, etc., the employee will not be exposed to electric shock or electrocution.


It is anticipated that no adverse impact on small business will occur as a result of the implementation of the proposed amendments, because it merely consists of technical, clarifying revisions to existing regulations and do not impose any new or added requirements upon the regulated public. Therefore, no alternatives which would lessen the impact on small businesses have been identified. The central issue addressed by the proposed revisions is to clearly indicate to the regulated public the applicability related to GISO lockout/tagout, etc., regulations to Section 2320.4 and to eliminate vague and ambiguous language.


This proposal will not mandate the use of specific technology or equipment.


Costs or Savings to State Agencies
No costs or savings to state agencies will result as a consequence of the action. This is because the proposal imposes no new or added requirements and merely consists of technical clarifying revisions of existing regulations. Since Section 3314 of the GISO already applies to the operations addressed by Section 2320.4 to the extent that lockout, tagout procedures are concerned, Board staff does not identify an added or new effort upon the employers existing regulatory responsibility.

Impact on Housing Costs
This proposal will not significantly affect housing costs.

Impact on Businesses
This proposal will not result in a significant adverse economic impact on businesses, including the ability of California businesses to compete with businesses in other states. (See explanation under "Costs or Savings to State Agencies.")

Cost Impact on Private Persons or Entities
The proposal will not require private persons or entities to incur additional costs in complying with the proposal. (See explanation under "Cost or Savings to State Agencies" and "Impact on Businesses.")

Cost or Savings in Federal Funding to the State
No impact. The proposal will not result in costs or savings in federal funding to the state.

Cost or Savings to Local Agencies or School Districts Required to be Reimbursed
No cost to local agencies or school districts are required to be reimbursed. (See explanation under "Determination of Mandate.")

Other Nondiscretionary Costs or Savings Imposed on Local Agencies
The proposal does not impose nondiscretionary costs or savings on local agencies. (See explanation under "Cost or Savings to State Agencies" and "Impact on Businesses".)


The Occupational Safety and Health Standard Board has determined that the proposed regulations do not impose a mandate requiring reimbursement by the state pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of the Government Code, because the proposed amendments will not require local agencies or school districts to incur additional costs in complying with the proposal. Furthermore, these regulations do not constitute a "new program or higher level of service of an existing program within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution". The California Supreme Court has established that a "program" within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution is one which carries out the governmental function of providing services to the public, or which to implement a state policy, imposes unique requirements on local governments and does not apply generally to all residents and entities in the state. (County of Los Angeles v. State of California (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 46.)

These proposed regulations do not require local agencies to carry out the governmental function of providing services to the public. Rather, these regulations require local agencies to take certain step to ensure the safety and health of their own employees only. Moreover, these proposed regulations do not in any way require local agencies to administer the California Occupational Safety and Health program. (See City of Anaheim v. State of California (1987) 189 Cal.App.3d. 1478.) These proposed regulations do not impose unique requirements on local governments. All employers-state, local and private-will be required to comply with the prescribed standard.


It has been determined that the proposal may affect small business. The express terms of the proposal written in plain English have been prepared by the Board pursuant to Government Code Sections 11342(e) and 11346.2(a)(1) and the informative digest for this proposal constitutes a plain English overview.


The adoption of the proposed amendments to these regulations will neither create nor eliminate jobs in the State of California nor result in the elimination jobs in the state of California nor result in the elimination of existing businesses or create or expand businesses in the State of California.


No alternatives considered by the Board would be more effective in carrying out the purpose for which the regulations are proposed or would be as effective and less burdensome to affected private persons than the proposed action.