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An “Assured” Grounding

What’s an insurance policy for? To protect you (and possibly
your family) from an unexpected injury, accident, or maybe even

An “Assured” Grounding Program is designed to protect you from an

unexpected electrical injury, accident, or maybe even death.

In OSHA’s Subpart K Electrical Standard, it requires all contractors having an

array of electrical tools, extension cords, electrical apparatus, etc., to have in place in an
Assured Grounding Program.

Here’s how OSHA describes this program:

“The employer shall establish and implement an assured equipment grounding
conductor program on construction sites covering all cord sets, receptacles which
are not a part of the building or structure, and equipment connected by cord and
plug which are available for use by employees."

And, this program shall comply with the following minimum requirements:
• Written description of the program, including the special procedures adopted
by the employer, shall be available at the jobsite for inspection and copying by any
affected employee.
• Employer shall designate one or more competent persons to implement the
• Competent Person is defined by OSHA as “one who, by virtue of their industry
background, experience and training, is capable of recognizing jobsite hazards, and
has the authority to deal with same.”
• Each cord set, attachment cap, plug and receptacle of cord sets, and any
equipment connected by cord and plug, shall be visibly inspected before each day’s
use for external defects, such as deformed or missing pins or insulation damage, and
for indications of possible internal damage.
• Equipment found damaged or defective shall not be used until repaired.
• All equipment grounding conductors shall be tested for continuity and shall be
electrically continuous.
• Once all of the ground assurance procedures have been conducted, it moves
into Phase Two, which looks like this:
• Newly Purchased cord sets, plugs, etc., shall be inspected as previously
• Repaired cord sets, plugs, etc., shall be re-inspected as previously outlined.
• Before equipment is used after any incident which can be reasonably
suspected to have caused damage (Example: cord is run over by vehicles,
equipment, etc.).
• At Intervals not to exceed three (3) months.

• Tests must be recorded (by date tested, worker who conducted test, damage
repaired, etc.).
• Color Coding shall be implemented to mark the cords, plug sets, etc., that are
a part of the Assured Grounding Program, with a specific color to be used every
three months (Example: blue marking tape for January through March…Red
marking tape for April through June…etc.).

If your company doesn’t have an Assured Grounding Program in place, they’re in

major violation of OSHA’s Subpart K Electrical Standard…and all employees are in
harm’s way.

OHS Guidelines Part 19 Electrical Safety - Mon Mar 29, 2010

Assured Grounding Program (AGP)

The purpose of an Assured Grounding Program is to ensure that the hot wire,
neutral wire, and in particular, ground wire of extension cords and power tool
cords are connected to the proper terminals and are electrically continuous. This is
done by performing a continuity test on every extension cord and power tool when
it is first put into service, following repairs, and every three months. An Assured
Grounding Program is described in the WorkSafeBC publication "Working Safely
Around Electricity."
An Assured Grounding Program contains the following four parts:
1. Worker training
All workers using extension cords and power tools under an Assured Grounding
Program must be trained on the program.
2. Daily visual inspection
Extension cords and power tools must be checked daily for damage by the
persons who will be using them. Any damage found must be repaired before
the cord or tool is used. Damaged extension cords and power cords of tools
must not be spliced. The cords can either be replaced or shortened to remove
the damaged portion.
3. Continuity and polarity testing every three months
A qualified worker must test every extension cord and power tool for circuit
continuity and correct polarity before they are used for the first time,
following repairs, and during the months of January, April, July, and October.
A qualified worker is a person who has been authorized by a supervisor to
perform the task and who has received appropriate training.
4. Colour-coding extension cords and power tools
Extension cords and power tools that have been tested must be tagged with a
coloured band about 10 centimetres (4 inches) from the male plug. Coloured
electrical tape is suitable for this purpose. A different colour is required for
each quarter of the year (see below). These colours are standard for all
worksites using an Assured Grounding Program in British Columbia.

Red: January, February, March

White: April, May, June
Blue: July, August, September
Green: October, November, December
As an example, a new extension cord tested on February 8 will have a red tag at
the male plug. The extension cord must be retested and marked with a white tag
during April. The old coloured tag should be removed when the new colour tag is
A worksite may have a combination of GFCIs and an AGP. An AGP can be a good
inspectional tool when used in conjunction with GFCIs.[3/29/2010 5:06:36 PM]