Does OSHA regulate wire marking?

When looking at workplace safety efforts it is not uncommon to find an OSHA regulation that mandates certain action. For wire markings, however, that is not always the case. While OSHA does give instructions on things like what color wires should be in certain environments, they don’t specify the exact type of wire markings that need to be in place.

What is Regulated

There are certain things that need to be labeled when it comes to OSHA regulations. For example, OSHA 1910.335(b)(1) covers a variety of electrical hazards. In this section there are a number of requirements that state that safety signs, symbols, or accident prevention tags need to be used where it is necessary to warn an employee about a potential electrical hazard. Many people would argue that this includes wire markings in high-voltage systems.

Some wires may power a machine that is not high-voltage, but still has significant hazards. In these scenarios, it is also potentially going to be covered by OSHA regulations. These machines may be dangerous should they have a power surge or other electrical malfunction. Most safety professionals agree that it is better to take extra care to avoid an unmarked risk that could put employees, and the facility, in danger.

Good Idea Even if Not Required

Many wires, including those for computer systems and low-voltage equipment, don’t have specific OSHA requirements in place when it comes to markings. Despite this, however, most facilities choose to follow wire marking best practices. This is because in addition to improving workplace safety, it will also help make it easier to work on the systems where these wires are used.

Good wire marking strategies are very beneficial to maintenance personal, service technicians, and many others. They also help to decrease the risk of downtime due to pulling the wrong wires or other similar issues. Any facility that is considering a wire marking strategy should look not only toward OSHA regulations, but also how wire markings can benefit the facility as a whole.


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