Should I use a GFCI in Industry?

GFCI Receptacle

In my OSHA 10-hour trainings, I often get questions about GFCI’s in General Industry. So I went to one of my go-to mentors, Martha Catevenis, and I got a very clear answer. Finally! Below is the question I posed to her:

QUESTION
Below is a question I often run into and I can’t seem to get a straight answer. I’m about to do an OSHA 10 hour General Industry for a hotel in New York next week. I’m going to have cleaning staff, bldg. maintenance, and kitchen staff and so I want to get my head straight on this. Regarding GFCI’s: Are they required in the following situation in a hotel?
1.)  Plugging in a vacuum to clean the hallways or rooms in a hotel?

ANSWER
General industry workers should use a GFCI but are only required to do so if the work they are performing can be considered construction like. A maid just recently was electrocuted in a hotel room using a vacuum that was exposed to water in the rug and a frayed cord. Ouch!

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION
Where does it say in the General Industry regulations that GFCI’s are required for Gen. Ind. workers only if the work they are performing is considered “Construction Like”? Is that in a Directive? Where can I read more detail on this? Thanks!

FOLLOW-UP ANSWER
It is in the General Industry standard 1910.304(b)(3)(ii).

What more do you want? Crystal clear. I love it when people know their stuff. Now, if you go to the OSHA regs. in a print book or on their website, you will see that in paragraph (i) right before 1910.304(b)(3)(ii), it says that receptacles in bathrooms or on rooftops must also have GFCI’s. More detail is given to define “construction-like” activities as well. Once you click the link, just scroll down to “(b)(3)(ii)”.

If you have some follow-up questions on this or any other safety-related topic, post it here in the comments and I will answer it right away if possible. If it requires some research on my part, I’ve decided to pick at least one research question a week to answer on my blog. Check my blog for another recent answer to a question I received in an lead-safe RRP training about the thickness of poly allowed by the EPA.

I’ll write soon,

-Steve

Spanish OSHA Guy!

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